Many musicians choose to release their songs under Creative Commons licenses, which give you the legal right to do things like use their music in your videos.
What is Creative Commons?
Creative Commons is a system that allows you to legally use “some rights reserved” music, movies, images, and other content — all for free. CC offers free copyright licenses that anyone can use to mark their creative work with the freedoms they want it to carry. For instance, a musician might use a Creative Commons license to allow people to legally share her songs online, make copies for friends, or even use them in videos or make remixes. For more information, visit our Learn More page.
Where can I find CC-licensed music?
Several sites offer music published under Creative Commons’ flexible copyright licenses. Here are some:
- Free Music Archive
- Fugue Music
- CASH Music
- Podsafe Audio
- Internet Archive’s Netlabels Collection
Can I use any song with a CC license on it?
Almost — you need to make sure that what you want to do with the music is OK under the terms of the particular Creative Commons license it’s under. CC-licensed music isn’t free for all uses, only some — so make sure to check out the terms (you can find these by clicking on each song’s license icon).
Most importantly, you need to use music that is not licensed under a No Derivative Works license. This means that the musician doesn’t want you to change, transform, or make a derivative work using their music. Under CC licenses, synching the music to images amounts to transforming the music, so you can’t legally use a song under a CC No Derivative Works license in your video.
Also, make sure to properly credit the musician and the track, as well as express the CC license the track is under. For example, you might include text like this at the end of your video:
This video features the song “Desaprendere (Treatment)” by fourstones, available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license.
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