Royalty Free Music and Images

On Using Music in Video Podcasts

It’s important that the music you choose to use in your video productions matches the mood of your project. Some of the K12 Online sessions had funeral dirge music during moments of inspiration and it kind of killed the mood for me.

If you want good music you have to move beyond the built in music on your computer. It used to be extremely hard to find music you had permission to use but no more. It does take a little searching to find the perfect piece but plenty of royalty free music is now available to teachers and students.

Do be sure to credit the artists of every piece you use

Royalty Free Music Sites

Kevin Macleod
This guy has great movie music that’s easily searchable by mood and style. I don’t know how he makes a living cuz he’s giving good stuff away for free.

CC Hits Ning
Quite a few good tunes though the site is not easy to search and a little buggy when it comes to previewing songs

Podsafe Audio
good stuff, great variety

Moby Gratis
Recording artist, Moby, makes some of his discarded tunes available free to filmmakers
If you listen to the tracks, they’re mostly ambient, ephemeral pieces though I did find one I liked for my Film School for Video Podcasters project.

royalty free stuff, though I sometimes suspect some of the “public domain” material really isn’t

Jonathan Roberts
interesting stuff that I didn’t use for my last project but might use in the future

Jimmy G
I didn’t find anything that I used from here but it’s another option. Requires registration.
This site contains music and video that is supposedly in the public domain…I have found a few examples on the web site that are not in the public domain and so I’m a little bit hesitant about using some of the material in video projects.  Nevertheless, this is a great web site with tons of material.

I haven’t used this site yet, navigation is not entirely intuitive

Sound Effects/Foley

Sound Effects
great site for sound effects


Absolute Sound Effects Archive

Free Sound Project

Royalty Free Images
a free product of Tech4Learning—these are images donated for classroom use
I always start here in the classroom because there are no inappropriate images and the site is simple enough so that I have taught first graders to navigate it.

Free Images Donated by Photographers
This is my second destination when I can’t find what I’m looking for on pics4learning. They are not necessarily for educational use but are available free and taken by real photographers who are willing to share their images.

Flickr Creative Commons Images
has images taken by photographers of different abilities (amateur and professional) which you can use according to their Creative Commons license.

free images for web pages

iStock Photo – only $1 a picture
If you still can’t find what you want or are going to use your images in commercial projects, why not pay $1 per photo and use the image legally? These site has pictures of almost anything you would want.

Use the challenge of respecting copyrights as a teachable moment for students. How can we ask students not to illegally download music if we steal images?

Free Clip Art

Related Posts:

Fair Use Resources

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26 Responses to “Royalty Free Music and Images”

  1. Kevin Says:

    Thanks for this great list. It’s very helpful.

  2. Michael Russo Says:

    I second the vote for Kevin Macleod’s site, – I always try there first for audio, and have not been disappointed yet. Thanks putting this list together.

  3. Bill Genereux Says:

    Thanks for this list. I wasn’t familiar with all of the sites you mention.

    I have had good luck with as a source for good music. I even directly heard back from a member of “Drop Trio” one of the recording artists credited in a video my class made. (

    Everything there is royalty free for educational use, and you can purchase albums for personal use with a name-your-own-price format. Most of the proceeds go directly to the artist, instead of to promotion and distribution people.

  4. Jimmy G Says:

    Wow! Thank you so much for listing me in your awesome list of music site.

    I REALLY appreciate it so much!!!!!!!



  5. Dave Says:

    Maybe I’m a stick in the mud, but I think you need to emphasize more strongly that teachers (and everyone) need to know that for every single piece of media they use, they must make sure that whoever owns the rights for that media allows the teacher to use it, and under what circumstances. For example, teachers should find the license information on each of these sites before downloading and using the media.

    Yes, this is obvious. Yes, it should be common knowledge.

    However, nearly every educator I’ve talked to has assumed they are exempt from the rules of everyone else and that Fair Use gives educators the rights to use and abuse whatever media they want to. The few who realize that they can’t just use everything think that anything labeled “Royalty-Free” can be used and abused.

    People, including teachers, who use CC-BY licensed work without giving attribution are definitely discouraging more content creators from releasing their work under CC and similar licenses.

  6. Brandon Says:

    If a teacher purchases music from a royalty free music site, they just have to purchase the personal use license, this will normally allow them to use the track in educational settings. If the track is being use for commercial purposes, then the person will have to buy the more expensive commercial license.


  7. Stanman Says:

    Right Dave and Brandon, in fact “royalty free” doesn’t mean FREE at all .. in fact, it means that once a licensee pays for the rights to a piece of audio, music or sound effect, they are able to use the track in productions without any further royalty free payments. A good example of a royalty free site is which has tons of “royalty free music” that you still have to pay money to license.

