If you’re reading this, you most likely are a video content creator. Maybe you work on individual video projects, need to build a portfolio, or already work with big commercial clients – ad agencies or movie producers. Needless to say, your line of work can’t be compared to that of a music composer but let’s try to hop into musicians’ shoes for a moment, and see what “free music” means to them today.
You’re probably already aware of the artists’ struggle to get fair compensations at music streaming platforms – it’s been a never-ending debate for the past several years. This serious situation is threatening to destroy the music industry: the compensation rates are so low that artists need to get hundreds of thousands of streams to earn a bare minimum. This is simply unrealistic for the majority of smaller-scale artists, and so they’re being forced to find other ways to make a living.
Without a doubt, the most reliable way for artists to make money these days is through concerts and touring. But, as it happens, the global pandemic has taken a toll on that too. With no large shows allowed, musicians are facing a serious threat to their survival! Turns out, 85 % of musicians can’t pay the bills without live performances.
This is where we address the ‘free music’ topic. Can you get free music online? Yes. Is it okay to use it? Sure, but wouldn’t it feel good knowing that by paying just a small fee for a music track you can help out a fellow musician and stop contributing to an existing crisis in the music ecosystem? Just something worth thinking about!
The obvious way to find free music is by googling “free music download”, and here you have many free music sources at your fingertips. Sounds so easy, doesn’t it? And sure, some websites seem reliable enough for downloading a track without viruses, but successfully downloading a track doesn’t automatically mean that you can use it as you please.
One can never own another person’s music unless they’re the artist’s publisher or a label. That means that you have no right to use the downloaded music outside your computers where you saved it.
If you intend to download a free track and use it in your projects without permission, you’re facing a copyright infringement that could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Free music doesn’t mean it’s copyright-free!
In some cases, you can use music tracks for free under the condition that you’ll credit the artist who made them and attribute their authorship to your work. But even then, this might not be enough and might cause you trouble when uploading your project to YouTube. Most of the time, however, you’ll still receive a copyright claim because the artist or the music distributor have registered the music with Content ID. (A license from TuneReel will help to release that claim for you.)
We’ve already established earlier why it’s important for creators to show solidarity with struggling musicians and offer them compensation for their hard work, but the free music question doesn’t end up just there.
Free things indeed are tempting, but when it comes to free music, there are just too many risks and intricacies involved.
As we’ve learned, one is always exposed to copyright infringement risks. This can be avoided by purchasing a music license tailored to a particular video project. You can find reliable various music licensing services that offer attractive subscription fees, and, most importantly, legal music tracks!
Lastly, the deciding argument for music licensing services is that most music libraries apply high-quality standards for the tracks that wind up in their catalogs. Opting for free music downloads is always a gamble: there’s a big chance that you’ll end up getting a poor-quality music track that might do more harm than good for the general quality of your video production.