Aside from what's playing in your head
Music can make or break a video. The right music can set the mood and enhance a message, but it can also just be a nice filling sound for quieter moments in videos. The problem, of course, lies in the rights to that music.
Licenses are expensive, and the average person cannot afford to pay for a license for different music for each video, and most videos won’t generate enough money to pay royalties. Thankfully, there’s an alternative – websites for free ambient music.
The Free Music Archive is one of the foremost providers of royalty-free music on the web. The company works with Creative Commons and a number of other sources to obtain free music, resulting in a massive library that creators can use in their own work.
There are different licensing terms for all of the songs; for example, some may ask that you attribute the song to the original artist. The easiest way to search the music is by genre, although you can also search based on curators.
FreeSound is great because it doesn’t just provide free ambient music—it also provides a variety of sound effects, voices, and more. While you can search for specific music, the best way to navigate the website is through the tag cloud. The categories with the most entries are the ones with the largest tag, while those with fewer entries will have less to pick from.
While there is plenty of ambient music to be found, FreeSound has enough types of sound effects that you can create your own ambient sound.
So many people used YouTube as a music library like Spotify that YouTube actually began offering ways to make it easier to do that. While all of those songs aren’t available through the YouTube Audio Library, quite a few of them are.
You can search music by genre, instrument, duration, and even mood. There’s also a popularity filter that lets you see music based on what is currently the most popular, which is a great way of finding music you know will be liked—or for finding lesser-known songs to help your video stand out.
You might know SoundCloud as the outlet people push when they have their fifteen minutes of fame on Twitter, but it’s also a fantastic outlet for creators that want ambient music. The majority of music on SoundCloud is under a Creative Commons license, so you are free to use it as long as you follow the rules the artists put forth.
You can search SoundCloud for music by artists, bands, tracks, and podcasts, which can make it a little hard if you’re trying to find a specific genre.
IncompeTech is interesting because it offers two options: a free version and a paid version. If you want to attribute the artist, using the song is free—but if there’s an instance where you can’t attribute the song for some reason or another, you can pay $30 for a Standard License and use the music without attribution.
IncompeTech lets users search by keyword, length, genre, moods, topics, and artists, making it one of the best options for finding specific music types. You can also sort search results according to newly released, most popular, length, and many more options.
BenSound offers free ambient music tracks as long as you are willing to attribute the artist, but it also offers a Pro license if you are willing to pay and do not want to provide attribution. BenSound may not have as many tracks as some of the other outlets on this list, but it does have unique music you might not find elsewhere.
You can sort by type, including Acoustic/Folk, Cinematic, Corporate/Pop, Electronica, Urban/Groove, Jazz, Rock, and World/Others. You can also search for a specific keyword.
Dig.CCMixter.org is one of the most popular sites for music, claiming that it has been used in over one million videos and games. The homepage divides music into three sections: instrumental music for film and video, free music for use in commercial projects, and music for video games.
There are thousands of different tracks and songs for you to browse and a powerful tag-based search function that allows you to sort by genre, instrument, and style. Thanks to the way much of the music is divided, breaking down the options into film or game-focused sounds helps you find what you are looking for much more quickly.
If you are looking for the best free ambient music, these seven sites are great places to start your search. You will find a huge number of songs and tracks that you can use in your content—just make sure to abide by the licensing agreements.
Where do you look for royalty free music? Did we leave out any major sites? Let us know in the comments below.