Free Music for Commercial Use
September 27, 2009 2:23 PM   Subscribe

Where can I source good quality music (not cheesy synth) for free that I can use commercially? Is there such a thing?

I'm under pressure at work to add soundtracks to some videos we recently put together.

The videos demonstrate how one of our product works, and what comes with it.

I guess that makes it a commercial video, or an advert. They are mainly for our YouTube channel, but will also be embedded on our own website, and possibly a rather well known online shop.

As is always the way; I'm not being given any budget for the soundtracks, and they have to be of high quality.

I've attempted to make something myself using some audio editing software but it is something completely out of my knowledge.

Do I have any hope of finding, good, free music?
posted by lemonfridge to Media & Arts (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Search "royalty free music."
posted by torquemaniac at 2:31 PM on September 27, 2009

For Creative Commons licensed music, search Jamendo. Make sure to get music that is licensed without the provision against derivative works or the provision against commercial use.

For music that you can license under simple terms, try Magnatune. I've never used it myself, but I've heard of other people using it. Most notably, the soundtrack for Braid was assembled from Magnatune artists.
posted by iktomi at 2:36 PM on September 27, 2009

I've tried both those sites, and when you come to actually license the music there is a fee attached. I have 0 budget. So they must be completely free.

I understand this is no easy task, I was just wondering if I had missed something.
posted by lemonfridge at 3:15 PM on September 27, 2009

There's a few links on the Creative Commons website: but I can't recommend any of them specifically - I use production music libriaries and commerical music in my work.

There certainly is a fair bit of Creative Commons licensed music that can be used, it is just a matter of finding it. You could also try contacting an artist directly for permission (in exchange for a credit) - used to be really good for this, but no longer exists in that way, MySpace would probably be the next best place to find unsigned musicians these days?

Be careful with which variation of the CC license is in use though - CC-NC will be no good for you, CC-BY will be okay if you are happy to credit.
posted by sycophant at 3:24 PM on September 27, 2009

Hm, Jamendo seems to be engaging in somewhat sneaky tactics. Last time I was there, the "license" link on album pages wasn't. Just to check, I went and downloaded an album listed under CC-BY. The "License.txt" file simply contains the URL for CC-BY 3.0. This seems to imply that Jamendo doesn't need to sell you a license to use the tracks.

Of course, I can understand if your legal department takes a skeptical view of using something for free when there is a license offered. Your best bet is probably to get permission in writing from the artist; they probably would like the publicity, anyway.
posted by iktomi at 3:50 PM on September 27, 2009

What most people seem to do is paste something together from the royalty-free loops in Apple's Garageband (I hear these all the times, including on television commercials for reasonably substantial enterprises). Of course there is stuff out there as others are pointing out, but for zero budget it's a matter of how much time you have to dig around, because you will likely end up spending a lot of time digging around. There isn't actually all that much production-quality music sitting around with a sign on it that says "use my music for free to make money, why not?" Publicity, especially the sort that comes from being the soundtrack to some product spiel, is frankly overrated and professional musicians know this.
posted by nanojath at 4:02 PM on September 27, 2009 [1 favorite]

Well, I was not suggesting bothering the professional musicians. Most of the musicians making their stuff available for free online are probably not professionals.

Or maybe lemonfridge secretly works for Apple. In that case, ask anyone you'd like.
posted by iktomi at 4:40 PM on September 27, 2009

Maybe look on Mefi Music and if you find something you like, you can ask the artist personally if you can use it? I know I in particular wouldn't mind a polite mefite of your predicament using any of my stuff (on MuFi or from my website) in the way you describe - I wouldn't be surprised if there were others similarly amenable.
posted by 31d1 at 7:31 PM on September 27, 2009

perhaps you could try to find something fitting on myspace and contact the artist? perhaps they would be flattered, and interested in giving you a license to use it in order to increase their exposure?
posted by refractal at 9:42 PM on September 27, 2009

If its of any use to you, feel free to use any of the music I have posted on this site.
posted by Admira at 11:24 PM on September 27, 2009

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