As every content creator will tell you, finding the right music can be the making or breaking of any video or podcast. Get it wrong and your creation will sound cheap and tacky, but getting it right elevates your content to another level. Today we’ll run you through the terminology behind royalty-free beats and where you can find some of the best music for your creations.
When Might You Use Royalty-Free Music?
Just about anyone can set themselves up as a content creator these days. Whether you’re looking to become a Twitch streamer, make videos to promote your business on Facebook, are a professional filmmaker, or have aspirations to become a YouTube star, you’re going to need music to add an air of professionalism to your videos.
Depending on where you post your content, and whether or not you intend to use it for commercial purposes, you’ll need to get familiar with different licensing types before you upload.
The Difference Between Royalty-Free and Free-to-Use
A lot of people make the mistake of thinking that royalty-free means you can download that music free of charge. This isn’t actually the case, and it simply means that you can use that track without having to pay royalties for each individual user. In the vast majority of cases, you’ll still need to make an initial payment to access it.
Most content creators will seek out royalty-free online libraries where they can find thousands of tracks to download. Many will charge either an annual or monthly fee, and you can use the royalty-free beats as many times as you like. In many instances, you’ll even be able to keep using that music after your payments have ended, and this will usually be stipulated in your licensing agreement.
Free-to-use music on the other hand is exactly what it says on the tin. The composers of these tracks have made them completely free of charge, and you can download them and use them as much as you like. However, these tracks aren’t as common as royalty-free music, and they tend to have a significant drop in quality.
Either way, we highly recommend you resist the temptation to use popular copyrighted music from your favorite artists. This can quickly land you in hot water, especially over on Twitch or YouTube where it could net you a copyright strike and ultimately a ban on your account.
Public Domain and Creative Commons Licenses
Public domain music has no intellectual property rights applied, and the best example of this would be classical music from the likes of Mozart and Beethoven, or any copyrighted track where the original composer has died more than 70 years ago and the copyright has expired. However, the public domain can be tricky to navigate as someone may have since purchased the rights, or released new editions of that music that are now copyrighted.
Plus, public domain laws can vary significantly between different countries and it can take hours of research to find out those circumstances in which you’re actually able to use a track, meaning you may be better off sticking with a trusted royalty-free site.
Creative Commons licenses are a little different. You won’t need to pay for these tracks, but you must meet certain conditions before you can use them. For example, some only require that you credit the composer for the work, while others stipulate that you can’t use the track for commercial purposes.
Where Can You Find Royalty Free-Beats
There are now dozens of royalty-free beats libraries online. Many will break down the content into different categories to suit different purposes. For example, a lot of platforms will have a huge range of sections to cover topics as diverse as dramatic music for serious filmmakers, comedy sound effects, classical music, inspirational themes, and chill-out beats.
If you’re planning to stream on Twitch, you can even use its built-in library of approved music, although this is a little limited and won’t really make you stand out, so you’re probably better off tracking down a royalty-free site. Each platform comes with its own unique style and set of tracks, and the reputable ones will let you listen to the full library before you commit to making a decision to purchase. So do a little shopping around and see which one fits your style the best.