A free resource for finding legal, podsafe music
Target audience: Cause organizations, nonprofits, NGOs, journalists, general public
Where can you find podsafe music or audio snippets to include in your own work?
(If you’re looking for photos to use in your work, see our Free Photos Directory. For video, see the Free Video Directory.)
Under U.S. law, podcasters may not use copyrighted music in their podcasts or videoblogs (except for music permitted under fair use and except for music licensed by ASCAP, BMI, SESAC (PDF) or other licensing groups).
Here are some places where you can find music or other sounds that are always safe to include in your podcast, Webcast or blog:
Archives and repositories
You can find free music at these archives and repositories.
Cylinder Preservation and Digitization Project is a digital collection of more than 6,000 cylinder recordings from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. These recordings can be freely downloaded or streamed online and are available in mp3 and wav formats. The wav files are unedited transfers of the original cylinders and have not been restored to remove clicks and other surface noise. They are not protected by copyright and can be used for either noncommercial or for-profit use. The mp3 files are restored versions currently licensed for use under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial License. (Department of Special Collections; Donald C. Davidson Library, University of California, Santa Barbara)
Danosongs is a source for original pop, rock, acoustic and techno songs. Danosongs.com creator Dan-O put his own music up as free MP3 music downloads that are legal, safe and virus-free for you to listen to, burn, stream, podcast or use in your personal or commercial multimedia projects, and for business, too. We’ve used Dansongs for several of our projects.
Folktunes.org is an archive of folk tunes covering the blues, country and other styles of music. The website provides tagged browsing of artists, songs, collections and instruments. All material is available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.
Internet Archive is a nonprofit digital library with thousands of videos and audio recordings, many of which are in the public domain or available under Creative Commons licenses. The Audio archive is divided into sub-sections; the largest collections of podsafe music can be found under Open Source Audio, where you’ll find hundreds of songs, from the Grateful Dead to classic recordings. Other collections, including Live Music and 78 RPMs, are available. Video material — including short films, documentaries, video clips and other footage — can be found in the Moving Images archive and the Prelinger Archives. (RSS feed).
Musopen is a community-driven online repository of public domain music. You may sample and remix the music into derivative commercial works so long as you attribute Musopen and do not directly sell the original recordings for profit.
NINJAM AutoSong Archive
NINJAM AutoSong Archive is an archive of collaborative online jam sessions available to stream and download in mp3 format under a Creative Commons license. Derivative works may be created from the lengthy improvisations which makes this a useful source of fresh musical ideas and content. A large m3u playlist and RSS feeds are available.
Open Music Archive
Open Music Archive is a collaborative initiative to source, digitize and distribute out of copyright sound recordings. Recordings in the archive are hosted in the UK and are in the public domain in the UK. However, people based outside of the UK should be cautious about using them as compositions and recordings may be bound to different copyright laws internationally. The archive is open for anyone to use and contribute to.
iBeat offers music samples intended for use in music creation under a Creative Commons license. iBeat has more than 600 wav samples, with more being added every day. iBeat.org is noncommercial and free to use.
Creative Archive Licence Group
Creative Archive Licence Group is a UK initiative, set up by The BBC, the bfi, Channel 4 and the Open University, that allows UK citizens to share and re-use content, under the terms and conditions as set out in the Creative Archive License. The open archives and collections can be found via the "For download" link on the side menu. Materials include clips from programs and still images.
BitTorrent and P2P file sharing
LegalTorrents provides a collection of Creative Commons licensed audio distributed via BitTorrent. A good source of electronic and indie music net label output including full albums and catalog compilations.
Jamendo is a p2p music distribution network that helps artists to promote, publish and be financially rewarded for their works. Artists are distributing thousands of albums under Creative Commons licenses. The public can freely download, listen, copy and redistribute any music from Jamendo in accordance with the licensing agreement chosen by the artists..
Public Domain Torrents
Public Domain Torrents offers free and legal public domain movies (including audio and soundtracks) for download via BitTorrent technology. You can choose from hundreds of classic films, animations and B-movies sorted by category. There are versions available for PDA, IPOD, PSP and some movies can be streamed via Google Video.
Catalogs and collections
Creative Commons Search
Creative Commons-licensed audio and music can be found through Creative Commons Search or the Creative Commons Directory Directories: Featured Audio Sites.
Diesel-U-Music is a competition for unsigned bands playing rock, urban/hip-hop and electronic music. An archive of featured tracks is available under the CC Attribution-NonCommercial license (go to menu U-Get-It > Featured Tracks).
