Fortunately for us non-musical folks, there are resources all over the web from very talented and generous people who publish music free for us to use under a Creative Commons licenses!
What is a Creative Commons license?
A Creative Commons copyright license lets creators give you permission to use their work under a set of easy-to-understand terms and conditions.
Out of the six licenses, the type I look for is Attribution 3.0 (which I believe is now called Attribution 4.0). This license allows me to edit another person’s work–let’s say someone’s music– add it to my own short animation, and use my animation containing their music for both commercial and noncommercial purposes as long as I credit the creator of the music.
My Favorite Sites for Free CC Music
Incompetech by Kevin MacLeod – Not only are Kevin Macleod’s tracks free to use, they’re of EXCEPTIONAL QUALITY as well! (Yes I had to write that in capital letters for emphasis)
Soundcloud – Although not all tracks in Soundcloud are under Creative Commons, here’s how you can easily find the ones that are:
- Search for the type of music you want. I try to guess possible keywords that Soundcloud’s musicians might tag their tracks with.
- In the search options on the right side, select “Tracks”.
- At the bottom under filter results, select “to listen to” and change it to “to modify commercially” or “to use commercially” depending on your purpose for the music
*by the way, that Nicolai Heidlas guy in the last screenshot above creates amazing CC music too!
My experience with search results in Soundcloud is hit and miss (sometimes the music that comes out aren’t even remotely related to the words I typed!), so you’ll have to be patient and try out as many keywords as possible to find what you’re looking for.
Wikipedia – You can find some classical music tracks that are under public domain here!
Free Music Archive – I only found this website a few months back and although I haven’t used music from here yet I thought it was worth adding to the list.
Free SFX – Although primarily a sound effects website, they offer some music tracks there as well. You do need to sign up for a free account though to be able to download.
What other sites do you go to for free Creative Commons music? Let everybody know by leaving it in the comments below!
And if you know someone who might need some background music for their animated project, do them a favor by sharing this article to them!