Free Background Music 36: Buoyant

Buoyant (www.youtube.com/watch?v=bVQBFlHvI_s)

Here is my new song and new music video. This video is a collaboration with Juliana Payson, who supplied the original video footage of her swimming, dancing underwater, experimenting with synchronized swimming skills and doing other kinds of workout routines. Through her YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/user/Onnaloves), Juliana has been documenting and sharing recovery methods and fitness training after having hip-replacement surgery.

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Free Background Music 35: Broken (Ballet & Piano Collaboration)

Broken (www.youtube.com/watch?v=k4Uli_CCMDg)

Our Free Background Music series continues with the 35th song—Broken
— a gentle and melancholy piano ballad about the end of a friendship. As with the other songs in this series, this solo piano piece is free to use for non-commercial purposes as long as credit is provided (music by longzijun). The song can also be used in monetized videos on YouTube that are otherwise non-commercial in nature (as long as the music is credited). You can refer to the terms of use) for more detail.

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New Video: Piano Cover of Howard Shore’s Feast of Starlight (from The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug)

We continue our student music series with Kate performing her own arrangement of Feast of Starlight by Howard Shore. The song comes from the soundtrack of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. Kate created the arrangement by ear (i.e., nothing is written down), so (unfortunately) sheet music is not available. Note: This song is NOT part of the free background music series as we do not own the copyright to the composition.


This is the tenth song in our music series featuring students at SKH Lam Woo Memorial Secondary School in Hong Kong. The purpose of this series is allow students to share their love of music while helping them develop their talents as performers and songwriters (and arrangers!). To view the whole series. featuring originals and covers in English, Cantonese and Japanese, you can go to: Student Music: Original Songs and Covers.

Piano: Kate Kwok
Piano arrangement by Kate Kwok
Music by Howard Shore

Video Production: CMe Creative Media Studio at SKH Lam Woo Memorial Secondary School (Hong Kong)
Music recording and video editing: longzijun
March 2015

Technical Information

Electric Piano: Yamaha Clavichord
Recording software: Cakewalk Sonar X1 Studio

Please support our students by viewing the video, sharing it, liking it or commenting on it. Every little bit of support helps. You can download an mp3 version the performance here: https://app.box.com/s/c6nl4syx5n0wdxfyu50fs51xly2zdby9

Return to Student Music: Original Songs and Covers 

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Three new free background music tracks

Three new free background music tracks (Songs 10-12) have been added to the Free Background Music Series

You can use these music recordings for any non-commercial projects that you are working on (e.g., video, animation, presentations, etc.); just provide  credit (music by longzijun). You can refer to the Terms of Use for more information.

Background Music 12: Dreams

Dreams (www.youtube.com/watch?v=QRtHl9n-G3o)

This is the most popular song in the series. It was originally composed for a video done by students in my school’s Creative Media Studio team. They interviewed people about their dreams in life (see their video: (www.youtube.com/watch?v=QbLf9QZ-njY). The song was mainly composed on a Korg M50 synthesizer and is influenced by Indonesian gamelan music and minimalist music.   

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Free Background Music Sites

My own free background music and free music for intros is available from this page. You might find what you need here:

Free Background Music and Intro Themes

On this page, I will introduce 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. There is a good chance that you won’t be able to find exactly why you are looking for, especially if you have a specific pop or rock song in mind, but if you look hard enough you should be able to find something that meets your needs.

It is important to distinguish between:

  • Music that you actually use for free and
  • Music that is royalty-free (which means you can use the music but you have to pay a one-off licensing fee) and
  • 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.

  1. YouTube’s Free Music
  2. Composers/Performers Offering Free Music: Songs to Download and Go
  3. Sites with Some Free Music with Other Songs that Require Payment
  4. 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.

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.

When the audio library page opens, you can browse by genre or search using key words. As far as I can see, you can use the music for just about any purpose; according to the terms of use, the only restrictions are that you cannot distribute the music by itself and that the music cannot be used in an illegal manner or with any illegal content. However, the page now has a disclaimer stating that YouTube is not responsible for any copyright issues that may arise from your use of the content outside of YouTube.

Select and download free mp3s
Select and download free mp3s

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.

ComposerStyle and InfluencesListen, Contact & notes
Dan OOver 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
AudionautixIncludes acoustic piece, film scores, rock and electronicAudionautix Homepage
Use for free if you provide an attribution or link
TeknoaxeOver 200 free songs in different genres—electronica, dubstep, rock, orchestral, etcwww.youtube.com/user/teknoaxe/
Provide attribution and link to your video
DSTA few hundred songs with an emphasis on electronic, ambient and and dance stylesDeceasedSuperiorTechnician
The songs are issued under a Creative Commons attribution license (commercial use is also OK); you just need to provide an attribution
IncompetechHundreds of songs in different genres, lengths and styesincompetech
Just provide an attribution that includes the licensing terms. You can see an example here incompetech.com/music/royalty-free/faq.html
CeeeXMainly dramatic songs and upbeat electronicawww.youtube.com/user/FunKCX/
Available for non-commercial use. Add a credit, notify the composer (e.g., send a link)
Accelerated IdeasAround 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)

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)

ComposerStyle and InfluencesListen, Contact & notes
SophonicMedia InstrumentalsFreeMainly rock, but includes some other stylesThis 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/

4. Other Sites to Get Background Music

Caution: The following sites focus on Creative Commons licensed music and Public Domain music. There are two things you need to bear in mind.

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

Freesound: http://www.freesound.org/
Music recordings issued with Creative Commons licences

FreePD: www.freepd.com
Music recordings issued with Creative Commons Licences

Soundcloud: http://soundcloud.com/
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

CMixter: http://ccmixter.org/
A site of Creative Commons licensed music tracks


~by longzijun

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