A great soundtrack is often the secret sauce to YouTube success. Searching free music websites to find the perfect music for your video is always one of the most important ingredients.
Think of That’s Amazing’s insane trick shots and you can practically hear them ramping up the drama with epic soundtracks. Or try imagining Safiya Nygaard’s lifestyle videos without her tongue-in-cheek classical music and characterful jazzy jingles. Great music goes a long way, which is why creators want to know where they can download awesome copyright-free music for YouTube.
While you can’t just take a Bad Bunny banger and stick it in your edit, there are hundreds of music sites that offer great soundtracks to elevate your YouTube videos. To save you having to search through them all, we’ve done the hard work to reveal the best free music websites for YouTubers.
Why can’t I use any music on YouTube?
If you want to use music in your YouTube videos, you’ll need to get permission from the artist first. Chances are you don’t have The Weeknd or Miley Cyrus on speed dial and, without their permission, you won’t be able to use their tracks.
All copyrighted music is registered with YouTube. It uses a clever fingerprinting system called Content ID to flag when videos contain copyrighted music. So it can tell if you use Miley’s music to soundtrack your video and, if you don’t have permission, you’ll get a copyright claim.
What are YouTube copyright claims?
If you use copyrighted music or video without permission in your content, YouTube’s Content ID system will automatically flag your video and send you a Content ID claim.
There are a few things that might happen if you get a Content ID claim and it all depends on the copyright owner. They might allow you to use their content in exchange for running ads on your video. Or the other extreme is that they could ask YouTube to take down your video.
It goes without saying that you want to avoid having your videos taken down from YouTube! The last thing you want is to receive a copyright strike or demonetization because you’ve used the wrong track, which is why finding copyright-free music is so important.
What is copyright-free music?
In a nutshell, copyright-free music is music that is not protected by copyright. But the term is more widely used in the creator space to describe tracks that can be used without the threat of copyright issues on YouTube.
You can check out our ultimate guide to find out more about copyright-free music, royalty-free music and music licensing.
2023's best free music websites for YouTube
Finding free music has been a thorn in the side of creators since the early days of YouTube. There are loads of different music libraries and resources for content creators out there, each one offering free tracks that are safe to use on YouTube.
Some have been around for ages, while other newcomers like Uppbeat are genuinely changing the game. To save you going through them all yourself, we’ve uncovered the seven best free music websites and given you all the reasons why you might (and might not!) use them to soundtrack your YouTube videos.
The free music platform built for creators, by creators. You bet we’re proud to shout about Uppbeat being one of the best places to find free music for your YouTube videos!
Pros: Head over to Uppbeat and you can browse a hand-picked catalog of the best free music from artists all over the world.
Better still, the platform is designed to help you find your perfect sound in seconds thanks to playlists that are based on the kind of content you create and inspired by the vibe of your videos.
Plus, Uppbeat allows you to avoid copyright issues! Anytime you download a track, you’ll receive a unique Uppbeat Credit that you can drop into your video description to guarantee you won’t have any problems, even if you monetize your videos.
So you can earn from your content, and Uppbeat’s artists also earn from their music each time their tracks are downloaded too. It’s all thanks to the platform’s ethical business model that pays artists fairly for free music.
Cons: Signing up for a free Uppbeat account allows you to download a limited number of free tracks every single month, which for many creators will be more than enough to soundtrack their videos, but some creators may want more.
If you upload to your channel more often and want to unlock unlimited downloads, premium tracks, Uppbeat’s exclusive sound effects library, and the ability to whitelist your YouTube channel, you’ll want to sign up to Uppbeat Premium for just $6.99 a month.
Uppbeat is completely geared towards creators. When you download a track, the Uppbeat license covers all creator platforms such as YouTube, Twitch, and TikTok, including sponsored and affiliated content. However, larger productions and paid advertising aren’t covered, so you’ll have to get a commercial license from Uppbeat’s sister site Music Vine.
One of the OG royalty-free music sites! Bensound is the work of French musician Benjamin Tissot, who has spent the last decade creating tracks to share with the creator community through his basic music website.
Pros: Bensound allows you to download some tracks for free and use them in your videos or live streams. All you need to do is find the track you want, follow the licensing terms and credit Bensound in the video description.
Cons: While Bensound has a variety of different genres and moods to choose from, the catalog of less than 500 tracks is significantly smaller than Uppbeat and many of the other websites on this list. If you don’t find what you’re looking for straight away, you may have to look elsewhere!
Chances are you’ve already heard some of Incompetech’s small but mighty catalog! American composer Kevin MacLeod has been helping the creator community for years by making his music available for free through Creative Commons licenses.