Free Music Project
Freeculture.org’s Free Music Project is a library of freely licensed songs available for sharing and collaboration. Anyone can upload original songs for inclusion in the project. Mostly Creative Commons and public domain works. You can browse genres by Tags.. Note: We’ve encountered formatting glitches on this site.
Funky Remixes is a free and legal music source featuring remixes licensed under Creative Commons. Highlights projects from ccMixter.org (see Collaborations).
Icompetech provides a growing collection of royalty-free music compositions in mp3 format. Categories include piano, orchestral, classical, space opera, acid jazz, disco, Latin, polka, rap/RnB, reggae, rock/pop, holiday/Christmas and more. All music is available under a Creative Commons license and may be used for commercial and non-commercial projects.
Linux.org Music releases compilation CDs of music by artists using libre software. Music downloads are available in Flac and ogg formats under various legal licenses, though we’ve found the site difficult to navigate.
Oddio Overplay connects artists and audiences through a growing catalog of legal music-sharing sites. The networked sites all provide a selection of full length tracks in mp3 or ogg format. The emphasis is on independent and alternative artists not usually heard on popular media channels.
The Podsafe Audio site aims to provide a place where independent artists can upload music under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial license for use in podcasts, mashups, Webcasts and elsewhere.
Public Domain 4U
Public Domain 4U is a collection of about 80 early blues recordings, converted to mp3 format. These are public domain recordings that are free to download and share.
Uhort.no maintains a list of music that is cleared by the artists on uhort.no for use in podcasts. The terms for use are that the podcast must mention the artist and that the music was obtained at uhort.no. You also have to inform uhort.no ([email protected]) and the artist where to obtain the finished podcast.
V-fib Recordings is a rock music co-op promoting free CC-licensed compilations of underexposed music from both the past and present. The CC license appears when you click on a music download link.
Vorbis Music Sites
Vorbis Music Sites is a collection of links to sites with music and other audio sources freely available in the ogg format. Some of the creators use open licenses including Creative Commons and EFF’s Open Audio License.
Wikipedia: Sound/list offers a list of full-length copyleft/public domain songs available on Wikipedia or the Commons. Beethoven, Franz Schubert, Antonio Vivaldi and Claude Debussy are among those included. The list is alphabetically sorted by composer and all songs are available to download in ogg format. See /playlist for just the URLs to use with a music player. You can copy and paste the list of URLs into a text file and save it with m3u extension for loading with your favorite player.
Collaborating, remixing and sampling
ccMixter is a community site and tool for musicians to exchange ideas and build collaborative music projects. The free service allows users to share songs, remixes and audio samples licensed under Creative Commons. You can upload your original songs so that other people can remix your work. The CC license means you can legally download, sample and remix music on the site and share the results freely. Under the "Remixes" menu you’ll find the "Remix Radio" where you can select a style of music to automatically create your own music stream or podcast from a random pool of remixes. ccMixter also runs regular remix contests.
Jamglue is a social remix website that provides online mixing capabilities via a web-based music creation application. All works are either in the public domain or licensed under Creative Commons.
Kompoz.com is a resource for musicians to collaborate on projects with other online musicians. Provides individual project workspaces and supports Creative Commons licenses.
Mix2r.com is a music collaboration site that allows users to upload and share music with the community under Creative Commons licenses.
Remix Commons is a network of free culture projects in the UK promoting remix culture. You can find all types of content including audio recordings released under Creative Commons licenses.
BDWRekordings.com is a nonprofit net label and promotional site dedicated to promoting dance music talent with free dance music downloads.
ArtistServer.com provides free music hosting for indie and unsigned bands. Try typing CC into the search box when looking for bands using Creative Commons licenses. After an initial search another option appears on the menu that allows you to search by license. All media carry a clearly visible license flag.
Beatmaka.com is a website that hosts and streams mp3 music files by independent artists. All music is selected by a review panel for quality control. Most of the music is licensed under a Creative Commons Music Sharing license.
Dance-Industries is a community for artists and fans specializing in copyleft dance and trance music. You can search for music by style, artist, song title and country. Tracks are released under a Creative Commons Music Sharing License.
ElectroBel is a European-based electronic music community with thousands of copyleft songs released under a Creative Commons license. All works can be freely distributed and used for all non-commercial purposes. Portals to different territories can be accessed via electrobel.info.
