Nothing is worse than watching a video project come together — perfect shots, amazing b-roll — only to stall out at finding appropriate, affordable stock music. Our video editors have all been there, and we know the struggle truly is real. We’ve yelled (and maybe cried a time or two) in frustration at finding the perfect music then discovering the cost is more than our project profit. 

So, we created this cheat sheet for affordable, royalty-free music resources that we’re now sharing with you. You’re welcome.

 PremiumBeat

One of our favorite resources for stock music is PremiumBeat. It has a wide range of genre types, from classical to hip-hop, making it easy to use for almost any video project. We’ve also been really impressed with the quality of the music and have noticed they regularly add new tracks to their online library. 

PremiumBeat is also super affordable, with music licenses costing around $50-200 for any one-off projects. If you create video projects with more regularity, their music subscription is even more affordable, offering five high-quality music tracks per month for just $64.95. 

If you’re looking for music for public performance video projects, such as radio, television or film, you typically have to contact a Performance Rights Organization (PRO) such as ASCAP. PremiumBeat offers a collection of PRO-Free music to help simplify that selection for you with their premium license.

Shutterstock 

Shutterstock is similar to PremiumBeat, with a library of different types of music and genres. If we can’t find what we’re looking for on PremiumBeat, Shutterstock is our next stop. Its database is easy to search, with filters that help video editors narrow down what they’re looking for.

Shutterstock also offers a mood breakdown, allowing you to sort through tracks in a different way than other music websites to find the right music for your video project.  

As far as pricing goes, Shutterstock is equally affordable to PremiumBeat, with affordable licenses and a subscription option for video editors. Their subscription is $16.60 per month, allowing up to 40 high-quality track downloads per day. 

Shutterstock also has stock footage available if you need some extra b-roll.

Musicbed 

Musicbed is a great resource for indie stock music. They focus on a heavily curated list of indie composers, musicians and bands, making their music accessible and affordable for video editors. This option is a little more niche than the others but certainly has its use, depending on what project you might need it for.

Musicbed’s audio is extremely high quality, and they have some fun options like curated playlists. They also offer help finding the right music for your project for free. One of their music specialists will evaluate your project and recommend suitable tracks, allowing you to tap into their vast knowledge of their artists. 

Like the other options mentioned above, Musicbed’s pricing is pretty affordable, offering payment options per track and a subscription service. The pricing depends on how and where the music will be used. You do have to answer several questions before you can find out how much each track will cost, though, which can be a little time-consuming if you’re on a strict budget.

 YouTube

YouTube’s audio library is a pretty well-kept secret but can be an extremely helpful tool for video editors searching for stock music. Its selection isn’t as large or as easily searchable as PremiumBeat or Shutterstock, but all YouTube’s tracks are completely free. 

YouTube’s selection does have different genres and the ability to narrow down the search. You can even search based on song length or by specific instruments. 

One of our favorite features of YouTube is its curated section for sound effects. Again, these are completely free and are perfect for video editors with tight budgets.

Free Music Archive 

An another completely free resource is the Free Music Archive, which offers more royalty-free music for video editors. This free stock music resource is used regularly by artists, curators and radio stations. 

This is probably one of the biggest libraries of free songs available online, with thousands of tracks available by genre and subgenre to help you narrow down your search.  

Again, all of the music at FMA is completely free, but there are some caveats. Most of the music is offered under Creative Commons licenses but some use an FMA license that only allows for personal downloading and listening. Make sure you’re looking at the licensing options closely before you choose a track from FMA for your video project.

TIPS ON PICKING THE RIGHT MUSIC

Music in the background of a video should never be a last thought or a throwaway part of your video project. Music can set the tone, dictate timing and convey emotion more than perhaps any other element. Here are some tips for picking the right music for your next video project.

  1. Understand your message
    What’s the point of your video? What kind of video are you making? If the point is to be entertaining, that type of music will differ from one that’s informative, for example. Of course, you should know all this upfront, but you should keep that main message in mind while you’re searching for music.
  2. Define the mood
    Once you’ve established your desired message, define the mood you want to convey with your video. Do you want the mood to be positive? Aggressive? Thought-provoking? What emotion do you want your viewers to feel? Happy? Uplifted? Angry? Music carries the emotion of the piece, so the mood should be clearly defined before you start searching for tracks.
  3. Consider your audience
    Who’s your audience for this video? What type of music will resonate best with them? What types of genres do they prefer? If you have a decent persona of who your target audience is, you can easily narrow down what tracks will evoke the desired emotions in them.
  4. Choose the music before making the video
    The best video editors know that it’s much easier to adapt a video to fit a song than to adapt a song to fit a video. The rhythm and tone of the music carry the movement of emotions and should be chosen before you even begin to create the video.
  5. Consider the beginning and ending
    The images conveyed in your video and the audio track that accompanies it must be united in such a perfect relationship that they don’t seem uncoordinated. In order to make this marriage seamless, consider the way the music “enters” at the beginning of the video and the way it “comes out” when it ends. The entrance sets the tone for the viewer, while the coming out should leave viewers with a sense of fullness.

REACH OUT WITH QUESTIONS

At Farmore, we’ve been creating quality videos for the better part of a decade now, so we’ve gotten music selection down to a science. If you have any questions or need advice while you’re searching for stock music for your videos — or during any aspect of the video creation process — feel free to reach out or drop us a line.