If you are not already aware, YouTube has an extensive library of royalty free music and no copyright music available on its platform for YouTube video makers.
You can find it here: youtube.com/audiolibrary
This music is already pre-cleared for use on YouTube. The great advantage of this music is that it is YouTube copyright strike safe.
In other words, you can use it confidently as background music in your YouTube projects and not worry about getting a copyright strike on your video.
To use the free royalty free music library from YouTube, you can log into your creator studio and download the tracks directly from the YouTube audio library.
Once you have downloaded the music, you can then use it in your videos.
All this is fantastic if you just plan to upload your video to YouTube only, but what happens if you want to distribute your video to other streaming platforms? Or perhaps you want to submit your video to a film festival?
YouTube will not take responsibility for the use of music outside of YouTube.
Therefore, you cannot download music from the YouTube audio library and expect to use it elsewhere without first checking with the music supplier.
Where can I find music for film festivals?
Before spending hours mixing the audio for your film, it is essential to ensure you have the legal right to use the music at film festivals and other distribution mediums.
From experience, I believe that royalty free music is the best and simplest music licensing option when looking for music for film.
Typically, with royalty free music, you pay a one-time fee (or sometimes the music can be free in return for a music credit, (like this site), and then you can use that music without any further hidden fees.
The term “royalty free music” is only about 15 years old, and there is not a standard definition of license terms, so ensure you check the license terms of each individual music supplier to ensure the music license covers your needs.
If you do not opt for a royalty free music license, you will have to go down the avenue of traditional music licensing.
How do I license a song that is not royalty free?
Every song has two types of copyright –
- Sync Rights – Also known as the publishing rights, these are the rights to the written song, typically owned by the composer or songwriter.
- Master Rights – These are the rights to use the particular recording of the song.
If you decide to license a song for your film, you will need to ensure you have cleared both sets of rights.
From my own experience, I have found this a long and tricky path as you have to contact the publisher and record label of the artist.
It can sometimes be the case where you cannot get both licenses cleared. In addition, it can take a long time and ensure you have a good music budget, as this route is not cheap.
I have detailed the long and tricky process of traditional music licensing in my article,
When you see how complex traditional music licensing is, you can appreciate how royalty free music has become so popular.
Artists, like myself, own both the sync and master rights so I can license both of these quickly.
By asking for a one-time fee (or free with my library), royalty free music is quick, affordable, and simple for filmmakers.
For content creators, producing daily content for YouTube, having access to such a fast music licensing system is essential but filmmakers can benefit greatly from royalty free music too.
Where can I download free music for film festivals?
The music featured on this site can be downloaded for free and used in films that will take part in film festivals.
At my last count, I have had my music used in over 200 hundred film festivals so I am really chuffed about that!
Below are some free royalty free music suggestions for film festivals, but head over to my free music library for a better look.