Using background music can increase the production value of your online video or audio courses. But, it’s important to make sure you’re sourcing music legitimately so you don’t run into copyright issues.
Licensing stock content like photos or music can allow content creators of all kinds to benefit from using other artwork - all legally. There are tons of resources for royalty free music. Some of the music is free to use while some requires a one-time fee to license.
In this post, we’ll discuss what royalty free music means, share some great sources, and how to use it.
The difference between free and royalty free
When you’re searching for “free music” you’re looking for music at no cost. But just because you can download a track for no cost does not mean you have the rights to use it.
Content creators need royalty-free music to use in their video or audio courses. This refers to the copyright, not the cost of the music. It only means you can use the music within the terms of the license.
Royalty-free music is often not free. When you buy royalty-free music, you’re paying for the rights to use the music (and the musician’s time and skill).
Sometimes, you can pay for music and still not have full usage rights. For example, you may be able to use it for personal use, but not commercial use. Or, you may be able to use some royalty-free music for some types of content, but not others.
No matter where you source your music, pay attention to the usage and attribution details before selecting a track. Different platforms may have different rules.
When in doubt if something is royalty free, play it safe and stick with something from a reputable source, which we’ve compiled here.
Where can you find royalty free music for online courses?
Shutterstock offers a monthly or annual membership plan. Or, if you just need to license one track, you can select files on demand.
They also have some freebies, like these home inspired sound effects or music samples.
PremiumBeat is a Shutterstock company. Similarly, they offer membership plans or individual licenses. They also have lots of free creative resources, including this Cinematic Atmospheres pack.
Adobe Stock Audio is another reputable source. They offer two plans and a risk-free one month trial. You can sort by moods or genres which makes it easy to find what you’re seeking.
They also offer credit packs if you need a bundle or want to pay as you go. And, since Adobe Stock also sells images, videos, and templates, you can use these packs for multiple types of stock assets
YouTube Audio Library
The YouTube Audio Library includes great clips to use and are cleared for use on YouTube videos. Check out more information here.
Creative Commons licenses allow for some usage of content like music and images. It’s considered a “some rights reserved” system rather than “all rights reserved”. So, much can be used with a simple attribution of who created the content.
For example, independent music creator Kevin MacLeod offers royalty free music under Creative Commons usage.
HookSounds offers original music for commercial works. They list some big-name clients including Disney, Uber, and IBM. They own and compose all of the music offered, so their clients can license without worry.
Like other platforms, they offer multiple subscription tiers and individual licenses. With some plans, they offer custom music creation.
Public Domain Information Project
Public Domain Information Project provides royalty-free sheet music for download.
In the United States, copyright eventually expires on sheet music. As of 2021, all sheet music from 1925 and before is in the public domain. So, if you have some music playing skills, you could record yourself playing these compositions, and that would be usable.
Foximusic is another similar platform. They have curated options with helpful descriptions and use cases that make it easier to navigate and make selections.
They offer single track licensing for businesses for $39, or bundles with three or five tracks if you just need a few tracks. This is a convenient option for a creator that doesn’t need an ongoing membership to access music.
Mixkits is a free source of creative assets operated by a paid service, called Envato Elements. Envato Elements has more assets available but Mixkits offers over 1,000 royalty free music tracks at no cost.
Many of the tracks are about two minutes in length. If you need music longer than two minutes, you could use multiple tracks one after another. They list the producer of each track, so you could choose tracks from the same producer within a genre for a similar style and sound.
How can you use free music samples?
If you check out some of the free resources linked, you’ll see that many offer music samples, rather than fully produced tracks. Whether these are short clips or longer loops, they’re often meant to be layered or manipulated into something new.
If you’re using loops to create background music in a video, you most likely will be able to put them directly into your video editor in the music section. This can allow you to use multiple tracks easily.
Using samples or shorter clips might require getting creative with an audio production software. Check out the free, open-source Audacity or Garageband from Apple if you’re just getting started and playing around.
Kajabi Hero Amber Shannon says she likes Audacity or OcenAudio best. She elaborates, “OcenAudio is a lot simpler and has a cleaner interface, but it’s really hard to find support. Audacity’s interface is a bit more complicated (because you can do so much more with it) but there’s a ton of help from the site itself as well as lots of YoutTube Videos.”
Light production is a great option for someone who is creative but needs some music as a starting point. And, producing the final music yourself allows you to customize to your liking.
Not interested in producing? Plan to stick with paying to license tracks or selecting from the free options.
Using music with Kajabi
Music can enhance your video or audio courses by improving the production value. Looking for other ways to improve the listening experience? Check out our tips to improve your audio quality.
Ready to get started building your knowledge products on Kajabi? Get started with a free 14 day trial.