Today’s indie filmmakers and video production agencies are spoiled for choice, thanks to the Internet and its vast and ever-growing catalogue of digital media. The trouble is, more choices means more time spent researching your options – and less time spent creating great productions.
So don’t overthink it: If you’re going for that big cinematic sound, these five music licensing sites are your best bet.
Epidemic Sound is a royalty-free library of 90,000+ sound effects and 35,000+ music tracks for filmmakers, influencers, and streamers.
Their catalogue has a lot of useful features for filtering tracks: You can sort by genre, length, tempo, mood, and more. The selection of cinematic tracks runs the gamut from fantasy and epic to horror and true crime.
Epidemic Sound offers both a Personal and a Commercial plan, which cost £7 and £19 per year respectively. Both plans give you full access to the library, with unlimited downloads. (The Personal plan is limited to social media and podcast use.) Enterprise plans are also available for publishers and broadcasters.
When you sign up with the site, you can connect your social media accounts to clear them for usage of Epidemic Sound’s music. If you promote your films via social media, this is a convenient way to license large amounts of music and SFX without the hassle of crediting individual creators. Epidemic Sound also gives you the option of purchasing individual tracks. They offer a 30-day free trial.
Epidemic Sound is also worth checking out for established and emerging film composers and music producers who want to make a living with their music.
Artlist is a royalty-free music licensing site dedicated to indie filmmakers and content creators. Subscribers to Artlist enjoy full access to the site’s database of video footage, SFX, and music, including a nice selection of cinematic tracks. You can filter your search by mood, genre, instrument, and the theme of your video production.
A Personal subscription to Artlist costs $9.99 USD per month billed yearly and can be used for social media (one channel per platform) and podcasts.
The Unlimited plan, which covers commercial use, costs $16.60 per month billed yearly. With this plan, you can still use your downloaded assets even after your subscription expires. A customized pricing plan is also available for larger organizations. Artlist currently offers a free trial.
Musicbed is a music licensing site with a collection of label-quality film scores and tracks. Their catalogue comes with 100+ filters attached, making it simple to find the perfect fit for your production. For instance, do you need a Hans Zimmer-esque track that builds to an epic climax? Say no more! Simply click on “Has Build,” and throw in some percussion and vocals while you’re at it. Or browse the curated playlists to get inspiration for a variety of genres and moods, including heroic, uplifting, acoustic, haunting, and ambient music.
Musicbed offers subscription-based pricing as well as per-project licenses. Business, Individual, and Enterprise plans are available (billed annually). The team will help you choose a suitable plan based on your project’s licensing needs. To get started, you can either browse their cinematic section or request free help finding the perfect track.
Soundstripe offers over 45,000 studio-grade SFX and a wide selection of royalty-free music (available for download or streaming) by Grammy award-winning artists. Additionally, they license stock video footage from top filmmakers.
The Creator plan costs $9.99 per month billed annually and gives you full access to all the music and SFX on the site. It covers you for web, social media, and podcasts.
The Pro plan is $19.99 billed annually and grants you unlimited commercial use. It also packs some additional perks, including song stems.
Finally, Pro Plus gives you access to the catalogue of 100,000+ videos (in addition to the music and SFX library) as well as some team collaboration features. It costs $33.99 per month billed yearly.
To get started with Soundstripe, browse the library or sign up for a free trial.
Storyblocks is a royalty-free stock media site with a library of over 1 million assets, including music and sound FX, video footage, and photos. Their audio library includes thousands of cinematic tracks that you can browse by popular collection (e.g., “movie trailer music,” “Santa’s workshop music”) or mood (e.g., dark, epic, whimsical, romance, intense).
The site operates on a subscription model instead of pay-per-asset. The Unlimited plan costs £29.08 per month billed yearly and gives you full library access, unlimited downloads, and unlimited distribution for commercial and personal projects. The Starter plan, which costs £15 per month billed annually, gives you five monthly downloads. Enterprise plans are also available.
You can use the content you download from Storyblocks forever, even if your subscription is no longer active.
Finding the perfect cinematic track amongst thousands can be an overwhelming task. Here are some tips for finding a good match:
When in doubt, try reaching out to the website’s support team, and you might just find they’ll be quite happy to suggest some music for you, for free. All the best with your search!
Chloe Brittain blogs at CreateSail , an e-learning resource site for film composers and other creative people. She is currently studying Irish flute and guitar online.
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