How free is free when it comes to music? Royalty free music needs some explanation. Here goes.

There’s a difference between free music and royalty free music.

There’s a common belief that royalty free music exists in the public domain, as a free gift for the people. But in reality anyone who writes a piece of music is the de facto copyright holder, which means they're allowed to set the rules for licensing.

Free music is where you can just download the music for free, but it’s not necessarily free to use. You might face copyright issues if you use it in certain markets (broadcast television for example).

Whereas copyright free music means it’s free of royalty fees. You either buy a track or get it for free. Once you do you can use it for free in a video without being charged for the music per a number of views.

Our list below contains some who provide royalty music to its subscribers for a fee.


Music purchased from the PremiumBeat production music library is royalty free. This means that after paying a one-time fee, you can use the music you’ve purchased as many times as you wish. There are terms and conditions such as Premium Beats licenses do not include public performance rights.

But basically you never have to pay us any additional license fees based on usage.


You Tube Audio Library


You’d expect You Tube’s name to pop up in a topic like this. Royalty free music

  • Most popular source for getting audio files from YouTube’s free music library.
  • Music, sound effects that can be added straight away to your videos on YouTube, or download them to work offline.
  • Hundreds of royalty-free music tracks and sound effects, searchable and can be filtered by genre, instrument, mood, duration, and attribution.
  • Make sure you check if attribution is required. If it is then credit the artist in your video description.



Epidemic Sound is famous for its Youtube Creator Subscription which is a license for independent creators. This license allows you to sync Epidemic Sound music with all videos that are uploaded and published to a YouTube, Facebook or Instagram

Signing on with Epidemic means you get unlimited access to their library and can download as much music as you like.

All videos published during an active subscription will be cleared forever!


Shutterstock is better known for its stills photo library but it has quite a formidable, professionally presented collection of quality royalty free music.

The site goes into great detail and complexity about its music library. For example about how stock music is not necessarily royalty free, and vice versa.

It makes you realise how complex an are licensing really is. That said once you get to the music at Shutterstock it’s easy to navigate and listen to.