Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

The Best Places To Get Royalty-Free Music & Sound Effects

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Now that my students are getting more comfortable making online slideshows, they’re also getting more interested in including music (and sound effects) into their creations.

Some of the online slideshow sites listed in The Best Ways To Create Online Slideshows already have music that can easily be incorporated into user-created slideshows, but with Flowgram you have to upload your own.  There are quite a few sites with royalty-free music available, and a great resource to identify a bunch of them is Mathew Needleman’s Royalty Free Music And Images post.

However, I’m also looking for the easiest and most accessible sites that can be used by an English Language Learner or anyone who is not particularly tech-savvy.  So I’ve pulled a few from Mathew’s list, and also included several additional ones.   Mathew’s list, though, continues to be one of the best ones around and I’d encourage you to check it out.

I don’t really give details about the sites I’m listing here because they’re all very similar — the music and sounds here are royalty-free and it’s just an easy matter of searching and downloading them.  Of course, credit should be given to the source when they’re used in online projects. I’ve also tried avoiding sites that have obvious content not appropriate for classroom use, but something might have slipped by me.

I also don’t believe that any of the sites here require any software download or registration.

Here are my choices for The Best Places To Get Royalty-Free Music & Sound Effects:

MUSIC:

Free Loops

Sample Net

Open Music Archive

Jamendo

iBeat

incompetech

Podsafe Audio

Purple Planet

The Free Music Archive is the latest addition to this list.  It currently has 5,000 free tracks available for download, and it’s super-easy to use — no registration is required.  You can read more about it at Read Write Web. (Jerry Swiatek notes that there is some music here that is not appropriate for classroom use).

Classic Cat

Musopen is the latest addition to this list.  It describes itself this way:

“Musopen is an online music library of copyright free (public domain) music… Put simply, our mission is to set music free.”

Public Domain 4 U has music available for download from before 1922 that is now in the public domain.

SOUND EFFECTS:

Soundsnap

Soungle

Free Sound Project

Absolute Sound Effects Archive

Sound Jay

My Sound FX

Find Sounds is great. They don’t guarantee, though, that all their sounds are copyright free.

I’m adding Sound Bible to this list.  You can read a post at Free Tech For Teachers to learn about this excellent resource.

freeSFX

Mashable has just posted a great piece, 26 Places to Find Free Multimedia for Your Blog.  I’ve already included here many of the resources they list.   However, they also listed some sites that are new to me.  I’m also sure that a ton of additional sources will be accumulating in their comments sections.  Because of that, for now, instead of just selectively adding some of their sites here, I’m just including a link to their whole post.

I just learned about Audience Sounds from Nik Peachey. It has a nice collection of sound effects that are easy to navigate, listen to, and download. In addition to using them in student or teacher “creations,” another way I’ve used these kinds of sound effects is as a way to build student vocabulary. We first review what each sound effect is called; then the class is divided into small groups with each group having a small whiteboard; next, I play one sound effect; next, I give the class thirty seconds to write down what sound effect it is. People show their boards, and the teams that get it correct win a point.

Cut MP3 Online is a web application that seems to let you easily edit MP3 files. Though I haven’t tried it yet, it seems to me that it could be very useful. I’m adding it here since it could be a useful companion to those other sites. Please let me know your experience if you try it out.

Jewelbeat looks like a neat place to get free music and sound effects. Vicki Davis recommends it, so you know it’s got to be good.

Free Music Directory comes from Socialbrite, and lists a number of sources of royalty-free…music.

SoundCli.ps is a site where you can easily download sound effects.

YouTube Launches Free Audio Library With 150 Royalty-Free Tracks is a TechCrunch post about a definitely useful new resource at YouTube.

You might also be interested in these other “The Best…” lists:

The Best Music Websites For Learning English
The Best Online Sites For Creating Music
The Best Online Karaoke Sites For English Language Learners
The Best Online Sources For Images

I’m also adding a direct link to Darren Draper’s excellent post (including additional resources) called The Educator’s Guide To The Creative Commons.

Richard Byrne writes about Free Play Music, a useful resource for education-related projects.

As always, feedback is welcome.

If you found this post useful, you might want to consider subscribing to this blog for free.

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Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.

56 Comments

  1. Thanks a lot! i found Soungle very useful!

  2. keep in mind that soundsnap recently went to a paid subscription model. You can download a few sounds for free but it is no longer the way it used to be.

    You can also get a bunch of free royalty free music here:
    http://www.partnersinrhyme.com/pir/free_music_loops.shtml

    plus free royalty free sound effects here:
    http://www.partnersinrhyme.com/pir/PIRsfx.shtml

    this blog post free royalty free music clips every week or so:
    http://www.royaltyfreemusicclips.com/royalty-free/royalty-free-distribution/royalty-free-music/

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  4. For a comprehensive listing of free and legal sound sample collections, audio applications and open music resources see http://www.squidoo.com/freesounds

  5. Royalty Free Music can be previewed and downloaded for free at our site : http://www.purple-planet.com

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  7. I think you’ll find http://www.mysoundfx.com a new and excellent quality source for free sound effects and free background music. Please let me know what sounds any of you may be looking for. I do my best to add requested sounds.

  8. Great list! I use http://freeplaymusic.com/. There are some restrictions, as long as you are using it in the classroom you should be ok. Another is http://freemusic.freeculture.org/

  9. Another great site for royalty free sound effects is SFXsource.com at http://www.sfxsource.com and also a totally free site is http://www.freesoundeffectsandloops.com

  10. My absolute favorite is http://www.sfxsource.com … SFXsource.com Sound Effects, cool interface, tons of great material

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  12. I’m a member at a great royalty free music and sound effect website called RippleAudio: http://www.rippleaudio.com

    It has some great unique music tracks from very talented artists!

