- Public domain music is free to download and use in videos and other projects.
- There are a variety of websites that make it easy to browse, listen to, and download public domain audio.
- Here are five of the best places to get music in the public domain or shared under the Creative Commons license.
services like Spotify and Apple Music, it’s never been easier to access commercial music. But these apps are for personal entertainment. If you need to feature music in any type of creative project, you’ll probably want to find public domain music or content licensed under a Creative Commons license.
Either way, this music is free to download and legal to use however you want. Luckily, there are some great websites that make it easy to browse and download a wide selection of public domain and royalty-free music.
FreePD has a large catalog of freely reusable music; the header of the website advertises that all content here is 100% free, attribution-free, and copyright-free. Browsing categories include various genres such as upbeat and positive, epic and dramatic, horror, romantic and sentimental, and many more.
The site has several levels. You can download individual MP3 tracks for free, but you can also pay a $10 fee to download 800 MP3 tracks at once or $25 to download even more, including 100 higher quality WAV files. The site also makes it easy to tip content creators via PayPal. All music on the site may be streamed and sampled from the site before downloading.
Free Music Archive
If you’re looking for royalty-free music that you can download and incorporate into other projects, Free Music Archive should be one of your first stops. One of the oldest such sites, it was established in 2009 by independent East Coast radio station WFMU. Most of the music here isn’t really public domain, but is instead covered by the Creative Commons license, which means you’ll need to check the license to see exactly what right you have for a given track (although “CC BY” is the most common and allows you to share, copy, remix and redistribute the song in any format, even commercially).
The site offers a huge collection of tracks in 16 categories, including blues, country, hip-hop, pop, rock, and old time, to name a few. You can stream, sample and download individual tracks from a simple and easy to use player built into the site. Use of the site is 100% free.
Musopen is a non-profit website that has been operating since 2012, focused on improving access to music education by providing not only music files, but also sheet music, music apps and other educational materials. . This makes it a great resource for educators, but be aware that this site focuses exclusively on classical music.
You can use the site for free, although access is limited – you can only download five songs per day with a number of other limitations. Subscribers can pay $55 per year for unlimited downloads, access to lossless audio files, and other perks. In addition to music downloads, you can stream public domain tracks. The site has a robust search engine and the ability to filter by composer, instrument, period, duration, etc.
Open music archives
The Open Music Archive is a website that was started by British artists Eileen Simpson and Ben White, two musicians who frequently collaborate and focus on copyright issues in the music industry. OMA houses an extensive archive of public domain music in a wide variety of genres and styles.
The site can be a little hard to find because it’s designed around navigation by a somewhat random collection of tags. You can click on specific years, categories like vocal, happy, and country, and artists like Guthrie, Virginia Liston, and Johnny Dodds – the structure isn’t well organized. You can download tracks without restriction from the website or stream the site’s catalog via SoundCloud (but you cannot preview or stream on the OMA webpage).
It’s not uncommon to need music of a specific length, whether it’s to serve as a music bed for a video or as a soundtrack for a creative project. Mubert is a somewhat unusual website that can help – it features music created by artificial intelligence. Simply choose a vibe, genre, or activity from a short list and pick a duration, and the website creates an original royalty-free track in moments. You can listen to it using an integrated player or download it and reuse it.
The site is completely free, although it requires creating a free account to upload the tracks you create. It would be nice if there was a wider range of ways to randomize the track, but every song you create includes an option to make a new variation similar.