Finding Royalty Free Audio for Your Videos

Music and sound effect in this video from Audioblocks: Beautiful Piano 5 and Central Park Fountain

Finding music for your videos can be a challenge. Most popular music is copyrighted and requires a hefty licensing fee to use. If you use a copyrighted song in your video on YouTube, for example, YouTube may mute your audio or block your video. In some cases, the artist or label who own the song may put their ads on your video, as allowed by YouTube! You can check YouTube’s Music Policies, searchable by song title, to see what will happen on YouTube if you use a copyrighted song.

Public domain music and free music can also pose problems. While music on public domain sites or free sites may appear to be free of copyright restrictions, you can also find some music that actually is copyrighted and not free of usage restrictions. I discovered this when I used a public domain version of a popular hymn in a church YouTube video – only to discover that the actual copyright holder had displayed an ad for a wildly inappropriate product on the video.

Royalty free music and sound effects are the best choice for your videos, especially if you plan to upload them to YouTube, share them on social media, or sell them commercially.  With royalty free audio, you pay once for a track or subscribe to a  subscription service that gives you access to thousands of audio clips. You receive a license to use that single track or a license to use all the audio clips in the subscription service. You can then download and use the track as background music in any number of videos. You do not pay royalties for each use.

Royalty free music:

  • Does not require you to pay royalties for each use
  • Can be used for commercial purposes
  • If free, may require attribution (check the terms of your download)

You can find many royalty free music sites on Google. The sites below are a few of my favorites.

Free Music

YouTube Audio Library

Free songs and sound effects. Some may require attribution or display ads. Check the description for each clip for info.

Royalty Free, Purchase by Track

Good selection of songs and sound effects. You can purchase a single-use license for each song that allows you to include the song in only one end product (video). You can buy a multi-use license for sound effects.


Large sound effects library. Buy a pack of 5 or more, or buy a monthly subscription.

Subscription Services

Epidemic Sound (YouTube Subscription)

Very popular and stylish contemporary music for YouTube videos.  You can use the sound clips in new productions only if you maintain your subscription.


Large collection of loops, clips and sound effects. You can download clips and use them even after your subscription lapses. You can search for clips by mood, genre and instrument, and filter by duration.