How To Find Legal Music For Videos

July 5th, 2011

A while back I did a post on Marc Angeles. in LA who had a YouTube video that had the video track shutdown because Marc had used some copyrighted audio (Marc has since replaced the track with some non-copyrighted music). J Miller raised the question, “how do you find legal music for videos”? Good question.

YouTube has some automatic algorithm that is able to identify copyrighted audio. Don’t ask me how it works. I first encountered it a couple of years ago when I did a  YouTube video of my grandson’s first steps and used Fat’s Domino’s 60’s rock tune, “I’m walkin” as the audio track. BAM, the video was disabled within hours. I got the message! I see from Marc’s video that now YouTube a little more sophisticated, they just disable the audio track and flags it as a copyright violation.

JMiller says he tried to get permission to use some copyrighted work and it was a hassel and he couldn’t get permission. Ya, I can believe it. The big name music studios are not interested in giving you permission to use their audio. They are paranoid about people stealing it! The way do find legal music is to look for Creative Commons music.

This page lays out advice for finding legal music and lists a bunch of sources for creative commons music. Another approach is to Google “creative commons music” and you’d find tons of creative commons and public domain music.

I know, I’d rather use Fat’s Domino’s “I’m walkin” track for my YouTube video than anything else I can find on creative commons, but it ain’t gonna happen so get used to it.

Everyone feel free to share you favorite public domain or creative commons music source in the comments.

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5 Responses to “How To Find Legal Music For Videos”


    I can usually find something on here. I first try to find a song that’s the length of the video and make some minor adjustments to the video if need be. You can also search by category if there is a certain style of music you think would go with the house. Sometimes I can spend almost as much time finding music as I do making the video. It can get very frustrating, hopefully something comes along that makes finding royalty free music easier to find.

  • I like Smartsound Sonicfire Pro.

    Music is pretty reasonable, large selection, and it integrates well into major NLE programs… and fits the music to the video automatically. Since most Royalty Free Music sounds like bad roller skating music, this company has a good number of less offensive titles. 🙂 You can choose multiple versions of each song, make it a string quartet instead of a full orchestra, etc. Of course, if any of it was REALLY good, it wouldn’t be royalty free, it would be a top ten Billboard song!

  • First, don’t overlook the music that comes with the video program, such as Premiere Elements. Also, while technically not “free”, is a commercial site that sells royalty free music at reasonable rates that I typically go to first. More important, it is well worth creating an account even if you don’t plan to purchase anything because every month they offer a free download and you can begin building a library.

  • I’ve downloaded lots of stuff from

    I’ve used it in video and in virtual tours. Their selection tends to lean a little bit toward electronica, but I’ve found classical and jazz as well.

  • Speaking of classical, the classic classical music has long expired copyrights. Feel free to use them for your own benefit, there may be caveats if performed by someone recently though. That part I’m not certain of.

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