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  14. you can get 18,000+ RF tracks from grammy and emmy winning artists at AudioMicro http://www.audiomicro.com and we also have a collection of over 50,000 sfx, all from $5 to $1 each depending on the size of your purchase

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  16. Hi Larry,

    Its also worth using search engines to search more specific needs. There are a lot of royalty free sites out there and they will all tell you they have thousands of tracks. If you know what type of royalty free music you want, rock, rap, ambient etc. you can search these to get more specific results.

    You can get, for example royalty free ambient and relaxation music at http://www.AmbientMusicGarden.com.

    Its also worth checking out the terms of use. Royalty Free is a term that can mean something different between sites.

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  18. Hi Larry,

    I hope you don’t mind if I mention my site http://www.danosongs.com where I license all my music for free under creative commons royalty free.

    Thanks,

    Dan-O

  19. I’d also like to recommend http://www.Shockwave-Sound.com for some high quality royalty-free music. They’ve been online since 2000, add new music several times per week and every track is hand picked for quality so you know you’re getting good stuff.

    Also, for royalty free sound effects, individual sound file downloads rather than whole DVD collections, I’d recommend http://www.1Soundfx.com . Hope this helps.

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  24. Thank you for the information. Music makes everything better, especially free music.

  25. Thanks Larry for a detailed list. I agree with few other comments here that if you’re looking at a professional or even semi-professional presentation / multimedia / video game / project / production / film etc… you might want to save your strength and valuable time and skip the fully free sites, since on some of them you can never be 100% sure regarding the license they claim to own, and since you might be searching for long hours, maybe days, until you find something good enough in terms of quality and expertise.

  26. http://www.royaltyfreemusiclibrary.com also has a great selection of royalty free music.

  27. Try MusicRevolution.com (http://www.musicrevolution.com), an innovative new online marketplace for royalty-free music. MusicRevolution.com has thousands of tracks of affordable, high-quality production music suitable for film, video, TV, radio, website, background music, on hold music and other business music applications. New music is being added every day. I am the co-founder.

  28. I use Shockwave sound a lot as well and find them to be very good to deal with. I also agree with what Guy said, that a Google search can reveal some really nice boutique services that are specific to certain niches. For example, I discovered http://www.royaltyfreemeditationmusic.com/ while looking for background music for a guided meditation that I was producing for a colleague. There’s heaps of stuff out there, you just have to make sure that they are professional enough!

  29. Check out CSS Music which offers over 12,000 royalty free music tracks, and sound effects. http://www.cssmusic.com

  30. A great new source for free sound effects is a web site called:
    sound-effects-hunter.com .
    The guys over there record cool and very usable sounds in good quality and FREE for download

  31. Great Music list! Here is another one http://relaxationpill.com/. For Free music you can download it directly for free at http://relaxationpill.com/for-free/cat_2.html. As long as you don’t use it commercially you should be ok.

  32. CCMixter-Creative Commons licensed music, loops, and more.
    http://www.ccmixter.org

    as a supplement to CCMixter is Dig CCMixter.
    http://dig.ccmixter.org/

    Dig as a site has only whole remixed songs ready to be used where as CCMixter has all kinds of sounds, clips, loops, and vocals.

  33. Very Nice! For the best free sound effects, music loops, and beats checkout http://www.soundjig.com

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  36. Hello Larry,

    I hope you don’t mind if i mention my website with piano music content for documentary, cinematic projects and more. http://www.royaltyfreepianos.com
    Best !
    Manuel

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  39. Just wanted to metion http://www.themusicase.com a royalty free music library with handpicked tracks.

    There is a section for totally free royalty free music tracks for website to use as background with ready player.
    here is the link http://www.themusicase.com/free-music-for-websites.html

    With the iframe version http://www.themusicase.com/iframe/ you can test live your project (youtube video) on the fly with all the tracks and see quickly which one fits your needs.

  40. We are composers of original royalty free music and we have some quality tracks on our website that are absolutely free to use for non-commercial projects. There are no fees, no royalties or performance rights that have to be paid. We add tracks and change the tracklist a few times a month.
    Our website is http://www.royaltyfreeze.com.
    The free tracks are on the page: htp://www.royaltyfreeze.com/free-instrumental-music

  41. Try recently created Royalty Free Music and Audio Marketplace:

    http://LuckStock.com

    Highest quality of thousands of items, nice UI, fast and smart searching will impress you in parallel with reasonable prices.

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  43. Great article on licensing music for videos and presentations.

    Another great place to find music is http://www.tunefruit.com. We have super fast mouse-over previews, thousands of tracks with great tags, and a simple licensing tier system!

    - Tunefruit
    @tunefruit

  44. http://www.legalfreemusicdownloads.com is a great place for downloading free music also.

  45. Thanks for the post and comments. I created own list with greatest sound effects for game developers. Some free, commercial and torrents.

  46. Thanks! You have answered my question about free music links.

  47. This web-site grows fast! In 5 months there are over 9,000 Royalty Free Music and Audio available for instant downloading and licensing.
    Check it out:
    http://luckstock.com/royalty-free-music

  48. Hi,
    i am a composer and i just wanted to present you my Fresh Website where you can download my creative commons music and use it in your videos:
    http://www.bensound.com

  49. Nice layout Ben :-)

    Another new background music website is http://www.melodypods.com which provides music downloads for business backgrounds such as retail, restaurants, hotels, gyms and spas.

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