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Royalty free music for Indies
  • We are revisiting the idea of creating royalty free music. This music can be used by anyone from high school teachers to indie film makers. What makes it royalty free? As you may know, copyrights are complicated. For example, you can give away the rights to a performance, but the actual music score may have rights attached to it. You can't record the song of another artist, and then claim you own it.

    When we looked at this topic about eight years ago, we thought the Magnatune system was the way to go (disclaimer: we release our recordings on Magnatune). On Magnatune, you keep all the rights to your "CD" as we used to call an album, but they distribute it. You get half, they get half. Half is way more than I got from the big labels, and Magnatune is a great label. We still OWN all of our tracks. AS a filmmaker, you could (and still can) license the tracks for really dirt cheap, and, again, the creator got a dollar or so, depending. We figured, no one is going to balk at a few dollars for a sound track that would cost thousands to produce. We figured wrong. People did use the license feature, but not in the waves that we expected.

    Well, as it turns out, people have this "must be free" attitude, which in a way is a driving force of the internet--no one wanted to pay the artists, even though they themselves are artists. So rather than rant about how ridiculous this is, we are starting a different model, and we can see that others are doing the same thing.

    The new model is to just give it all away, free, and raise the money to produce it through Kickstarter or something similar. You can see our Kickstarter project here.

    Once it is done, ppl can use the soundtrack. It may not be what you are looking for, but it will be free :) You'll notice that the music is old, like really old. That way, it is solidly in the public domain. Composers of course can create new scores and using for example Creative Commons we can record newer music as well. We have some new music projects in the works right now.

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  • Check out They do royalty-free licensing for a variety of projects. Artists can submit and be paid. I don't know the split.

  • The thing is, you have no real guarantee in a lot of cases that the music is royalty free. You have to bake it from scratch, and I also think the free model is the way to go.Audiosocket charges (according to Vimeo) $98 per track, which is fine, I think Magnatune is better as far as fees, but nothing is as good as free. As to the quality, well you can compare tracks online audiosocket vs magnatune, so at least that is a good feature. Anyway I'm going the free route because I think that is the way it is going to shake out. We'll see. Lot's more choices than a few years ago in any case.

  • Another place -

    Site with music and soundscapes for film projects, games, presentations.

  • Thanks for mentioning my site.

    The music and soundscapes on the site are free to use for commercial projects as well as noncommercial ones. It's all original...all my own stuff. All I ask is to be credited as indicated on my homepage.

    I sincerely hope the site is helpful. Any and all feedback is welcome and appreciated.

    Thanks, Eric

  • @Eric_Matyas

    you got some nice drones there. there's a good chance i might use some of them.

  • So, filmmakers are willing to pay $1500 for the latest whiz-bang camera, but not $30 for music? It's like the Stairway to Heaven - makes you wonder.

  • @4CardsMan it depends... some of these sites rates can go up to 300$ per track, so that starts to empty your wallet. at these prices i can also pay for Universal music library, which is far far better.. other reasons might be lower quality of production, composing, etc..

  • One of the goals of my project is to make good sounding music available to anyone...regardless of their budget. My site has grown quite a bit...I've now created over 1500 tracks of music and sound effects and over 2500 images. All of it is completely free to use with attribution. I sincerely hope some of my work is helpful!

  • @Eric_Matyas

    Lot of good work, thanks!

  • Just saw this topic refresh and checked out web site. There are some nice pieces I will be using in the future on my videos. Thank you for the topic refresh!