Top Royalty Free Music Resources for Filmmakers Video

Hans Zimmer said “music is fifty percent of the movie.” It’s easy for us young filmmakers to get caught up with the fancy new cameras (like the BMPCC 4K coming out soon). But as we continue shooting, especially when it comes to paid commercial projects, audio becomes increasingly important. I gathered a few of my favorite go to places for free royalty free music and I include my top ten royalty free tracks at the bottom of this article.

Whenever you google “royalty free music” there is an abundance of paid resources. One of the biggest suppliers of royalty free music is audio jungle and many of their songs come at a decent price. I’ve tended to steer clear of these resources not because I had to pay for the songs but because I was never blown away by the music I heard. There is a ton of generic and mindless tunes you have to get past before you can find something halfway decent, and then on top of that you have to pay.

I’ve found a few free resources that I feel provide some amazing artists and songs while not being incredibly difficult to navigate through.

Of course with these free resources, you run the risk of coming across other people using these songs. I know I’ve found some popular music on one of these resources and have stumbled across it on another person’s video. Now, let’s check out the top free music resources for filmmakers.

The Top Three Free Music Resources and How to Use Them

1. Free Music Archive

The beauty of FMA (Free Music Archive) is how it was build and who it was built for. The FMA was built for artists specifically for the purpose of sharing content for free. As far as I know, this is the only platform that is solely dedicated to this purpose and does it for free.

That being said, contributions to this site can be a double edged sword. A lot of people contribute. This means there are a a ton of songs to pull from which is great for versatility but bad for speed. So the search process is very important.

Here’s how I recommend you search for music on FMA:

  1. Use the search bar in the upper right hand corner.
  2. Get to the search menu
  3. Define your genre ie. jazz, blues, rock etc…
  4. Define your attribution
  5. Sort by “most interesting”
  6. Expand the rows to 200 per page
  7. Start searching

2. Soundcloud

Soundcloud has the unique ability to make unpopular music accessible. This is particularly useful when searching for royalty free music because you could come across a hidden gem that works perfectly for your song that not many people have used.

The unfortunate side of Soundcloud is that many of the artists have caught on to this and made requests based on their song’s reception. I’m not against giving the artist credit or doing a few things in exchange for using their song, but sometimes they use systems that aren’t so simple to follow and you can get really bogged down.

Here is how I recommend you search for songs on Soundcloud.

  1. Search for a genre.
  2. Click on “tracks” located on the left hand side.
  3. Define your attribution
  4. Scroll through and choose a song (note there is a download button on some of the tracks for easy and quick download).

3. Youtube

When Youtube created the audio library in their creator’s studio, everyone was pumped! And I mean everyone. Many of the songs in Youtube’s audio library are pretty cool, but chances are there are a thousand other people who think so too.

Youtube makes it a little too easy to find royalty free music, but there are a few songs that haven’t been used to oblivion.

Here is how I recommend you search for songs on Youtube:

  1. Click your avatar in the top righthand corner
  2. Click creator studio
  3. On the left menu click create
  4. Now that you’re in the audio library, define your genre
  5. Define your attribution
  6. Sort by popularity (so you can avoid the top ten or twenty most popular)
  7. Scroll through and choose your song

Preferred Paid Resources

1. Audio Jungle

I would have to say Audio Jungle has the best bang for your buck. Although there are a ton of generic artists out there and they tend to promote the generic ones, it’s pretty easy to find some good ones that are high quality and worth paying for.

2. Premium Beat

Premium Beat has excellent taste. Of course, with excellent taste comes a price tag. If you’re looking for commercial quality music that you’ll client will love, this is pretty much the place. The only thing that will deter me from this site is the price.

3. Audio Blocks

Audio Blocks has the best format to quickly listen through tracks. They have waveforms you can quickly and easily point to and sample. This makes for easy searching which is great because you will need it with Audio Blocks because I’ve found the quality is harder to find than on other resources.

Download My Top Ten Royalty Free Tracks

They’re all royalty free from genres ranging from ambient to jazz.

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