Finding Royalty Free Music For A Movie Soundtrack

I admit when I looked into using royalty free music for my movie I was a little confused. I thought royalty free music was totally free. The more I studied up on it the more I began to understand that it is and it isn’t in a way.

One way to ensure the music for your movie soundtrack is royalty free is to create it in-house. There are more and more independent filmmakers that score their own movies using programs like Apple’s GarageBand that allows users to create their own original music. This removes any chance of your movie being hit with copyright infringement over music because this is your own original music you’ve created.

If you’re a person that doesn’t feel you have a single musical bone in your body to work with a program to create your own music there are filmmaker friendly websites that allow you to download free original music to use in your movie. Sonnyboo.com is one of these cool sites.

As of the writing of this post all that Sonnyboo.com requires is that a filmmaker credits the songwriter and the music used. That is not asking too much in return for being able to use royalty free music. I did not end up using the free downloads, but I respect filmmaker Peter John Ross for providing music downloads gratis to other filmmakers.

Next I checked out some companies on the Internet selling royalty free music in all types of genres from rock & roll to world beat for very affordable prices. One company I purchased music from that I recommend is StudioCutz Music Library (www.studiocutz.com). They have high quality music in a wide variety of styles.

I have purchased royalty free music in the past that was used in the reality video series America’s Wildest Bachelor Parties. They are easy to work with. This comes directly from their website:

“Each music library license will vary to a certain degree, however, as a general rule royalty free music simply means that you have purchased a “lifetime synchronization license” for a given song or group of songs. In other words, you have the right to synchronize the music with your audio and/or video productions an unlimited number of times without incurring any additional expense.”

You can type “royalty free music” into a search engine to find companies that provide music. Many of these companies offer the choice of purchasing one song or an entire CD. I listened to tracks, but none of them felt right for the Consignment soundtrack.

It’s funny that there I was being so damn choosy over music when I didn’t have a lot of money to spend on tracks. I had dreams of a soundtrack to rival a Quentin Tarantino movie, but did not have his production budget. At the end Slice of Americana Films was able to secure a hot original soundtrack that the budget could afford.

It took a few favors to make it happen, but that’s the way it has to come together when you’re making indie movies without a safety net. You have to rely on good people around you that believe in your project. This is indie filmmaker Sid Kali typing CUE MUSIC:

Where to Find Free Music for Your Videos

Copyright holders, along with YouTube (to use a well-known example), have, within the last few years, been cracking down on people using copyrighted music without permission. Tributes & covers of songs, of course, have been somewhat “riding the fence” of legality, where the artists gives their due credit to the composer/lyricist in question and provides a disclaimer in their video description that says “this is not my work, I do not own the rights to this music,” and they generally get left alone, more or less.

Obviously, though, not all videos with music in them are covers or tributes. Other videos are sometimes sales pitches, or vlogs featuring meditation music. Whatever the reason for including music at all, it’s something of an embarrassment for a video creator if they have to remove or replace the music in their video because the music was copyrighted, and the creator had their video monetized. And since not every content creator out there earns lots of money from their videos, they likely can’t afford to pay the royalty fees required of them, so they’re forced to remove the music.

Finding Free Music

But not everyone is a musician and/or lyricist with the ability to compose their own works. Nor does everyone have a musician pal at their disposal, whether that musician gets paid for ditties and jingles or not. So it’s often up to the one creating the video to find either free music, or at the very least, royalty-free tracks. But where to find such music? And is the free music you’d find of high quality?

After all, it used to be that most stock music libraries didn’t have music that was very good quality, and some music libraries are still like this if the people uploading tracks have used cheap equipment and synthesizers where the built-in digital sound banks aren’t very accurately sampled & reproduced (this tends to happen with lower-end electronic keyboards).

However, thanks to the advent of MP3s and more professional-grade composition & editing software, among other similar advances, most stock music libraries these days often have truly stunning tracks available in a wide variety of genres, so you’re not stuck with just a few samples here and there of one style, and a lot of samples in another style, and nothing to speak of in any other genre.

What’s the Difference?

Now, you might be wondering what the difference is between “royalty-free” and completely free, when it comes to stock music libraries.

“Royalty-free” means that you pay a one-time fee for a track and you don’t have to continually pay royalties to the composer for the entire time you use their works, and there is usually some sort of usage license that detail how you can use the music once you pay the fee. Completely free music is simply that: It that has no upfront usage fee and is normally licensed under the “Creative Commons” license.

When you go looking for free music, you’ll want to take a look at the types of music licenses available, as each licensing company has different stipulations as to how the music they have on offer can be used.

It’s worth your time and energy to go looking for free music. It saves the hassle and embarrassment of having to remove an otherwise copyrighted track and replace it, plus you never know what amazing, original music can be found at reasonable prices.

Look for a site that has a wide range of music genres. It’s easy to find the right music when you have categories like alternative rock, New Age/Ethereal, Country and so forth. Look for a music site is entirely free or that charges a minimal fee for commercial applications.

Download Free Music – Is it Possible – Legally?

Negative media attention on music piracy comes at a time when technology has made it easier to download free music than ever before. While music piracy has resulted in changes to copyright law, many internet communities exist that are downloading music for free. Not only is it possible to get free downloads, many music fans and enthusiasts are doing it legally without breaking any laws.

Digital recording allows many aspiring artists to create and upload mp3 files of their own music, often recorded at home for low cost. Many major label and unsigned bands, underground artists, singer-songwriters, and DJs have websites promoting their music and offer new or existing fans the option to download free music. Social networking sites will often feature the option for download music for free from new and local artists looking to promote themselves by offering curious fans music for free to download. This form of promotion is encouraged by many artists.

Many bands and musicians today are taper-friendly. This means that they permit and often encourage fans to record their concerts and live shows to share on the internet. Most taper-friendly bands actually require that downloads of their shows remain free. By offering live shows to fans free of charge, artists form a friendly bond with their audiences and inevitably help attract new fans to their concerts. Fans are treated to download free music and participate in growing the artist’s fan base through word-of-mouth promotion.

Not all music that is free is piracy. Many artists harness the internet, digital recording and distribution to further their careers and allow fans to download free music legally.