GarageBand is a free MP3 music community and podcast host (not to be confused with Apple’s GarageBand application) with thousands of indie bands to discover. Try this Google search for works released under CC license.
MacJams.com is an online community and repository of music created by people using the Macintosh platform. All works are licensed under Creative Commons. See the MacJams.com — Virtual Band Forum for collaborations and networking.
MyMusicStream.com is a streaming music site and community that gives artists the option to distribute mp3 music files under a Creative Commons Music Sharing License. The site is designed to help artists promote themselves online, gain air time for music and music videos, interact with fans and gain exposure.
SectionZ is an electronic music community where many artists make tracks available under Creative Commons licenses. Each music page clearly displays the CC license if applicable.
SoundClick — CC License is a music community website that features both signed and unsigned bands. That link takes you to the license page where you can select the Creative Commons license type to search the CC music genre that boasts over 200.000 CC licenses. All tracks can be streamed from the page with links to the artists’ Web page. You can search SoundClick for CC music using the following links: Google – Yahoo! or type site:soundclick.com into this Creative Commons Search Engine.
ZikWeb.org — Open Music Community is a website for online music and free culture, featuring open source music you can download and remix.
Distribution platforms and licensed content
Toucan Music is a UK net label specializing in electronic music, particularly house, trance, breakbeat, chillout and hardcore. They provide original high quality, full-length music downloads within these genres, in the most popular file formats. Lots of the music you’ll find on this site is licensed under a Creative Commons license.
Royalty Free Music Library
Royalty Free Music Library offers one of the largest offerings of online broadcast-quality royalty free music on the Web. You don’t have to sign in to license music here, but membership has it’s perks.
music alley is a free service from Mevio where you can find the best tracks from new and legendary artists and include them in your show. Check out the top podsafe artists from most played, most listens or top-rated categories.
Dogmazic.net is a portal and community for free music downloads and artist information. All music is published by community members using various copyleft licenses, which means the tracks can be downloaded and shared legally. Music podcasters will find the combination of clear licensing information and music streaming very useful when looking for show material. Free membership offers a range of community features designed to facilitate music discovery, promotion and distribution.
Elektrobong Corporation is a content distribution platform providing high quality audiovisual content directly from the creators. This is a good source of materials licensed under creative commons including netlabel releases, VJ works and music videos. Community style tools, news and networking make this a powerful net audio hub.
IODA Promonet is a promotional music distribution network that supplies thousands of pre-cleared net label promotional tracks. The service is available to established podcasts, blogs and music-focused websites. In exchange for the free music, users must adhere to usage guidelines designed to provide maximum exposure for artists and labels. This involves a package using special licenses, digital promotional materials and sales links.
Music License Quote
Music License Quote provides an online solution for independent artists, labels, producers and music publishers to license their own songs, recordings and related assets directly from their own web sites. The basic LicenseQuote music licensing service (widget) is free to all music artists, labels and publishers who have authority to license their various copyrighted music materials. LicenseQuote does not charge any sales commission percentage fee to the sellers and is also completely free to all music licensing buyers.
PodcastSPOTS is a free podcast creation and hosting solution with a podsafe music vault and viral marketing distribution.
Podsafe Music Network
Podsafe Music Network is a large repository of podsafe music and a free service designed to help podcasters, artists and listeners to share music legally.
Pump Audio is a pre-cleared music licensing agent that connects independent musicians and labels with buyers in the mainstream media. Offers a variety of Creative Commons license options on their site for musicians who want to allow noncommercial use of their work.
Rumblefish provides music from a pre-cleared catalog of independent artists and arranges licensing strategies for professional projects. Artists represented include George Clinton, Kool & the Gang, Ohmega Watts, Mel Torme, Cex, Art Tatum, Rye Hollow, John Kelley and others. The podcasting license lets podcasters include a song for $5 per song per podcast episode (the net license fee is split with the artist) with unlimited downloads of each episode in return for an acknowledgment of the artist in the podcast.
Documentaries, movies, video clips
Blip.tv is a free videoblogging, podcasting and video sharing service with thousands of grassroots videos, many of which are licensed under Creative Commons. Use audio and soundtrack snippets as permitted.
Metavid offers archives of public domain Senate and House footage under a free-document license, facilitating collective reuse and annotation of archived content. You can search metadata using text queries to find keywords associated with the recording. To view the clips in a Web browser you need Firefox and Annodex.
