ATF 013: Five Best Platforms For Finding Royalty-Free Music For Your Content In 2021

Last Updated on July 7, 2021 by Fabrizio Van Marciano

Hey everyone, Fabrizio Van Marciano here; welcome to Episode 13 of the Above The Fold podcast show for bloggers and solopreneurs. In this episode, we're going to look at five of the best platforms for finding royalty-free licensed music for your content, such as podcasts, videos, or any type of content that requires music. Let's get to it.

Hey guys, welcome to another episode, and let's dive straight into this one. As you may know, and if you've been a follower of my blog for some time, I manage a YouTube channel as well as this blog and the podcast.

This year, my focus is to create as much quality content as possible on these three main platforms: my blog, my YouTube channel, and my podcast.

With my YouTube channel and my podcast, I like to use licensed, royalty-free music, mainly for my intros and outros. For my vlogs and tutorial videos, I use music in a lot of my b-roll content.

Some of you have kindly asked where I source my music from, so I'm happy to share that with you in this week's show. Not only that, but I'll also dive into four other popular platforms that you can check asides from the one I'm using.

Why source music for your content?

Music can greatly complement both video and audio content. I think music can help to build emotion with your audience. You'll see plenty of successful podcasters and vloggers use various music in their content, and rightly so.

One thing though: You should consider the type of content you like to create before deciding on the type of music you would like to use.

For example, if you have a podcast or a vlog that's all about managing stress and sharing relaxation advice, you would not want to use heavy metal music in your shows or videos, right?

There's nothing wrong with heavy metal music, but for the most part, this genre of music would not help you create the right ambiance or build the kind of emotion and response you would be looking for from your audience.

So, thankfully, there's a variety of music in all styles and genres available from the services we're going to talk about in this episode. This means regardless of the kind of content you like to create, you can always find something to set the right mood.

So, what I'm going to do is share five platforms, as I said. However, I've only used two of these platforms myself. I've used SoundStripe and also Artlist.io. Let's take a look.

#1. SoundStripe (From $149 per year)

royalty-free music and music licensing platforms to check out
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Okay, so I want to start with the one I'm currently using mostly, SoundStripe.

SoundStripe was founded in 2017 in Nashville, TN. The company offers unlimited, royalty-free music for all kinds of creators, from podcasters, YouTubers to commercial film-makers.

SoundStripe has a growing, comprehensive library of music, with over 200 new songs added to their database every month. Their archives consist of over 5,000 songs by many award-winning artists.

SoundStripe has issued over 5 million licenses to creators, while the content creators themselves have been paid a total amount of 3.6 million dollars in revenue! Pretty cool stuff, right?

And if you're at all wondering what the actual music is like on SoundStripe? Honestly, it's quite impressive. You'll have to check them out (Affiliate link) for yourself.

Almost all of the songs are of radio and commercial quality. I find it quite a challenge to find one track that I want to use in my latest video or podcast project because I like so many of them. But that's not a bad thing.

I enjoy the most about using SoundStripe; however, I can easily filter through the extensive catalog of songs: I can filter by mood, characteristic, genre, energy, instrument, key, artist, vocals, and BPM, to name a few.

I use SoundStripe, not only because their music library is comprehensive and the website is super-user-friendly, but also because it makes their licensing policy clear and simple to understand.

Recently, SoundsStripe has started offering high-quality video stock footage as part of their paid plans, which is even better news for content creators!

Pricing

Pricing wise, plans start from just $12.50 per month for Music only, paid annually ($149 for the year). You can also choose to pay monthly at $19 per month. For Music and SFX, you're looking at $20.50 per month. For Teams, it's $31.00 per month. SoundStripe is definitely one of the most affordable solutions out there for content creators and my top choice for licensing music.

How to use SoundStripe

I want to quickly talk about the process of using licensed music from SoundStripe because it really is so easy. Once you’re signed up, you can create your profile and whatnot.

And then, once you’ve found the songs that you want to use in your project, you can actually preview the full track of each song. You can also add songs to a playlist and favorites. But once you’ve found a track you simply click on the license button and you get a pop-up with some simple options.

You can then enter the name of your project; for example, I usually enter the podcast or video title, select the type of content you need the license for, and generate a license. It’s that easy.

You have to generate a license for each project, so each license is for single use only.

#2. Artlist.io (From $199 per year)

artlist io
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Artlist is another popular platform for finding high-quality, licensed music for your video projects and podcasts. I started using Artlist for a short while, actually. It was more like a trial.

When it came to deciding between Artlist.io and SoundStripe, I decided to go with SoundStripe because they offered a 'pay monthly' option at the time. And they still do today. I think sometimes it's nice to have either option, to pay annually or monthly.

Regardless, Artlist.io claims they offer the best licenses in the business; at least that's what it says on their website.

Much like SoundStripe, Artlist .io offers Music and SFX. The selection of music is slightly more extensive than SoundStripe's library, I would say, and I actually prefer the UI of the Artlist website.

