Film Makers Complete Guide to Royalty Free MusicPhoto by Sam McGhee

Planning to launch a new YouTube career, making weekly videos or independent movies? If you want to make films, whether it’s for a passion project or a commercial purpose, music is one of its most important aspects. It can set the mood, give life to scenes, and make the film more enjoyable. For most beginners, music for film makers might be difficult to find. That said, you could get in trouble using copyrighted music. Don’t always rely on fair use copyright provisions.

But don’t give up yet!

We put together a guide on royalty free music for film makers. We’ll discuss some common misconceptions and other topics to get you started. Read on and learn more.

Royalty Free Music for Filmmakers: 4 Common Misconceptions

Sometimes, neophyte film makers won’t know the difference between royalty free and copyright free music. Most will often confuse one with the other. That’s why here are some things you should know about royalty free music.

1. Royalty Free Music Isn’t Totally Free to Use

As its name suggests, royalty free music means not paying royalties to the artist. To achieve that, you need to buy the music first. It’s like a tax-free product since you won’t need to pay tax after buying it. Sometimes, artists will offer free music in exchange for a credit in your video. When they do this, it’s often to increase their marketability as a music maker.

2. Royalty Free Music Isn’t Low Quality

Royalty free music often gets a bad reputation. Most people think it has poor quality compared to paid music. The truth is that the audio quality and genre aren’t affected by the licensing of the music. Royalty free music can span any genre. In most cases, it’s well-recorded and enjoys high-quality sounds. It often depends on the skills and equipment of the music maker.

3. Royalty Free Music Isn’t Stock Music

These two music licensing types aren’t the same. Stock music serves as a repository of pre-made music ready for licensing and use. It’s expected to have a $346 million global market by 2023, with some libraries offering music without royalty fees.

4. Royalty Free Music Isn’t Copyright Free Music

The term “copyright free music” is misleading since nothing is free from copyright. You earn it as soon as you make the music. The artist owns the music’s copyright by default, which means they get to decide who can use it. Sometimes, artists don’t care about the way their music gets used. In this situation, the music might seem free from copyright. The truth is that the artist owns it but they’re granting everyone access without payment.

Why Pay for Royalty Free Music for Film Makers?

Royalty free music means paying a one-time sum to get legal rights. You’re within the rights to use it for whatever film project you’re doing. It isn’t within the bounds of creative commons licenses, which can benefit you in the long run.

If you want to use music to earn money, royalty free music is efficient. It’s especially when you don’t want to credit the artist or you want to change some parts. It’s much better than most free materials online, which makes it more professional.

Buying royalty free music also protects your project. It gives you peace of mind since you’ll get a legal contract. If an artist decides to change their song licenses, you won’t get affected in any way.

Types of Licenses for Free Music

Free music licenses have two major types: free license-protected music and public domain music . Here are the differences between the two.

Free License-Protected Music

This music lets the artist establish the terms on how their work gets duplicated and distributed. It often falls within creative common terms. This license has four conditions and six licenses that use the former as a basis.

The four conditions include attribution, non-commercial, no derivative works, and share alike. This ensures that the artist has proper credit. They can also choose not to let the music get changed and commercialized.

Public Domain Music

This music isn’t bound by copyright. It means you can use it without the permission of the original artist. It means you’re free to use it with abandon since it belongs to everyone.

Six License Types for Creative Commons

By using the four conditions stated above, these are the licenses that film makers can use.

1. BY

This license requires you to credit the artist who made the music. If you made any changes, show it.

2. BY-SA

This license allows you to change the original music. But the caveat is that the resulting piece must have the exact license as its original. When sharing your work, you’re not allowed to stop others from sharing or changing your work.

3. BY-ND

This license enables you to use the music for any purpose. The requirement is to give the due credit to its original artist. It also doesn’t allow you to alter the music in any form.

4. BY-NC

You can alter the music as you see fit. As usual, you need to give the artist the credit. But the catch is that you aren’t allowed to commercialize your project.


The license has the same restrictions, meaning you can’t use the music for commercial purposes. But if you change the music to suit your project, it should have the same license as the original music.


You’re required to give the artist credit. But you can’t share or distribute any new works derived from changing parts of the original music.

What Music Can Filmmakers Use? Royalty Free Music!

If you want to find the right balance between price and quality, royalty free music for film makers is your best bet. Upon finishing this guide, you’ll know that paying once for good music you can legally use forever is perfect for value.

Are you interested in getting royalty free music for your film project? If so, check our rates and get the right plan that fits your requirements.