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Hi, I'm Dan-O. I am a singer songwriter and I also like making instrumental music which you can use royalty free. Click here for info on licensing my music and songs for your video, photo slideshow, film, app or other media. For questions about my music see the FAQ.

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Guide to Finding Legal Royalty Free MP3 Music for YouTube Video Backgrounds

If you have checked out all of my music, and can’t find what you need, here are a few ways to find tracks from indie musicians that may be able to be used under a creative commons license. Or you may be able to get permission from the artist to use the track for free if you can offer them exposure in your video.

Finding free music that you can use on YouTube can be challenging, but it can be done. Free music can be downloaded online from a multitude of areas that you can use in your YouTube video without running the risk of having it removed due to copyright. Always check the terms of the site or send an email directly to the artist to make sure it is legal (you have permission) to use the music:

1. Search MP3 Blogs. MP3 blogs upload music for their readers to download and use. Some popular MP3 blogs are Stereogum, Gorilla vs. Bear, You Ain’t No Picasso, So Much Silence, The Rap Up, Digital Eargasm, and Aquarium Drunkard. It’s free and you can use an aggregator to find which MP3 blogs you want and have the music you want to use.

One such aggregator, The Hype Machine, allows you to search based on artist name or song title. A list of results will appear and you can choose which blog posts best fit your search.

Another aggregator you can use is Elbo.ws. You type in the name of the song or artist in the “Keyword” search box. Find the one that best fits your search and at the top of the list, click on “Tracks.” This link will bring up a lost of the tracks that match your search. You can then click on one to view the blog post and download the song you want.

2. Use Del.icio.us. This social networking site allows you to create a custom search. You can do this if you type in http://del.icio.us/tag/system:filetype:mp3, and this will bring up a list of all the MP3s on the site. You can search for more specific songs by adding “+Artist Name” to the end of the URL link. Click a link to play the track and then right click on it to select “Save Link As” so you can download the file. Many of these are legal promotional MP3s that are links directly to the artists site.

3. Use Bit-Torrent. Bit-Torrent allows users to share files, which will allow you to download free music. Choose a Bit-Torrent client to download and install. Find .torrent files to download the music you want. Once the download is finished, visit The Pirate Bay and click on “Browse Torrents,” then “Audio.” The list will show all the files you can download. To download a song, click on the file and your Bit-Torrent program will download the song. Lots of artists upload legal creative commons music to bit-torrent, I myself distribute through Mininova.

4. Use Peer-to-Peer Networks. Some examples of peer-to-peer networks are LimeWire, Morpheus, SoulSeek. Others include Gnutella and ED2K. Find a peer-to-peer network you want to install and download it. Once it’s installed, you can create a shared files folder to download and share music on the program. You can find many independent unsigned artists who may let you use their music for the exposure.

5. Use royalty free music sites. Certain sites like Jamendo, Opsound, and Dig.ccMixter allow you to download songs from artists for free. There are no royalties and only some companies make you pay for certain tracks. Some of these sites allow artists and musicians to upload music for others to download and listen to. Jamendo is free to join and lets you download songs in MP3 or OGG files. Jamendo also lets you buy a commercial license for the track. Opsound doesn’t even require you to join to download songs.

6. Use MagnaTune. Although this royalty free music archive requires you to register and pay $15 a month for access, you can use this site to upload songs to your videos as long as you give attribution to the original author and to MagnaTune. Although it’s not completely free, you can still upload your videos onto YouTube with no fear of having them taken down or removed because of copyright issues. This will probably be one of the easiest and less risky options for your video uploading needs.

To find more places, just search online “royalty free music for videos” and a list of sites that let you download free music and sites that show you where to find these sites will appear.

You want to make sure that the music you are trying to upload isn’t coming from a commercialized program like iTunes, Rhapsody, etc., because at times YouTube recognizes these and will not post, or will disable the video because of copyright issues.

Although it’s not easy to find royalty free music online that you can use in YouTube videos without running the risk of having them removed for copyright, you can do it (thousands of other people do). By using these methods to download music, you should never run out of options for your videos.

All the best, have fun with your videos and peace always.


Make Youtube Videos with Windows Movie Maker: Clip Editing Tutorial

I found this really nice professional tutorial on using Windows Movie Maker to edit your clips and make Youtube videos. If you want to import audio into your movie check out my royalty free music on my home page for download-able mp3 music files.

You can download Moviemaker from Microsoft here for free and I think it works on any computer with Windows – XP, Vista, 7, etc. The program has some built in effects and transitions you can use in your movies. Even though this is free software it still works well, even for professionals in some cases.

Related Articles

Windows Live Movie Maker, Download, Install and Setup

Downloading and Using Movie Maker with Windows 7

Windows Live Movie Maker Editing

Music for Movies | Best Way to Score Films | Editing Innovations by Ken Burns

Great interview with famous documentary producer Ken Burns on music for movies. He has been creating films for 30 years and has many on PBS.

He talks about how traditionally the process is to “lock the film” before bringing in composers and musicians. Then scoring is a very mathematical process based on precise timing. Very true and extremely different from songwriting.

Ken instead takes a more innovative and organic approach by recording music he finds moving before editing has even started. He has the musicians record hundreds of music beds. Then he edits the film around the music – which I had never heard of.

He mentions having over 200 versions of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” recorded for his baseball documentary!

Ken Burns on Music for Movies

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Ken Burns Documentaries No Longer Brought to You By General Motors

Bank of America Announces Underwriting of Ken Burns’s Baseball Film “The Tenth Inning,” Premiering This September on PBS

Magix Music Maker | Create Royalty Free Songs for Video and Movies

Magix Music Maker is a simple music studio software program you can use to create your own music for your videos. It comes with royalty free loops, a beatmaker, a variety of native instrument samples, mixer and editor.

The below video shows you how to get started making your own beats. It also demonstrates the creation of a basic composition by “painting on” and arranging loops.

You might also want to try using Sony ACID and Soundation, but Magix Music Maker has an “easy mode” that is really good for total beginners new to making their own music.

Magix Music Maker: Royalty Free So You Can Use the Songs for Your Movies

Click here to see the latest Magix Music Maker programs

Here are some other articles about Magix and other music creators that you might be interested in:

The Best Audio Editing Software Programs

MAGIX Announces MAGIX Video Easy HD

3D editing comes to Magix Movie Edit Pro

Mix Superstar – review

How to Make Beats Using Kanye West Style Layering


Great video by BBoySpaz showing us how to make beats using the layering technique used allot by Kanye West.

I’ve been doing this for a while, but his idea of layering an instrument over the vocals with the same melody is new to me. Also, BBoySpaz makes a cool point about mixing your own keyboards with a loop or sample.

You can use any software program to create custom rap and hip hop instrumental beats from scratch with this tip.  So, check out this tutorial and break out the laptop to give layering a try and follow @bboyspaz.

BBoySpaz Video: How to Make Beats Kanye West Style

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