Creative Commons is a system that allows people who develop creative works to make them available to the public for free so that other people can, in turn, use them to make their own creative works.
Remember, you’re looking for audio tracks that have been cleared for commercial use in derivative works. Your best bet is to choose music and audio with either an attribution-only or a Creative Commons Zero (CC0) License.
Unless the audio is licensed as CC0, you need to provide attribution. That means you need a credits section in your video, or you need to include credit information in the text that accompanies your video on the video-sharing network (like YouTube) or social network (for example, in the text of your Facebook post). If you don’t want to provide credit, stick to CC0-licensed tracks.
Here are some sites where you can start your search for CC-licensed free music for videos. Each site contains a mixture of licenses, so check each track before using it in your video.
This site features original samples and a capella vocal tracks from musicians around the world, with a good sampling of free tracks for commercial use.
2. Free Music Archive
A royalty-free music collection curated by the radio station WFMU, the Free Music Archive allows you to search by genre or by charts reflecting the site’s most popular music for the last week, month, or all time.
Incompetech offers thousands of musical sound effects and longer pieces of music by composer Kevin MacLeod, searchable by genre, feel, tempo, or length, or browsable in collections based on genre and mood.
4. Free Sound
Free Sound includes a large collection of sound effects, including some licensed under CC0.
What about the public domain?
While Creative Commons gives you the broadest base of resources to search, it is not the only answer when looking for royalty-free music and audio tracks for your social media video.
Another option is the public domain. In most cases, audio work moves into the public domain a certain number of years after the copyright holder dies. Once the work moves into the public domain, it is essentially public property and you can use it without attribution in your videos. Artists can also donate their work to the public domain.
The rules relating to the public domain vary by country, so make sure you understand the laws that apply to you and your business before you decide to use public domain music. When you’re ready, try searching these sites to see if you can find what you’re looking for. Keep in mind that these sites are not as regulated as the Creative Commons, so you’ll be taking them at their word that the music they provide is truly in the public domain. Performing your own due diligence is a wise idea when using these sites.
This collection includes collected public domain music as well as more music and sounds from Kevin MacLeod, the composer behind Incompetech. The difference in MacLeod’s work here is that he has donated his work on this site to the public domain, so you don’t have to credit him in your video.
Musopen is a collection of public domain music you can search by composer, performer, instrument, style, or century.
Other sources of royalty-free music and sound effects for your social video
Still, need more free music and sound effects? Here you go.
7. The YouTube Audio Library
The YouTube Audio Library provides free music for videos you create. Some of the music is licensed under Creative Commons and requires attribution, but much of it does not. Click on the particular audio track you’re interested in to get the full details.
The YouTube Audio Library also provides a huge database of free sound effects to use in your videos, from typing sounds to growling monsters.
8. Partners in Rhyme
Partners in Rhyme offers a wide collection of royalty-free music and sound effects available for commercial use, including a printable license.