Table of Contents

What does royalty-free music mean?

What it is and where it came from.

"Royalty-free" refers to a type of music licensing. Generally, a piece of music that is deemed royalty-free can be purchased once and used over and over without having to pay for it again. To clarify, a song can be licensed for usage in a video without needing to make renewal payments for that license. Although, if you wish to use that song in another project that would require the purchase of a new license. Permission needs to be granted by the copyright holder (the composer) or a company that manages the rights on behalf of the composer (a music library like, Bedtracks). 

The evolution of royalty-free music libraries begins in the early 1900s. A family run company called 'DeWolfe Music' started collecting and publishing scores for silent films. Every cinema had it's own orchestra that accompanied the picture with mood music. Once we hit the golden age of recording, orchestra's were replaced with playback systems of mood music recordings and the rest is history. 


  • Free of royalty, but NOT free of cost. 
  • Each usage is a one time license fee.
  • Permission for use needs to be given by the copyright holder (music library or composer).
  • No residual payments or license renewals. 
  • Any music can be royalty-free. It's a way of licensing music.
  • Most stock music sites are royalty-free.
  • Began in the early 1900s as mood music for silent films

Who uses royalty-free music and why?

Who uses it and why. 

The various needs for royalty-free music is wide ranging and here at Bedtracks we've seen all different types of clients. Students, videographers, freelance video editors, YouTubers, video marketers, video production companies, documentary film makers, advertising creatives. You name it. 

Why? To be honest, it's because royalty-free licensing tends to be very affordable. No matter the project you can always find music that will fit within your budget. Scored music is the ideal, but at such a premium cost most budgets won't allow for it. The alternative is licensing royalty-free. 

It's not a bad compromise. Competition and demand in the music library marketplace has driven up the quality standards. It is now possible to license music that sounds like it could be played on the radio with your favourite artists. 

Key takeaways:

  • Everyone from students to Fortune 500 companies use royalty-free music.
  • Affordability.
  • Easy access.
  • High quality options.
  • Increases production value.
  • A gateway to the emotions of your viewer.

Where can I find royalty-free music?

Online resources.

There are tons of web portals on the internet where you can purchase the music your want with the license you need using any major credit card.

Not sure which license you need? No worries, there are licensing experts at every music library that can help you with that. We have super knowledgable music supervisors that are always happy and eager to help. 

No budget? That's okay! I've included a couple resources for music that can be used for free under the creative commons license (copyright that belongs to the public). 


How to use royalty-free music

The options are endless.

No matter what the project is, if you require music then royalty-free music tracks can be a quick, easy and affordable solution.

Most music libraries are user account based. Once registered you can start downloading music to audition in your project.

Sometimes download permissions won't be granted right away and you may have to wait up to 24 hours before your account can be reviewed for download access. 

Alot of music libraries watermark their music so it can't be stolen. When you have found the right track for your project you need to purchase the license from the site you found it on. Once purchased you will get the high-res, un-watermarked audio file. Be sure to use the file type WAV or AIFF. No mp3s!  

Now that you have downloaded your un-watermarked music you can drag it into your video editing software of choice and start editing. It's that simple. 

Key takeaways:

  • Any project that requires music, personal or commercial can use royalty-free music.
  • Most music libraries watermark their music before you pay for the license.
  • After you've paid for the license make sure you use a high res file like WAV or AIFF.
  • Drag your chosen audio file into your editor and you're good to go.
New call-to-action

Get curated music to your inbox.

Our awesome music supervisors are constantly putting together playlists of our top music. Sign up to get curated playlists of our best music sent right to your inbox. Don't worry, we won't flood your inbox.