NerdTV is a weekly technology show from PBS.org columnist Robert X Cringely featuring one-hour interviews with leading technology experts. The NerdTV mpeg4 video, mp3, ogg vorbis, aac audio and text transcripts are distributed under a Creative Commons license so viewers can legally copy, redistribute, extract, edit and modify the shows.
Berklee Shares provides a library of free music lessons in audio, video and print-ready formats, including mp3 audio lessons, QuickTime video lessons and PDF text/graphic/notation lessons. All content is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs-NonCommercial license. It can be used, copied or distributed only for noncommercial educational purposes. No modifications or derivative works may be made.
University Channel is a collection of public affairs lectures, panels and events from academic institutions all over the world. Audio and video materials are available to the public for viewing, listening, streaming and downloading under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Sharelike license.
12Rec is a German CDR and netlabel with Creative Commons licensed free music. They have an interesting selection of bands in a variety of musical styles.
BeatPick is a London-based netlabel releasing music under Creative Commons licenses. The website lets you listen to full albums of all artists and there’s also a streaming playlist of the month. Non-commercial projects can use the music for free once purchased. For commercial ventures, music can be licensed instantly online using the licensing options panel via the link on each artist page. Licensees can quickly get quotes, make payments, download valid agreements and CD-quality wav files.
Bedroom Research is an e-music collective and free mp3 label with full albums and tracks available under a CC Music Sharing License.
Comatronic is a netlabel focused on distributing quality electronic music for free under a Creative Commons license (archives available).
Comfort Stand is a netlabel and music community that allows sharing of tracks under Creative Commons licenses (no longer releasing new material but the music archives are still available).
DiSfish is a netlabel distributing new music under Creative Commons licenses. The site offers podsafe music in categories such as jazz, classical, electronica, rock, world and blues.
Dying Giraffe Recordings
Dying Giraffe Recordings releases DIY music under a Creative Commons license. Artists keep the rights to their music and get 50 percent of the profits from selling CDs. See the FAQ for details and philosophy.
Epsilonlab is a Montreal-based audio-visual label dedicated to promotion of innovative electronic music and digital art. Releases include CDs, DVDs and a constantly evolving repertoire of downloadable audio-visual files. Content is licensed under a Creative Commons license.
Experimedia is a netlabel and online community with a diverse spectrum of quality electronic music. All artists’ works are licensed under Creative Commons.
Fading Ways is a Canadian-based indie label with international outlets. Music and label samplers are released under Creative Commons licenses. The Mission Statement explains the reasons for their copyleft releases.
Free Sample Zone
Free Sample Zone is a net label published by Chenard Walcker with many albums worth of his material. His compositions are created using cut and paste sampling techniques and released under a CC license. All the releases are free with complete artwork and liner notes.
Hippocamp is a netlabel and community in Manchester, UK. Music can be downloaded in standard mp3 format with no DRM under a Creative Commons license.
Internet Archive Netlabels
Internet Archive Netlabels is a comprehensive database of netlabels releasing podsafe music. There are more than 500 subcollections, most of which offer Copyleft/Creative Commons licensed music.
Kahvi Collective releases electronic music in ogg format covered by the Creative Commons Attribution NoDerivs license.
Loca Records is a Brighton (UK)-based copyleft label that releases music and videos under Creative Commons licenses.
Magnatune is an online label in Berkeley, Calif., that represents hundreds of artists. The musicians allow you to legally use their music in your podcast for free (just credit them). All Magnatune mp3s are licensed under Creative Commons and may be downloaded at no cost for use in a podcast. Magnatune offers a large catalog of artists with music across all genres. Select an album, select the "license" link and then go to "Non-commercial use" to download 128kbps MP3s.
Negative Sound Institute
Negative Sound Institute is a netlabel releasing artists and other music works released under Creative Commons or available in the public domain. Provides a podcast and a netradio stream.
Netaudio Yahoo! Group
Netaudio Yahoo! Group promotes free audio on the Web via messages and links to audio sites, broadcasts, netlabels and direct downloads of electronic music.
Netlabel Board is a bulletin board for audio news and releases worldwide. It’s useful for finding podsafe music and copyleft labels in all genres.
Netlabel Catalogue is an index and directory of music labels that offer free downloads. The site provides RSS feeds and maintains a regularly updated list of new net labels, music releases and netaudio charts. This is a good resource for discovering new releases that use copyleft licenses.
Opsound offers a wide-ranging open pool of copyleft music and sound files that enables copying, sharing, remixing and even selling of work by artists. Sound files are available under a Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike license or placed in the public domain.