Pros: You can download and use some of the most recognisable tracks across platforms like YouTube and TikTok, for no cost whatsoever. Music is listed by genre and all you need to do is credit MacLeod in your video’s description.
Cons: Many of Kevin MacLeod’s best tracks are already available on Uppbeat alongside a full catalog of amazing artists and different genres. You can save some time by using Uppbeat’s super slick navigation to find the perfect sounds for your project, instead of searching across two sites.
YouTube Audio Library
The YouTube Audio Library is YouTube’s very own catalog of free stock music for creators to use in their videos. Unfortunately, it has nothing to do with being able to download your favorite songs from YouTube Music free of charge!
Pros: All you need to do is head to the extensive library of over 150,000 tracks within your YouTube Studio to start picking out free music for your videos. Talk about convenience!
Cons: The flipside of having such a wide variety to choose from is that it can take time to find that perfect song, especially with YouTube Audio Library’s fiddly navigation and no-frills layout. Even if you persevere and find a track to use, you’ve also got to be mindful of whether you need to attribute the artist in your video description too. Use the wrong attribution and you could still get copyright strikes!
Free Music Archive
Free Music Archive was founded in 2009 by independent radio station WFMU to give creators like you access to original music that its artists have made available using Creative Commons licenses.
Pros: As a champion of independent artists, Free Music Archive have a wide range of music styles to choose from. You’ll also need to sift through loads of tracks to find the right one for you though, thanks to Free Music Archive’s simplistic search options.
Cons: Make sure you check what type of Creative Commons license applies to each track you download. Some music might not be available to use in videos or commercial projects!
Public Domain music on YouTube
If you’ve searched for free tracks on YouTube, you’ve more than likely come across channels offering ‘public domain’ music. This is when musicians give up the rights to their intellectual property, meaning you’re free to use their tunes in your videos.
Pros: The great thing about public domain music is that there are absolutely no restrictions to how you can use it! Plus, you can find some pretty iconic works from old masters like Beethoven and Mozart in the public domain, if that’s what you’re looking for.
Cons: If that sounds too good to be true, finding specific recordings that are in the public domain can be tricky. There are often newer versions that are protected by copyright, and some of the more well-known tracks can also be targeted by fraudsters, resulting in bogus copyright claims.
As well as finding copyright-free music on YouTube, popular music platform Soundcloud can also be a great source of free music from starting-out artists and established beatmakers.
Pros: Lots of artists upload their tracks directly to Soundcloud with Creative Commons licenses allowing you to use their music. Simply search for ‘royalty-free music’ on Soundcloud to start exploring.
Cons: Creative Commons licenses can range from giving you complete freedom to use a track right through to very specific restrictions, such as not being able to monetize your videos. It’s also worth paying attention to how each track needs to be credited in your video description so that you avoid getting any copyright strikes.
Lots of artists get started on Soundcloud, but they could later be signed up by a label or register their music with Content ID at some point in the future. If this happens, you could end up receiving copyright claims on any of your videos that use their music.
Millions of creators turn to YouTube to try and find free music for their videos. Search and you’ll see there are several big channels offering copyright-free music that you can download straight from their video descriptions. The most popular of them all is NoCopyrightSounds (NCS) with over 30 million subscribers!
Pros: You can explore their roster of high-quality independent artists by checking out different genre-specific playlists. Simply find the track you want and click the link in the video description to download.
Cons: NCS often only uploads one track per YouTube video, so browsing their music can be time consuming as you have to load each track one-by-one - not to mention having to sit through YouTube ads!
It’s also worth noting that the NCS catalog only focuses on electronic music, so if you’re looking for cinematic soundscapes, acoustic tracks, or basically any other genre, you’ll need to look elsewhere.
You may well have found yourself listening to one of Chillhop Music’s hugely successful YouTube streams. Did you know you can also download their tracks to use in your videos?
Pros: Sign up for Chillhop’s Creator’s Program to connect your YouTube channel and you can download tracks to use in your content by putting a simple credit link in the video description.
Cons: While Chillhop does work with some talented artists, you can probably guess that their tracks are limited to, well, chillhop music. Another thing to factor in is that you can only use their tracks on YouTube and Twitch, meaning that if you want to share your latest video on other channels, such as Instagram, TikTok, or in your podcasts, you’ll need to use a different service.
Start browsing free music downloads now
So there you have it, our top nine free music websites for YouTube and creators. If you're a creator on the hunt for the very best background music for videos that you can download for free, start your search with Uppbeat. It's got the best selection of free music for YouTube videos, with great tracks guaranteed to give your next project a lift.
You can quickly and easily find the right music for your video, plus you’re safe in the knowledge that you won’t get copyright claims on your videos. So save yourself the time and hassle of searching elsewhere by finding your next soundtrack on Uppbeat.