Music for your projects: 12 thematic resources with tracks licensed under Creative Commons

    The selection is useful to developers, designers, video directors and content makers who are looking for music for their projects - applications, games or videos.

    The following sites offer download full songs. The resources on which you can find individual sounds and samples will be described next time. Photo PxHere / PD


    The New York Times called this site the “Holy Grail” among musical resources. It was founded in 2007, and since then the number of its users has been growing by 10% annually. Most of the songs on Bandcamp sell for money, but there is also music with a Creative Commons license . Moreover, the number of available genres is quite extensive: from folk to rap and hip-hop.

    Merits. Music can be downloaded in a large number of formats: MP3, FLAC, ALAC, AAC, Ogg Vorbis, WAV and AIFF. The site also has its own application, available for iOS and Android .

    Disadvantages.Most of the music on the site is paid. The cost of the tracks depends on the particular artist. But there are authors who use the pay what you wish model.


    A platform with free music from independent authors. All compositions on the site are divided into categories (they are marked at the top of the page): techno, dubstep, ambient, rock, jazz and others. Composers' albums are uploaded entirely in FLAC format. You can download individual tracks, but they are only available in MP3 format with a bitrate of 320 kbps.

    Among the proposed licenses there are various options for Creative Commons. For example, BY-ND 4.0 , which allows the use of tracks in any projects (even commercial ones), but prohibits modification. There is also a freer option - BY-SA 4.0 , which allows you to change the soundtrack.

    Merits. No registration is required, and songs can be filtered by license, genre, tag, and artist.

    Disadvantages.A relatively small number of genres, plus in some categories the number of tracks does not exceed twenty . The site itself is quite old, and its design has not been updated for a long time. There are also bugs with the UI, for example, sometimes a form with filters is “disabled” and you have to refresh the page.

    Free music archive

    This project is overseen by WFMU , an American radio station that promotes the free distribution of music. CBC Radio 3 satellite radio station , Cafe OTO London performance cafe and Brooklyn bar Barbes , which plays live music, also take part in the development of the site . They upload live recordings to the site. The songs are distributed under different Creative Commons licenses, so some of them cannot be used for commercial purposes.

    Merits. A library of 120 thousand tracks of various genres: from blues to hip-hop. All compositions are selected by a group of professional musicians and radio hosts.

    On the pages of artists you can find links to their personal blogs and sites, as well as read about their work. You can also find forms for contacting the musicians or their email addresses there - this is an opportunity to agree on licensing directly. Also, the platform has applications for iOS and Android .

    Disadvantages. Songs are in MP3 format only. To download a track from the site you need to register - otherwise the browser displays a 500 error.


    The site was created in 2009 by the developer and composer Jason Shaw. On it, he shares his work. Among the genres there are both rock and classic with country. Jason instilled a love of music with his father, who during his joint trips included his son songs of different styles. To create his compositions, the author uses many musical instruments, as well as samples, drum machines and synthesizers.

    For ten years, a whole community of performers has formed around the resource. Now on the site you can find not only the work of Jason - the site is quite high traffic.

    Merits.Ability to search in one of thirty genres. There are also filters by mood, pace and keywords. Tracks are allowed to be used in any projects: in YouTube videos or applications. But the voluntary remuneration of the authors is welcome.

    Disadvantages. All music is presented only in MP3 format, and the download system is a bit confusing. This is a multi-step process and it is not enough for the user to just click the download button. Perhaps this is partly due to the fact that the site’s UI has not been updated since its creation in 2009.

    UCSB Cylinder Audio Archive

    This is an audio archive founded by a group of enthusiasts in 2002. The goal of the project is to digitize compositions recorded on wax cylinders (for Edison's phonograph ) and create a specialized audio library. Such cylinders were a popular musical medium until 1929. After they gave way to vinyl.

    Songs are distributed in MP3 format under the CC BY-NC 2.5 license prohibiting commercial use. If you wish, you can request the original recording in WAV format.

    Merits. The collection contains 80 thousand compositions. In the library you can find rare records recorded in the late XIX - early XX century.

    Among the genres are country, vaudeville, folklore, opera, comedy monologues, Irish songs, as well as coon songs . In the world of music, coon songs imply an assertive and hoarse manner of singing with shouts. Later, this style was inherited by blues and jazz vocalists. One of the striking examples of such compositions is the song All coons look alike to me .

    You can also read about the history of cylinders in the music industry on the site and listen to thematic playlists.

    Disadvantages. There are no other compositions besides recordings from cylinders. The site itself has not been updated for quite some time - the latest news is dated October 2017.


    SoundCloud is a well-known platform that was launched back in 2008. Eight years after the start, the number of tracks on it exceeded 150 million. To find songs that are allowed for commercial use, use the filter to find the site ( here is an example , the settings are on the left side).