Polymorphic Music is a free netlabel interested in all types of music. The site has a Flash jukebox for listening to tracks and you are free to distribute the music in appliance with the Attribution NonCommercial NoDerivs Creative Commons license.
Positron! Records is a netlabel where artists have the option of releasing their works under a Creative Commons license. A selection of free podsafe music is available along with music released under the CC Sampling Plus license for sampling, remixing and mash-ups.
Prison Soup Records
Prison Soup Records is an experimental electro net label releasing music under the copyleft "Free Art license".
Rowolo provides news about netlabel releases and features a comprehensive list of netlabels with a key to genres and location.
So Healthy Music
So Healthy Music is a Cologne, Germany-based label that releases music under Creative Commons licenses.
sonicSQUIRREL.net is a platform and distribution channel for net labels, providing copyleft music downloads in mp3 and ogg formats. A useful feature is the ability to listen to recommended music playlists created by DJs and other users.
Sub Pop Records says: "While we’re unable to give you blanket permission to use any ole song you want from our catalog, you may incorporate any of the songs that are freely available as mp3s in the multimedia section of this website into your podcasts. However, we do reserve the right to change our mind about the availability of any song for any reason at any time. Fickle, no?"
Thinner/Autoplate is a German netlabel distributing dub-inspired electronic music in the form of mp3 files under a Creative Commons license. Styles include minimal, dub, electro, house, techno, ambient.
MusicForRobots Podsafe Music
MusicForRobots Podsafe Music is a site for indie bands to post their songs for wider distribution, allowing for reposting of the music with attribution.>
Wikipedia – Netlabel
Wikipedia – Netlabel provides a good set of netlabel resources and related information.
Podcasts and feeds
The Association of Music Podcasting (AMP) provides support for music podcasters wishing to deliver permission-based, legal music. Members have access to music that musicians have submitted to the AMP library for inclusion in individual podcasts. There’s a good selection of member podcasts to choose from.
AudioFeeds.org indexes independent music that is freely and legally available online. Podcast feeds are shared using a Creative Commons Music Sharing License, which means you can download, copy, share, trade, distribute and publicly perform (e.g. webcast) any of the available files. The service is designed help promote the use of XML audio feeds as a means of distribution in the independent music scene. All submitted content is strictly moderated and podsafe.
Big Contact provides tools to help you find and publish audio and video podcasts. You can create your own customizable streaming media site and add streaming media players to existing sites. The community is based around sharing music with Creative Commons licenses and is useful for finding podsafe media.
Black Sweater White Cat
An over-the-air radio show heard on WBCR-LP, 97.7 FM in Great Barrington, Mass., Black Sweater White Cat is a show all about copyleft music from across the Internet and across the world. This link searches for all BSWC playlists hosted at the Internet Archive by date added.
CC:365 – Creative Commons Three Sixty Five is a project and podcast created by Grant Robinson that highlights a CC licensed song every single day of the year.
CC Wiki – Music Podcasts
CcWiki – Music Podcasts is an open list of music podcasts featuring exclusively CC licensed music. If you have a CC audio focused podcast, you can add it to the list.
Starfrosch is a user-driven Creative Commons music blog and portal with categorized podcast feeds. A moderator team oversees user submitted audio and video to promote quality content.
Creative Commons Music Podcast
Uwe Hermann’s Creative Commons Music Podcast delivers freely available podsafe music by various artists in genres such as electronica, Celtic, world, classical, acoustic, pop, rock and others.
Cultural Broadcasting Archive
CBA — Cultural Broadcasting Archive is an open access database and audio archive of radio contributions for exchanging between free radio stations. Radio shows, alternative media coverage, interviews, etc are stored, published on the server, and shared with other stations and journalists for noncommercial use (multiple languages). Audio files can be freely downloaded for private use but commercial use — even excerpts — is prohibited.
• The Creative Commons Podcast Tools page provides links to podcasting legal guides, practical advice and other information for podcasters.
• Wikipedia has an entry on the origins of podsafe music.
UK-based David Holmes, a former sound engineer and indie studio/label manager who blogs at Dave’s Imaginary Sound Space, contributed to this directory.
Notice: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License, compatible with Wikipedia.
• Podcasting, music and the law
JD Lasica, founder and former editor of Socialbrite, is co-founder of Cruiseable. Contact JD or follow him on Twitter or Google Plus.
• Podcasting, music and the law
JD Lasica, founder and former editor of Socialbrite, is co-founder of Cruiseable. Contact JD or follow him on Twitter or Google Plus.