Video content can be a useful marketing tool for ecommerce stores. In its most recent marketing report, Hubspot found that 88% of marketers say videos generate a very positive ROI. Perhaps that’s because 55% of consumers say videos help them make purchasing decisions. And using the right music in your videos can be incredibly effective.
That’s because music plays an important role in consumer behavior. It can help capture customers’ attention, control brand perception, and create emotional connections. These functions can be helpful to online merchants looking to encourage a positive brand association and increase conversions. That’s why online merchants creating videos for their site may want to consider how to incorporate music. However, copyright can be an issue with music, and the last thing you want is to have your video flagged for infringement. Fortunately, you can easily source free music for your videos from websites that offer royalty-free or copyright-free music.
To help you understand the need for videos and music on your ecommerce store, this guide will discuss some of the legal issues around using music and highlight the best websites for free music.
What you need to know about music licensing
There is plenty of free stock music available online. However, these websites for “free” music use different types of music licenses, and it's important to understand the distinction between them. This will help you keep your costs down and avoid copyright infringement.
Music within the public domain is not protected by copyright. This includes music for which the copyright has expired. With copyright-free music, there’s no need to pay the artist or copyright owner.
This license category allows merchants to purchase copyrighted music by making a one-time payment. The cost of royalty-free music can differ significantly, but it’s usually affordable.
Some free music sites use Creative Commons licenses, which are a type of public copyright license. Songs under Creative Commons licenses are copyrighted but are available for free distribution. However, users usually have to credit the original artist and, depending on the exact license type, the permitted use of music under a creative commons license may be limited.
The best websites for free music
Free background music is widely available online but to ensure you're using quality tracks for your videos, you need to know where to look. The free music sites below are widely acknowledged to have some of the best music libraries for creators.
YouTube Audio Library
YouTube’s Audio Library has become popular for sourcing free music for videos, offering over 150,000 audio tracks under public domain and Creative Commons licenses. The highly functional search tool lets users look for music by title, artist, keyword, genre, mood, and attribution, making it easy to find precisely the free stock music you need.
Free Music Archive
With an extensive library under Creative Commons and public domain licenses, Free Music Archive (FMA) is one of the best websites for free music. Many tracks here are original compositions by independent artists, so you can easily find unique stock music. The site also incorporates Tribe of Noise PRO, a subsidiary site for royalty-free music.
For merchants looking to use electronica as free background music for their videos, ccTrax should be a go-to. The site offers an array of contemporary music under Creative Commons licenses. Alongside an extensive electronica library, you'll find other modern genres like jazz, rock, and techno.
The creation of American composer Kevin MacLeod, IncompeTech is another site full of free stock music. There are thousands of tunes and sound effects to choose from, all under Creative Commons licenses. The user-friendly search function lets you find what you need within specific parameters including genre, track length, and mood.
Popular with aspiring and underground artists the world over, SoundCloud is a great source of free background music that actually sounds like songs. It also offers a variety of different styles and genres with influences from across the globe. Almost all tracks here are shared with Creative Commons licenses—check which specific type applies to your chosen tune—so they’re all free to use.
Bensound got its name from its original owner, composer Benjamin Tissot, and at one point you couldn’t find work by any other artists on the platform. Now, though, there are thousands of songs by a variety of musicians, so you’ll have plenty of choices. All music is licensed under Creative Commons—in this case, you’ll need to cite the source and can’t alter the track in any way—though you can pay to upgrade your license for more extensive commercial use.
Another composer-owned platform for free stock music, AudioNautix is the work of Jason Shaw. Creative Commons licenses mean that you can access the site’s library, use detailed search parameters to find the songs you need, then use them in your videos without having to pay. Proper attribution to the artist is still required, though.
Technically, Luxembourg-based Jamendo has two platforms, but you’ll be interested in its Music site for free music for your videos. Although it’s primarily a streaming platform, all songs are shared under Creative Commons licenses, which means that with attribution, you can use them for your projects. You can even search by very specific genres and playlists like “#FilmScore” and“Cinematic Landscapes.” If you have the budget, try the Jamendo Licensing site, which offers royalty-free music for commercial use.
Frequently asked questions about using free music for videos
Should I use free stock music or pay for a license?
This depends on how much budget you have. New merchants may want to use free music to keep costs down. But retailers with a budget can access a wider choice—and better-quality tracks—by paying for royalty-free music.
Can I use famous songs as free background music?
This depends on when the song was made. Usually, using recognizable songs will require getting permission from the artist or copyright owner(s) and the payment of royalties. The exception to this is music for which the copyright has lapsed, which usually occurs 50 to 70 years after the artist's death. As such, you can use most classical music or music published before the 1960s as free music for videos. Another option could be to find tracks that are similar to famous songs on websites for free music.
What are my options for royalty-free music
If you have the budget, you can pay for licensing fees to access royalty-free music. This allows you to access a much wider range of music, and gives you better options for commercial use and remixing. Popular royalty-free music platforms include AudioJungle, Epidemic Sounds, AudioBlocks, Beatpick, and PremiumBeat.
What types of copyright licenses are there?
Licenses for stock music fall into three main categories. Anyone can use public domain music for any purpose. Royalty-free music requires a one-time payment for unlimited use of a song. Music under a Creative Commons license is free to use as long as the original artist is credited, though other restrictions might apply to certain types of Creative Commons licenses.
Use free stock music to create videos that convert
Whether you choose to use free background music or not, Shopify makes it easy to create and use exciting video content on your online store. Merchants can use the user-friendly Video Maker to create captivating videos or visit the app store to access numerous mobile apps for video editing. To help drive conversions, Shopify also allows users to add product videos to their online store. Merchants with Basic Shopify accounts can upload up to 250 videos, while Advanced Shopify accounts can have up to 5,000. Whichever way you choose to use music in your store, you’ll be using a tried-and-tested marketing and conversion tool.
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