You can search and sort music by mood, video theme, genre, and instrument.

Artlist.io gives you music licenses to use in YouTube monetized videos and commercial video projects, as well as your vlogs, tutorials, etc.

If you're a music producer, you can also signup as a creator and tap into a whole new revenue stream.

Pricing

Pricing wise, plans start from just $16.60 per month for unlimited Music only, paid annually @ $199. There is no pay monthly option. For Music and SFX, you're looking at $25.00 per month. There is a download limit of 40 songs and 100 SFX per day, however.

#3. PremiumBeat by ShutterStock

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Another website to compete with Artlist and SoundStripe is PremiumBeat, brought to you by the folks over at Shutterstock!

Searching for music on PremiumBeat is a little bit more complex and takes a bit of effort, I think. You can search songs by genre, vocals, mood, BPM, duration, artists, or instruments.

The quality of the music found on PremiumBeat, in my opinion, is OK. I was particularly interested in browsing the vocals category but struggled to find a track with real lyrical words. Maybe I wasn't looking hard enough.

Pricing

The licensing structure of PremiumBeat baffles me slightly. And, it's probably not the most affordable service to use either.

You can buy a single track at a standard or premium price, ranging from $49 to $199 per track. Or subscribe for $64.95 per month for just five standard license tracks download per month. Pretty steep if you ask me.

On top of that, if you signup for the monthly plan, you're committed and charged for a minimum of three months. So that's $192 for 15 standard license songs.

#4. Bensound

Bensound 2021
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Not sure if you've come across this one before, but Bensound has been around for almost a decade and was founded by French musician Benjamin Tissot. The site is a great place to find semi-decent licensed music, mostly created by Ben himself. But a few other artists as well.

The categories include - Acoustic, folk, cinematic, corporate, pop, electronica, urban, jazz, rock, and more.

Bensound has some great-sounding songs, though certainly not as extensive as the first two I mentioned at the start of this podcast. The quality is decent enough, but if you're looking for radio or commercial quality songs for your videos, you probably won't find it on Bensound. Again, that's not me saying the songs are bad; they're kind of OK.

Pricing

The licensing structure is pretty simple. You can either use the songs for free with attribution. You can also take out the standard and extended licenses if you need music for other uses. You can also take out a Standard Subscription for 139 Euros per year or an extended subscription for 390 Euros. Learn more here.

#5. Epidemic Sound

Last, on our list, we get to EpidemicSound, which you may have come across already. EpidemicSound is one of the largest databases on the web for Royalty-Free music with over 30K tracks and 60K sound effects.

Epidemic Sound prides itself on offering one of the simplest solutions for licensing music. Like SoundStripe and Artlist, the library of music is of radio-quality, and there's something for all types of content creators.

You can search for music by browsing the categories: Mood, genre, vocals, length, newest, popular, or BPM. Then you have a lot of sub-categories.

Pricing

OK, so the licensing structure for EpdemicSound is also a little complex.

First of all, you get a 30-day free trial, and then there are three plans to choose from. Personal, Commercial, and Enterprise.

Of course, if you're a blogger, vlogger, podcaster, YouTuber, Freelance videographer, the personal or commercial plan would make a lot of sense.

The Personal Plan starts from £10 per month (£96 per year). The Commercial Plan starts from £39 per month (£390 per year).

It's a wrap!

So, we've come to the end of another episode of the podcast, guys, and I hope you've found some value in this one. If you're planning on adding more videos or podcasts to your content strategy in 2021, do check out some of these platforms for yourself and try to figure out which is best for your needs, whether that's SoundStripe or something else not even mentioned in this episode. Each music licensing platform offers something different.

One last thing I want to say is to spend some time reading through the licensing policy carefully. It's not always clear at the best of times, but just make sure you understand what you can and can't do. And if you need help with licensing, this video on YouTube is a great guide.

Podcast tools used

Hardware

  1. 13" Macbook Pro (Affiliate link)
  2. Focusrite 2i2 Audio Interface (Affiliate link)
  3. Rode NT-1 Microphone (Affiliate link)
  4. Neewer Mic Suspension Arm (Affiliate link)
  5. Neewer NW-3000 Monitoring Headphones (Affiliate link)

Software / Tools / Resources

  1. Garageband (Tutorial for recording and editing podcasts)
  2. Auphonic (Audio leveling)
  3. Fusebox (Affiliate link - Podcast Player)
  4. Libsyn (Podcast hosting)
  5. Podcast Artwork
  6. SoundStripe (Affiliate link - Podcast Music)

Disclaimer: I'm not a lawyer and do not claim to be an expert in music licensing. This post should be used as a general comparison guide to help you decide which music licensing site to explore and use for your individual needs.

Affiliate Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links to services that I use and recommend. This means if you click on one of these links and make a purchase of a service, I will be paid a small commission, at no additional cost to you. Thanks for your support.

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