Video marketing should be an essential part of your marketing strategy in the future, if it isn’t already. 72 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube every minute. And according to Cisco, by 2021, 82% of all Internet traffic will be video!
You’ll want to get in on the action. But the question is: how do you do that when you don’t have a big budget for it?
There are a lot of costs involved in making a video, from equipment to post-production. Thus, you’re going to have to find areas where you can cut costs.
Thankfully, background music is an area where you can save your precious budget. Reducing costs doesn’t mean cutting quality in this case. There are lots of great resources for free or cheap music to choose from.
Before we begin, let’s quickly review the costs involved in acquiring background music for marketing videos.
Royalty-free music doesn’t mean that the music is free; it merely means that you spend a one-time licensing fee and you can use the music however and whenever you want to, for infinity and beyond.
Public domain and Creative Commons works, on the other hand, are free. The difference between the two is that public domain doesn’t require permission from whoever created the work, while Creative Commons often involves permission or attribution.
Now, let’s get into the music sources!
In the “Create” section of YouTube, you’ll find their Audio Library. It contains a bunch of music from different genres, from Dance & Electronic to Country & Folk.
You can use any track for free in your video content. The music is a mix of public domain works and Creative Commons. All you have to do is to attribute the owner of the track.
To get the most out of the library, make use of its search functions. For instance, you can search according to mood such as “calm,” “dramatic,” or funky.” Or you can search according to the duration of the track, which is a good idea to make sure it fits the length of your content.
Another area that’s interesting to check out on YouTube is their Music Policies section. Here you’ll find a list of popular tracks and details on whether you’re allowed to use them in YouTube videos or not, as well as how you can use them.
The U.S. radio station WFMU runs the Free Music Archive. In the Music for Video section, there are various tracks which carry different licenses.
These are mostly different types of Creative Commons licenses. Some are for non-commercial use only, others require attribution, and so on. For more info on the particular licenses, you can visit their FAQ section.
The good thing is that you can filter search results by license. So, because you want the music for marketing purposes, you would go ahead and uncheck the “non-commercial use” box.
As you’ll see with most of these sites, you’re not going to find a Beyonce-level track or anything. But the music at FMA is very pleasant and certainly suits the purpose. At the end of the day, it’s free to download.
You should also check out the site’s Music for Video blog, which showcases the music and where it might fit into different types of content.
RELATED: How to Use Music in Ads (without Getting Sued!)
Incompetech has a large selection of royalty-free music. All together, there are around 2,000 tracks created by musician Kevin MacLeod. You can download for free as long as you credit the musician and site.
Incompetech arranges the tracks in collections according to genre, such as “Disco and Lounge” or “Rock Classic.”
There’s also a section of “Film Scoring Moods” where you can download tracks that would fit “Horror,” “Mystery,” or “Noire” themes, for instance. Plus, there’s world music inspired by beats from different countries such as Africa and Brazil.
You’ll definitely want to check out the lists of most recent music and most downloaded. These will help you to discover what the site has to offer.
If you want to download the entire library of music, it’ll cost you a one-off fee of $38.
Also known as AudioJungle, Envato Market offers royalty-free background music. Paid tracks start at $1.
The site has a global community that uploads their own tracks. You can browse tracks through categories, recent items, or most popular. Once you find music that you like, you can download single tracks or bundles of tracks, called music packs.
The site also has an exciting new feature, music kits. These kits offer music in a modular way so that you can manipulate the tracks yourself. It’s a neat feature if you want to customize your music. That way, you don’t have the same jingles as everybody else.
Sign up for the site, and you’ll get a package of premium freebies each month, including music as well as stock footage and premium video effects.
If you’re a regular creator, that’s a great deal.
You’re probably familiar with SoundCloud already. Amateur musicians and DJs use it to upload and share their music. That’s why you sometimes come across tunes that are … questionable.
But SoundCloud is an excellent source of music to use for marketing videos. You can filter your search to show tracks that are licensed for reuse. Type in “background music,” or try something like “uplifting background music,” “ambient beat,” etc.
SoundCloud has a social element, so you can see when a particular track already has a lot of “likes,” and you’ll know people will enjoy your video if you use it.
