Free Background Music Series: Former Terms of Use

The terms of use were applicable from 16 March 2011 to 13 October 2015. They have been replaced by the new terms of use. The main difference is that the background music is now free to use in YouTube videos that are monetized (but otherwise non-commercial). If you published your work between 16 March 2011 and 13 October 2015, you many switch to the new terms of use. It is your choice.  If you have been following the old terms of use and have been donating money to charity as per those terms of use, you will NOT be reimbursed for any payments made.

As the Free Background Music series has been becoming more popular, there have been more requests being made for using the music for non-commercial purposes. Therefore, I have drawn up the following conditions for use. There are some restrictions for all categories of users, namely

  • The music may not be used in works which are pornographic (or which promote pornography) or that deliberately promote illegal activities or incite hatred
  • You may not distribute the music in your own collection of music (A similar restriction is applied to things to clip-art. You can use a clip-art image, but may not distribute it or sell it in your own collection of clip-art)
  • To re-mix the music or use it in a mash-up and then publish your remix, you need permission and need to provide credits specifying which parts come from my music.
  • The music may be cut and you can take out a segment and loop it, but you may not alter the tempo by more than 5%.

These terms of use may change at anytime without notice; however, changes will NOT be applied retroactively (i.e., if you have already used the music, you just need to follow the original terms of use). If the song is free when you used it to create a project, you will never need to pay for that use.

A1. Strictly Non-commercial Uses

The music in this series (and the Short Instrumental Themes series and Backing Tracks series) is free to use for non-commercial purposes; simply provide a credit—music by longzijun—somewhere in your work (e.g., in the video credits, the video description, webpage, PowerPoint presentation or programme notes etc). It would also be great if you could spare a few seconds to offer your supportin any of the following ways: liking, sharing, commenting on any of my song videos or background music pages, adding song video(s) to a playlist or favorites list, adding a direct link to this page or subscribing to my YouTube channel. Every little bit helps and any such support would be very much appreciated.

A2. Non-commercial Works Entered in Competitions with Prizes

Revised: 5 May 2013
These are now being treated the same as the non-commercial works mentioned above. Permission is given to use the music in this series (and the Short Instrumental Themes series and Backing Tracks Series) for free in the work as long as appropriate credit is provided (music by longzijun), even for competitions in which prizes are offered.

B. Makers of YouTube monetized videos, Adsense Users, Professional Video-makers, App developers

For the ten 12 songs in the Short instrumental Themes series , which includes Happy Virus (which is also Song No 8 in the background music series), the music can be used for free as long as attribution is provided (music by longzijun). This free use provision ONLY refers to these eight songs (which are between 12 and 60 seconds in length). For all other songs, the terms of use are as follows:

For the songs in Free Background Music Series (Background Music Songs 01 to 26 excluding Happy Virus) and Backing Tracks Series, there are two additional requirements for using the song:

1. A donation should be made to a charity of your choice based on the revenue obtained (or your estimate of the revenue). It is suggested that for each video, 1 to 3% (the figure is up to your generosity) of your revenue earned for that video or video production fee should be donated. In many countries, users would also be able to claim the donation as a tax-deductible donation. If YouTube or other organisation is requesting proof that you have the right to use the song then you may send them the link to this page and you should indicate willingness to follow the terms if and when you do receive earnings from your video. You do not need to make any donations before you start earning money; however, an initial donation might be helpful if you need to get monetization approved.

2. The crediting should be more careful in acknowledging the source material; the crediting of the songs should be as follows:

Song No. and Title Wording of Credit
2. Versatile
4. Snacks and Watches
5. Mime This
6. IS 1*
7. IS 2*
11. Safe Harbour
18. Rock Funk Beast
28. Who I am*
29. Ravenchanter
music (loop-based) by longzijun, used with permission, charitable donation to be made to: __ name of charity__
3. Walk in the Dark**
8 Happy Virus
9. GIS
10. Little Ape
12. Dreams
13. Arpology 1: Frantic Sax Version*
14. Arpology 2: Ambient Synth Version*
15. Yeah! Why?*
16. San
17. Elegy
19. Transect
20. Cog in your Machine*
21. Slow Descent I and Slow Descent II*
22. As long as a word remains unspoken
23. Chillvolution
24. Lock and Love
25. Memoryne
26. Almost a Love Story
27. Sonicidence
30. Echoes & Fragments
31. Dubtitution
32. The Hidden Path
33. Little Hero
music by longzijun, (used with permission; charitable donation to be made to: __ name of charity __)

* = Songs are no longer available (as of 20 May 2014)
** = Song are no longer available as of 30 October (2016)

Further Information about Monetized Videos (Added 7 May 2013)
I would just like to clarify a few things

  1. Monetized videos are NOT non-commercial videos.
  2. Though I am allowing for the use of my music in monetized videos assuming that the terms of use mentioned in Section B are being met, I have no control over whether your video can be approved for monetization. That decision rests with YouTube and AdSense. You should be aware that the decision is often arbitrary (for example, I have one video, created entirely from my own music and images, that has not be approved for monetization)
  3. Therefore, I cannot guarantee that your video will be approved for monetization, nor can I lobby YouTube on your behalf.
  4. If your video is pending approval, you can send YouTube the link to this page as well a recent copy of a charitable donation receipt (to show your intentions of honoring the terms of use), but once again, I cannot guarantee that your video will be approved for monetization.

C. Small Businesses (i.e., local independent businesses)

There are three requirements:

1. The user should request and gain permission beforehand ( When requesting permission,  the user should  describe the project.  What is the business? What is the purpose of the work?   How, where and when will it be shown?

2. The user should make a minimum donation of 10 USD to a charity of his/her choice for each separate song used (the donation would be tax deductible in many cases).

3. The music should be credited according to guidelines mentioned in the above table (in the previous section).

D. Large Businesses, Advertisers, Filmmakers

They should contact me at When making the request, they should describe the project in detail. Who is the client? what is the purpose of the work?   How, where and when will it be shown? What is the estimated budget of the project?

— Return to Free Background Music Series

Additional Information about Creative Commons licences.

Background music compositions 1-15 were issued with the Attribution, Non-Commercial and No-Derivatives licence. The No-derivatives part of the license means that the videos may NOT be used to create a new works such as a video or computer game, without permission. The above Terms of Use, therefore, allow other people to use the music for such purposes (if the terms are met).