One of the hardest things to find when it comes to video or audio podcasts is free music. It’s almost the holy grail for regular podcasters who don’t want to repeat the same tunes and background music again and again.
Most audio available online is currently copyright protected, and most of the rest is illegal. But it is possible to find and gain access to music that is free to download and distribute. This article is designed to help you with that goal.
Nowadays the increased popularity of alternative distribution licenses such as Creative Commons has made possible for musicians to publish their music online and share it with others while guaranteeing some fundamental rights for themselves.
This phenomenon promoted the birth of several online music directories, whose aim is to collect music which has been voluntarily contributed by independent artists.
The songs available in such directories are freely downloadable and users can, for example, utilize them to produce video clips and more complex audio files (in general for non commercial use).
As you probably know, Creative Commons licenses can be of many types but their main objective is to guarantee that the artist is rewarded and credited anytime her creation is used by someone else.
In this mini-guide I collected for you some of the most interesting online music directories that allow you to download and utilize audio content for free.
Please remember that this mini-guide does not pretend to be a fully comprehensive list of all the online music directories available online; you are welcome to suggest additional services by using the comments section that you will find at the bottom of this article.
Here some of the best services I have been able to find and review:
A Mini Guide To ResourcesPodSafe Audio
PodSafe Audio is a location where you can find free music. The artists on this site have released their music under the Creative Commons license and agreed to allow their music to be used by you in any way and form for webcasting, as long as you don’t take credit for the original work.
On Jamendo, artists allow everyone to legally download and share their music for free. If you like some artists you can freely decide to pay them directly or just spread the word about them.
Users can choose among different categories and genres and there’s no limit to the number of songs they can download.
Opsound is a community of musicians who decided to make their music available for free.
Musicians and sound artists are invited to add their work to the Opsound pool using a copyleft license developed by Creative Commons. Listeners are invited to download, share, remix, and redistribute it.
ccMixter, launched by Creative Commons, is a community music site featuring remixes licensed under Creative Commons, where you can listen to, sample, mash-up, or interact with music in whatever way you want.
If you’re into music, browse this site to hear some of the remixes people have built from sampling music..
SectionZ is an electronic music community that offers Creative Commons-licensed tracks from genres like IDM, drum ‘n’ bass, and ambient. Users can browse the huge repository of free music available for free download and use it for their needs.
As one of the oldest online digital music communities, DMusic offers Creative Commons licenses for artists hosting their music. Users are free to download their favorite songs and use them according to the terms of the above mentioned licenses.
Garageband is a site that showcases music produced by independent artists who are looking forward to increasing their popularity. Registered users can download music for free and use it for non commercial projects; again, giving credits is the best solution to avoid legal issues.
SoundClick is a music website that features both signed and unsigned bands, offering unlimited storage band’s music. Music is available under a Creative Commons license which regulates distribution.
Carefully read each license before downloading your favorite songs, because the same artists might have applied different licenses to each one of their songs.
Epitonic combines the best features of a college radio station and an independent music magazine, offering an array of features, reviews and profiles alongside freely downloadable music and streaming audio tracks.
You can use this music for your own projects but you cannot distribute it for commercial purposes
Link: http://www.epitonic.com/Salon Audiofile
The popular online magazine Salon features a section which is entirely dedicated to free music. Everyday the editors at Salon pick a new song and make it available for download.
The database is impressive and each song is accompanied by a short review and info about the musician. Audio files are available in mp3 format.
Dance-Industries is one of the many online music copyleft communities produced by 3x-Industries, a commercial copyleft digital distribution network of non author right ruled, contemporary copyleft music. You can legally download your favorite mp3 files for free.
Magnatune makes non-exclusive agreements with artists, and gives them fifty percent of any proceeds from online sales or licensing. All of the tracks downloaded free of charge are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License.
Online Free Music Directories: Comparison Chart
Originally written by Livia Iacolare for Master New Media and published with the title: “Where To Find Free Music For Your Videos And Podcasts: A Mini-Guide“ on July 22nd 2007. Some Rights Reserved
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