The best thing about getting your background music from SoundCloud is that the tracks sound more like real music, as opposed to a contrived track made for a marketing video.
Musopen is a little different from the other options you’ll find here. All of the available royalty-free music is classical.
So, you’ll be able to download hits from my main man Johann Sebastian Bach and many more.
You can search according to instrument, composer, and author. This is useful if you have a specific idea or feel you want the music to have.
The music on offer may not be entirely modern. But it will fit well if you want to give off a sophisticated or educated vibe. Plus, it can be highly recognizable, which makes your video memorable to the viewer.
Audioblocks offers royalty-free stock audio, including music, sound effects, and loops. (A loop is a short piece of music that’s repeated seamlessly.)
There are over 100,000 tracks on the site. Now, it’s not free, unfortunately. But they do offer a good deal: $149 for unlimited downloads for an entire year. That’s not bad considering you get access to thousands upon thousands of pieces of music.
You can filter your search to find music the exact length of your video. That’s a great way to save you some editing time.
They have some interesting categories for tracks, according to feelings or emotions, such as “Aggressive,” “Sad,” “Happy,” “Playful,” and so on. This is brilliant because you can choose music easily based on the emotion you’re trying to evoke in your video.
ccMixter is another site that hosts a community of artists’ work. Musicians, singers, and DJs share their work for free, as long as you attribute the music to them. You are likely to find background music that’s unique here.
To discover free music you can browse the editor’s picks or highest rated tracks. If you find a particular artist you like and want to see more from them, you can visit their profile in the “People” section.
Alternatively, there’s an old-school tag cloud you can use, which makes finding the type of track you’re looking for less complicated. When you click on a track, you can see a bunch of information about it, including its Creative Commons license.
It can be a little tricky to navigate, but ease of use aside, ccMixter is an excellent resource for finding original background music.
Jamendo was explicitly created for advertisers and marketers. You can search their music library according to project type, which is a fantastic feature for our purposes.
You have a couple of drop-down boxes. In the first, you choose the type of project. For example, “advertising,” “software,” or “video games.” Then you choose the platform where the music will be featured – for example, “Facebook,” “YouTube,” “Internet,” or “Kickstarter.”
I gave it a go and selected advertising and YouTube. It came up with some jazzy beats that you would expect to hear in those type of ads.
There’s also a search bar, and you can refine your results by genre, theme, instrument, speed, and duration.
Jamendo is impressive, though not nearly as cheap as other providers. It costs about $50 to license a track – which is not so bad if you’ve got at least a small budget to work with.
There’s also a subscription option to get unlimited access to all music.
Netlabels is a collection of music at the Internet Archive. Virtual record labels upload collections of music. You can download them for free and use them under a Creative Commons license.
At present, there are over 65,000 pieces of music on the site. You can search through them using filters such as year, artist, or genre. Netlabels also offers a small section of foreign language music, which could be useful.
Another valuable aspect of this site is that tracks have a view count. Most likely, those tracks that have a higher number of views are more popular. In a similar way to SoundCloud, this helps you choose good music for your videos that people will actually enjoy.
Composer/producer Jason Shaw runs Audionautix. All music is offered under Creative Commons. Cheers, Jason!
The process of finding your background track here is very simple. You check a box for the genre, of which there is a long list including things like “Acid Jazz” and “Techno.” You can also check a box for mood, e.g., “suspenseful,” “bright,” or “pensive.”
Finally, choose the tempo, and the site picks the perfect song for you. Alternatively, you can browse the music according to genre.
You should also know that Shaw takes commissions at a minimal fee. So, if you have something very particular in mind for your video, you can get in touch with him.
With an Envato Elements subscription, you’ll have access to music, video, sound effects, and more. The royalty-free music is composed by professional musicians across a wide range of genres, tempos, and instruments and the stock video comes with ready-to-use templates to help you save time. One subscription gives you access to unlimited downloads with no attribution required. You can try it free for seven days, no commitment.
Brad Smith is the founder of Codeless, long-form content creators for SaaS companies. Their work has been featured in The New York Times, Business Insider, TheNextWeb, Shopify, Moz, Unbounce, HubSpot, Search Engine Journal, and more.
See other posts by Brad Smith
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