When creating your own films or simply making videos for YouTube or a Facebook posting, you will certainly need to add a little background music. Beware the music you choose- YouTube and Facebook can shut down your video for copyright infringement.
This happened to me when I created a memorial video that was posted on Facebook. Somehow they ‘knew’ that the music I was using was copyrighted. They did not allow the post to stay up. I worked around the problem by finding royalty free music on the web. I was able to use this music by simply adding a credit at the end of the video. Like everything else, it was a learning curve to find this ‘public domain’ music and then search through the tons of crap out there that is available.
It’s tricky to find music that you don’t have to pay royalties to use. A lot of sites offer that kind of music, the problem is they offer quantity over quality. Most of the sites are hard to navigate and the music is cheesy. Worst of all, some charge a fee up front to download their songs. You can find free quality music out there but as each film project is unique, so is the music. Finding music that matches your vision can be time-consuming.
Royalty free music can eliminate a lot of hassle when creating your videos. You may not be pinged immediately, but chances are, if you are using copyrighted material, someone is going to find out and insist that you ‘cease and desist’. For the average Joe out there, a Creative Commons license is perfect for obtaining music without paying a licensing fee.
For corporations and businesses that want the protection of licensing, a standard license, available for a small fee like $25, allows you to use a song for things like- telephone hold music, radio advertisements or corporate intros where you either don’t want to or can’t give the proper credit in writing. Why hire someone to write the music or pay a royalty if your budget won’t allow it?
I highly recommend looking for a website that is set up in several categories to help you navigate to the music you want quickly. Choose the genre of music such as hard rock or country or orchestral. From there It’s a lot easier to then sample and download songs or just read through the brief description below each song to get a quick ‘feel’ for what might work for you. Some sites even provide a photo for a ‘visual representation’ of each song.
Another nice feature to look for is songs that have a vocal and non-vocal version. One of the advantages to having both versions of a song is you can combine them throughout your film and use them as a recurring theme without repeating the exact same thing over and over and sounding monotonous.
For those who wish to have a completely original soundtrack, many sites offer music services such as score writing and soundtrack editing to make your movie one-of-a-kind.
An important thing to remember when searching for your music- be specific. “royalty free alternative music” will yield better results than just “royalty free music”.