    Using royalty free tracks in a production without paying for the license (either personal or commercial) is illegal the copyright holder can sue. On the other hand, there are free sites in the traditional sense like for example that just give away free sfx and music loops … their terms, however, state that the samples are free for personal use, not commercial … always read the fine print … and always think logically, why would musicians and sound designers simply give away their hard work for free? are they really doing that? in most cases, they aren’t

  8. Mathew Says:

    @Stanman and others

    Everything you say is true. However, in the interest of not scaring teachers, the sites I mentioned (with the exception of iStock photo) are indeed free as long as you attribute the work to the author.

  9. Mark Says:

    Yes Mathew is correct, his list is a good one and the sites he has mentioned all say they are making their music and sound effects available for use as if you had purchased a license. They usually only want attribution.

    Here is another page with a bunch of free royalty free music loops that specifically says you can use them in commercial or personal projects, no attribution required, all teachers are welcome, a link back to the page is appreciated but also not required

    This blog continuously post free royalty free music and sound effects plus link to other sites that post free royalty free music

    And lots of free royalty free sound effects here:

    Download and enjoy, worry free!


  10. Jimmy G Says:

    Stanman: “Royalty Free” does not mean “free”, you’re right. Part of your discussion also assumes all music is released by all artists are released under a “Copyright” license and not some of the alternatives out there.

    I try to market my site as a “Free Royalty-free” download site with the music being released under a “Creative Commons” license so there is very little restriction in the usage of the music.

    It’s still important to understand how you can use the music in projects, but there is a big difference between the two mechanisms in releasing music.

    I release music on my site:
    under a CC license giving people access to the highest quality music because I’ve gained a lot of benefit through the years with all the work being done in the open-source world. The CC license allows me the ability to ‘give back’ to a community that has given a lot to me.

    Kevin MacLeod:
    also releases his music under a CC license, effectively allowing very broad usage without the need for expensive payments and the attached baggage of Copyright licensing.

  11. The Best Places To Get Royalty-Free Music & Sound Effects | Larry Ferlazzo's Websites of the Day... Says:

    […] music available, and a great resource to identify a bunch of them is Mathew Needleman’s Royalty Free Music And Images […]

  12. Creating Lifelong Learners » Blog Archive » Royalty Free Images Part 2 Says:

    […] Here’s a followup to my earlier list of royalty free images. […]

  13. Geraldine Geron Says:

    Tremendous list! I spent some time playing around with Soungle! Catchy, and of course, pretty useful! Thanks a lot!

  14. Creating Lifelong Learners » Blog Archive » iMovie ‘09: Curriculum in Action Says:

    […] Royalty Free Sound and Images […]

  15. Creating Lifelong Learners » Blog Archive » Copyright for Teachers: Persistent Myths Says:

    […] can legally use the music if you are somehow making a comment on the song.  Its far better to use royalty free music in your podcast […]

  16. Heidi Howes Says:

    Another good resource for Royalty free, creative commons music is at All you have to do is link back and credit to the site. –Heidi

  17. Fred Says:

    Jamendo has the best music.

    For licensing, they have an excellent search engine :

  18. Steal This Preso (K12Online09) Now Live! « Creating Lifelong Learners Says:

    […] Royalty Free Images, Movies, and Music Part I […]

  19. Free PSN Codes Says:

    Thanks for this useful post! This blog is very useful to me and I usually browse around without commenting but wanted to say thanks!

  20. Bill@Stock Music Says:

    In case you want Free Royalty free music and i am talking absolut free and with free license, you can visit

    It’s a royalty free music library and every day the are giving a totaly free track coming with royalty free license for free.

  21. Royalty Free Music | Says:

    Thank you for the great links.
    so much valuable post.
    keep going on.

  22. Susan Says:


    I would like to buy your music for my project.
    I have some questions and hope you can help me answer them as I am not sure if your terms meet my requirements.

    1) Can I use your music for my stores? I have 20 locations.
    2) I may later need to make a DVD with video and this will be for resale. How many copies can I make and is it unlimited?
    3) Do I have to pay any other fees?
    4) I see some places require cue sheets. So do I need them and what are they?
    5) What is pr organization and does it affect me with your music?
    6) What can I not do with your music? So to be sure I don’t break any rules?
    7) Is your music exclusive to your site only and is there a possibility to buyout completely a particular track so it is not sold anymore and just for me?

    Please get back to me fast as I need to place an order fast.
    Sorry I am just very confuse and need some clarification.

    Thank you.

  23. Mathew Says:

    I don’t sell any music, this is a list of royalty free music sites. Please contact the owner of the sites directly.

  24. Jewelbeat Royalty Free Music Says: has a tonne of royalty free music tracks and sound effects. Over 1000 free tracks too.

  25. Manuel Says:


    You listed here very nice Royalty free music websites
    I wan to add
    Is a website that offer piano music tracks for media projects

    I hope you find the site useful !


  26. Digital Storytelling | Techie Teachers' Tricks Says:

    […] Matthew Needleman shares on his blog a list of great sites you can use to get free music Creative Commons Audio Free Loops […]

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