There are many times when I need a bit of music for a presentation or a show reel but I have very little skills in creating my own music! This post looks at a few sites where you can download music that you could use for your own project. Whilst almost all of these sites require some credit at some point they are all provide free music for you to use.

All the following sites are up and running at the time of posting (7th December 2015) but things change so if any links no longer work please let us know.

If you don’t have time to read through the post, my personal recommendation is BenSound for a good point of call.

Quick links:

BenSound
http://www.bensound.com/
BenSoundWhen you access this site, you are presented with some popular songs – each with a small description and a picture to represent the song. The site itself is very easy to use – each song listed is categorised into different genres and you can see a little description of possible reasons why that song is appropriate. Not every song is free, but I found that there was a good selection of music to access. The songs were very well written – nicely recorded and encoded.

You can download music without signing up or registering. The majority of the music listed here comes with a Creative Commons license and requires that you credit the site in some way (more detailed information is found under licensing). The author has very generously provided a lot of music out there and even gives detailed information about how you can use the music.

One of my personal favourites, I would heartily recommend this site as a place to get some really well crafted background music.

Free Music Archive
http://freemusicarchive.org/

FreeMusicArchiveThe opening page shows some news articles as well as some recent highlights. I found it easiest to click on the By Genre option at the top of the page and then picking my desired style of music. Some genres have sub-genres so you can narrow down your selections. The play button on the left lets you listen to the songs, and there’s a download button over on the right hand side of the page.

There’s no sign up and no registration. Whilst it’s free to download all songs listed, you might want to check the individual licensing for each particular song you’re interested in. Click on the song title you like and you can then access the license information. If you don’t understand each particular attribution, there’s a handy link on each which tells you exactly what you can (and can’t do). Whilst it would be nice to see this information before you download a song, it’s still a very nice site to get lots of different music.

dig.ccMixter
http://dig.ccmixter.org/

digccMixThis site is very clearly laid out, and breaks down the different kind of music you might be looking for. In addition, it clearly explains the different licensing available to the music and how you can use the music in your own project.

The only thing it doesn’t do so well is explain each track. Some of the other sites gives you a little description of the music (like uptempo, relaxing) and so it can be a bit hit or miss when you preview the tracks. Having said that, the tracks provided are of a high quality standard so you shouldn’t have any problems finding a nice piece of music for your project.

Audionautix
http://audionautix.com/

AudionautixA very large collection of free music. The site occasionally asks you to donate but there’s absolutely no pressure. Music is listed in genres, tempos and moods so you can quickly find a piece of music to fit your needs. Once you’ve put in your search criteria, you can then preview the results and then download as appropriate. On the whole, the music was of good quality but the actual sound quality was somewhat lower than other sites listed here.

Whilst each song is free to download, the site does request that you provide a credit link either to the site, or to the name of the site.

Purple Planet
http://www.purple-planet.com/

PurplePlanetThe first thing I noticed was that the web design was a bit cluttered. However, the link to Royalty Free Music was fairly prominent at the top of the page – and on the right hand side of the page. Music is sectioned into moods (like upbeat or tense) so you can quickly filter down your search. After picking your mood, you are then presented with a selection of music that matches that mood. From there you can listen to, and download, from the selection. Some free songs are given as a shortened version of the full song. For example, in the ambient section you can download for a free a 4 minute version of a song, or purchase the full 15 minute version of the song.

Songs are nicely recorded, and sound very clear. WIth a lot of choices, this is a good site to explore.

MusOpen
https://musopen.org/

MusOpenA very clean site that provides a large selection of music. There’s an emphasis on classical music but you can filter the results to display music by period. Unlike some other sites there’s no “mood” category – this site lists music by composer, form (such as a waltz), instruments (like piano or computer) and the period. The site is easy to navigate, and downloading is also very straightforward. Most tracks are rated as well so if you trust ratings, you can search for more popular songs. Almost all songs I looked at required a credit to

If you are looking for a piece of classical music this is a very good place to go. If you’re looking for something more contemporary, it’s available here but you’ll need to dig deep.

Incompetech
http://incompetech.com/music/royalty-free/collections.php

IncompetechThis site contains a large amount of free music for you to use. You can search on either Genre or feel, and there seems to be a lot of good quality music available. Songs come with a small description as well as details about the tempo of the song. It also lists the instruments used to create each song. The site requests that you credit any music that you use and gives you the appropriate text to give appropriate credits.

With lots of different styles and moods to choose from in a very clearly laid out style this is a great site.

CCTrax
http://cctrax.com/

CCTraxA site that tends to focus mainly on full albums, but you can also download individual tracks. Different songs/albums come with different creative commons licences but you can click on the CC icon to get more information as to how you can use the music. As a general rule, most songs simply require you to credit the artist. However, check first! Music is of a high quality, and is more modern/contemporary – categories like ambinet, downtempo and so on let you filter down search results. There’s a lot of great quality music here that should suit your music needs, especially if you’re looking for something that sits more in the background.

If you’re looking for something modern and fresh, this is a great place to start.

FreeSFX
http://www.freesfx.co.uk/

freeSFXWhilst this site has an emphasis on sound effects there are some music tracks available for use. As usual, you need to credit the website if possible but they do say that you can always post a tweet or something like that. The music quality is reasonable (although not brilliant), and there’s lots of choices that provide some nice, harmless music. Quite a few of the samples I listened to reminded me a bit of a travel program but that’s not necessarily a bad thing!

Decent enough site, easy to navigate but not my first choice. Worth a look if none of the other sites work for you.

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