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Free Music You Can Use

September 17, 2011

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If you use music in a video, movie, animation or online creation, it is in your best interest to have music that will not have any contested ownership issues that may disrupt what you worked so hard on.  I lack musical skills so I often turn toward music in my personal library.  I needed music that was royalty and copyright free for a video commercial, so swiping something out my iTunes library was off limits for this project.

I had a prior post about how to deal with YouTube muting the audio of your video due to copyright ownership reasons.  One of the sources in that post did give a list of open source, copyleft and royalty free music websites.  I am posting them here for an easy reference.

Creative commons / open source music sources:





I wound up taking something simple and upbeat from ccmixter.org for my commercial.  Having the music in as a soundtrack made the work a lot better.

Read the details of the song you want to use and understand if the creator has any restrictions on the use of the song or music available for download.  Just like some free fonts, the work may be available for personal but not commercial use.  I used a song from ccmixter.org and the open source / creative commons nature of the work was very clear in the licensing link.  They humorously call it “The human-readable summary of the Legal Code”:

“You are free:

  • to Remix — to adapt the work
  • to make commercial use of the work”

I saved the attribution information, including the legal status, the web page the song came from and the link that it was downloaded from, to cover my butt for documentation reasons.  I recommend you do this as well.  I also gave the attribution in the comments field for YouTube.  Even better, there is a massive amount of free music to be had from these sites.  I need to go to them more often!

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