    Merits. A large and diverse database of genres and categories: rock, chillout, hip-hop, rap, electronica and many others. There are thematic collections. You can download songs in uncompressed formats, but only with the permission of the author (he must switch the corresponding checkbox in your account).

    Disadvantages.The list of songs allowed for commercial use is rather small (compared to the general base). However, there is always the opportunity to contact the author directly and ask him for permission - many authors publish their contacts in profiles (profiles in social networks).

    Pexels / PD Photos

    The mutopia project

    A resource for those who know how to play musical instruments. Here is a decent library of scores. All submitted music notes are distributed under CC or are part of the public domain. They can be modified, copied and reproduced.

    Merits. A collection of more than two thousand files in PDF, MIDI and zip formats. There are notes for both popular instruments like the piano or guitar , and rare ones, for example for the horn , harpsichord and shamisen .

    Disadvantages. There is no music as such, only the score. The site is filled with volunteers, so errors may occur in sheet music.


    A collection of music written by American composer Kevin MacLeod. Works from the site are distributed under a standard license (Standard License) or under a Creative Commons license. In the first case, there are no restrictions on use, but you will have to pay at least $ 25 for the track. In the second case, songs can be downloaded free of charge, but authorship is mandatory for them.

    Merits. A large collection of tracks of different genres, there is even polka and disco . According to MacLeod, among the twenty most popular videos on YouTube, eleven used music from his site. Also, the resource has unusual filters - you can search by film genre ( horror and comedy ), by country (Latin American or Polynesian motives) or by mood (for touching moments or thoughts ). There are also unique collections, such as Mad Pianist or Wonders of Other Worlds .

    Disadvantages. All music on the site is paid. However, some (according to the author, the least successful) works can be found on a third-party site FreePD in the public domain.


    Fifteen hundred tracks that are licensed under CC BY 4.0. They are allowed to be used for commercial purposes, but attribution is required. It is believed that this is the most free license, in terms of what users can do with the work.

    All songs can be found and listened to on the official YouTube channel or on SoundCloud . Here is an example of one of the tracks available for download:

    Merits. Here you will find modern and classical music, soundtracks, compositions for meditation and content design - the collection is updated daily.

    Disadvantages. You can only download a song in MP3 format. The site itself has a rather cumbersome UI, which is difficult to work with.

    Silverman sound

    All work on the site is the result of the work of musicians Shane Ivers (Shane Ivers). All compositions can be downloaded for free, but there is a mandatory requirement - to sign the author. However, there is an opportunity to purchase a license without attribution - this will cost about $ 20 per song. Shane also runs a blog where he writes about inspiration and the music industry.

    Merits. On the page with tracks there are descriptions and tips for what purposes they are best suited. For example, Corrupted offers a chaotic mix of electronic sounds, rustles, and squeaks. This creates an internal tension for the listener, which is useful in a horror video or “sinister” game. There is a subscription feature for new releases.

    Disadvantages.No search for a specific instrument or song duration. To download the track in uncompressed format, you will have to pay five dollars.

    Scott buckley

    Another private collection of songs. Its author is the Australian composer Scott Buckley (Scott Buckley). He owns the tracks for the trailers of the films Terminator: May the Savior Come, the Golden Compass, and Assassin's Creed 2. Scott created a specialized music library for directors and game designers, all of which are distributed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0.

    Merits. You can search for music by genre, instrument, keywords and mood. Each entry is accompanied by a description - a brief background of creation, for which it will be suitable, which tools are involved. New tracks appear on the site 3-4 times a month.

    Disadvantages. All tracks are available only in MP3. Download songs in a lossless format will not work.


    A library of two hundred compositions written or personally selected by American DJ Moby. All music is available in high quality AIFF format. It can be used for non-commercial projects - be sure to indicate authorship according to the template: [Track Name] by Moby courtesy of

    Merits. Twenty genres of music: from Bosanova to funk. You can search for tracks by mood, instrument, album, tempo or type of vocals (female or male vocals, without vocals).

    Disadvantages. If you plan to use music in a video on YouTube, then only tracks marked unreleased are suitable for these purposes. Otherwise, you may experience copyright and monetization issues.

    Additional reading from our “Hi-Fi World”:

    “Eight Beats”: about sounds in old games
    Old School: what were the games coming out for - we discuss unusual media
    What are the features and tasks of the sound accompaniment of games
    Unsinkable SoundCloud - the most complete story of an audio start-up
    An enthusiast recreated a sound card Sound Blaster 1.0
    A noise isolation method has been developed that dampens up to 94% of noise.
    How music helps fight noise

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