You can preview and download songs in my free background music series here. In each section, the download link appears below the preview video of each song. You can browse and preview the tracks by song number, by style of music or by duration. If you are not sure what song would best suit your purpose, you can refer to my recommendations or see playlists of videos (sorted by type of video) that use my music.
If you like the songs, it would also be great if you could spare a few seconds to help me out in any of the following ways: liking, sharing, adding to favorites and/or commenting on any of my videos or background music pages, adding a direct link to this page or subscribing to my YouTube channel. Any such support would be very much appreciated.
Latest Upload: Unfolded (Free Background Music No. 41)
1. Preview & Download Background Music: Browse by Song No.
2. Preview & Download Background Music: Browse by Style
3. Preview & Download Background Music: Browse by Duration
if you are looking fo a song of a specific length, you can use this list of my songs arranged according to duration, to help you find the song you are looking for. Go to the list: Browse Songs by
Here are some song recommendations for a few specific categories of video or kinds of move. If you would like additional recommendations, please comment below and let me know; I will add them to the list.
|Most popular and versatile||12 Dreams|
|For vlogs or videos with a lot of speaking||23 Chillvolution|
|For intros||Short Instrumental Track 6|
|A nostalgic mood||34 I Vow to Thee My Country|
|For AMVs||33 Little Hero (fast)
38 Somewhere Deep in the Sea (melancholy)
|Gentle and touching||35 Broken|
|Upbeat||2 Versatile, 36 Buoyant|
|Rock||18 Rock Funk Beast|
5. Subscribe to my YouTube Channel
6.Videos Featuring my Songs
To see how other these songs are being used in other videos you, you can go to the Your Videos, My Songs page.
7. Featured Guest Series
The songs in the Featured Guest Series are compositions or arrangements by other musicians that have been included in the background music series as a way to (1) give my audience a wider range of songs to choose from and (2) give the participating musicians more exposure.
Latest Upload: Somewhere Deep in the Sea by Jessica Yip (Free Background Music No. 38)
8. Free Background Music by Other Composers
This section lists different sites where you find and download free background music for your videos, presentations, websites or other multimedia projects. There are quite a few composers and musicians willing to let you use their music for free, especially for non-commercial purposes. It is important to distinguish between (1) music that you actually use for free and (2) music that is royalty-free (which means you can use the music but you have to pay a one-off licensing fee) and (3) music that you can download for free but that requires an annual licensing fee if you want to use it in your video (e.g., the deceptively named Freeplay Music offers this type). This page focuses on the first type and includes four sections.
- YouTube’s Free Music
- Composers/Performers Offering Free Music: Songs to Download and Go
- Sites with Some Free Music with Other Songs that Require Payment
- Sites where you Search for Public Domain Music and Music Issued under Creative Commons Licenses (if you want to know more about public domain and Creative Commons, you can check out my page here: longzijun.wordpress.com/2012/01/18/music-public-domain-and-copyright
If you are a composer and would like to be added to (or removed from) this list or would like to change any information provided, please let me know.
8.1 Free Music Library at YouTube
YouTube has a lot of free music you can use (Vimeo used to provide a similar service, but recently stopped offering free music). In YouTube you need to have an account and be logged in. Go to Creator Studio and select Create (see the left column) and then Audio Library or simply go to this link: www.youtube.com/audiolibrary/music.
8.2 Free Background Music to Download and Go
If you are a hurry and need something immediately, the following composers allow you to use their existing work as long as you follow their term of use (e.g., by linking to their homepage, providing a credit). For many of the composers, the songs are free for non-commercial use. However, you should note that if you are making monetized videos, these would NOT fall under non-commercial use.
|Composer||Style and Influences||Listen, Contact & notes|
|Dan O||Over 50 free songs in different kinds of pop, soft rock and ambient styles.||www.danosongs.com/
Use for free if you provide a link/credit. Pay $10 for non-credited use
|Audionautix||Includes acoustic piece, film scores, rock and electronic||Audionautix Homepage
Use for free if you provide an attribution or link
|Teknoaxe||Over 200 free songs in different genres—electronica, dubstep, rock, orchestral, etc||www.youtube.com/user/teknoaxe/
Provide attribution and link to your video
|DST||A few hundred songs with an emphasis on electronic, ambient and and dance styles||DeceasedSuperiorTechnician
The songs are issued under a Creative Commons attribution license (commercial use is also OK); you just need to provide an attribution
|Incompetech||Hundreds of songs in different genres, lengths and styes||incompetech
Just provide an attribution that includes the licensing terms. You can see an example here incompetech.com/music/royalty-free/faq.html
|CeeeX||Mainly dramatic songs and upbeat electronica||www.youtube.com/user/FunKCX/
Available for non-commercial use. Add a credit, notify the composer (e.g., send a link)
|Accelerated Ideas||Around 15 short electonica intros/outros (12 sec. to 35 sec.)||www.accelerated-ideas.com/FreeMusicTracks/
Add a credit (e.g., a link to the website)
7.3 Some Free Music, But Mainly Royalty-free Tracks
These channels offer some free music, but mainly deal in licensed music (i.e., you pay a one time fee)
|Composer||Style and Influences||Listen, Contact & notes|
|Jewel Beat (various)||Around 100 free repeating loops (10 sec. to 30 sec. in different styles.||www.jewelbeat.com/free/free-background-music.htm
(the free music is located at the bottom of the page)
|SophonicMedia InstrumentalsFree||Mainly rock, but includes some other styles||This is a new site, so the selection isn’t very large at the moment. Some tracks are free (as long as you provide a credit) and some are royalty-free (which means a small payment is required). YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/user/SophonicMedia. The free songs are here (as long as appropriate credit is given):http://instrumentalsfree.com/|
7.4 Other Sites to Get Background Music
First, people will sometimes upload their songs and mistakenly state that the music is in the public domain or available through a Creative Commons licence. One example, would be someone uploading their piano only arrangement of a hit pop song and being unaware that the composition itself (melody, harmony, structure) is protected by copyright. Therefore, if you were to use that arrangement, you would be in violation of copyright law. You should familiarize yourself with the concepts of Creative Commons and public domain (see the links in the preceding paragraph) so that you can assess whether the music you use is really OK.
Second, sometimes people change their mind and ‘withdraw’ the Creative Commons licence or ‘remove it’ out of the public domain. Such actions are wrong (Creative Commons cannot be revoked, and once something is legitimately released into the public domain the copyright holder, it stays there), but people still do them. To e safe, when you download Creative Commons or public domain music, you should jot down the download date and the source and also get a screen capture that shows the song is under Creative Commons or in the public domain.
Archive Org: http://archive.org/index.php
Video, music and text in the public domain or issued under Creative Commons licences
Music recordings issued with Creative Commons licences
Music recordings issued with Creative Commons Licences
An audio uploader that features many Creative Commons licensed music tracks. Try searching for a style of music (e.g. dub step) and then select one on the Creative Commons attribution qualities on the right. Not all music uploaded here is under Creative Commons
A site of Creative Commons licensed music tracks
9. Why do I Offer Free Music?
I started writing and producing songs for my own use on video projects related to my work (I am a teacher) and for projects some of my students were working on. One of the difficult parts about making videos is finding background music that can be legally used, and a lot of people, such as students working on projects, charities doing promotional videos and people just making family videos, don’t really have a budget for licensing songs, so I thought it would be a good idea to share the songs I had already produced. The songs were doing nothing but sitting in my computer doing whatever it is that unused files do on a hard drive. Why not make them useful? Once I uploaded my music, the feedback was positive, so I also started writing songs just for fun and also making these available for people who need it.
I don’t sell any of the songs at the moment for the following reasons: 1) My work contract explicitly forbids taking on additional jobs without permission (which is fair enough); 2) As mentioned before, there are some people who don’t really have a budget for songs. Why not help them out? 3) Offering free downloadable background music has turned out to be a fairly effective way to attract listeners. Perhaps in the future, I will start licensing new songs, so it be to my advantage if I already had a good reputation and there were people who had already used and/or knew about my work.
Sometimes I am asked to do custom-made scores. Unfortunately, at this stage I am unable to do this. First, my normal day job keeps me busy, so I can only work on music projects when I have some free time to spare. Second, as I am not a very skillful musician or songwriter it takes me a long time to produce each song. I generally play around with ideas for a few months before a concrete and complete song concept emerges, and and then it takes quite a while to record the different parts and mix the whole song. As an extreme example, the basic musical ideas for the song Memoryne were first developed eight years before the song itself was completed. I don’t think many people would be willing to wait a few years for their custom-made music or be able to afford the huge fees I would have to charge to make it worth my time.
10. How Can You Help?
As mentioned at the top of the page their are many easy and quick ways that you can offer your support.
- You can like, share and/or comment on this page
- You can like, share and/or comment any of my music videos
- You can subscribe to my YouTube channel
- You can add any of my music videos to a favorites list or other playlist
- On your website or blog or in your video description, you can add a link to this page or to any of my music videos
- You can even help by playing my song(s) all the way to the end
Every little bit of support can help and would be greatly appreciated.
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