We’ve all been there. You want free music or free stock audio for a project, but don’t know where to look. One of the best sources for royalty free music is the YouTube Audio Library. That’s right, it’s an extensive collection of free music for YouTube, by YouTube, on YouTube. So how do you crack into it? Let us guide you. We’ll give you tips on how to use the YouTube Audio Library to add music and audio to your content. Read this article, gain expertise, and unlock free music for videos.

Watch: How to Use the YouTube Audio Library

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YouTube Royalty Free Music

Know Your (Copy)Rights

If you want to monetize a video on YouTube, you can’t use a song that’s copyrighted by another party. If a song is copyrighted, YouTube’s Content ID system can block your video or put copyright-specific advertising over it.

One copyrighted song can funnel money to several parties.

To see what we mean, look up any song within the Warner/Chappell Music's database. You’ll find that an assortment of writers, composers, publishers, and more might control a single song.
Youtube Royalty Free Music - YouTube Audio Library - Warner Chapell

Copyrighted songs are NOT free music for videos

YouTube-safe and royalty free music is the answer if you want to cut out these payments or ads. But you have to understand how to use free music for YouTube correctly.

Thankfully, the YouTube Audio Library makes this all pretty easy. And where YouTube falls short, we’ll fill in the gaps. We’ll show you how to get copyright free music for videos on YouTube.


Using the YouTube Audio Library

What are the nuts and bolts of how to use the YouTube free audio library? Where is this extensive YouTube music library in the first place?

For starters, you can find the YouTube Audio Library in the Creator Studio section of your YouTube account. In the sidebar of your Creator Studio, the YouTube Audio Library is where to find copyright free music and sound effects.

Youtube Royalty Free Music - YouTube Audio library

The YouTube free audio library offers royalty free music for videos

In this simple user interface, all you have to do is click the “play” icon to sample a track. If you like what you hear in the sample, you can click the download icon to get a high-quality MP3 file. You can even check copyright policies for music that isn’t available for free.

Youtube free audio library Pro Tip:

If you hear a song that you like but it isn’t the right fit for your current video, click the star button. This adds the music to your Favorites. Now you can save it to use later.


Browsing the YouTube Music Library

How do you find the free music for YouTube videos you need? Especially with such a vast library of options? As you might have noticed, there are two categories within the YouTube Audio Library: “Free music” and “Sound effects.”

To find a song, you can use one of the five filters. Or, you can set as many of these filters simultaneously to fine-tune your search results. Say you’re looking for a bright dance track that’s more than 30 seconds long, incorporates synths, and doesn’t include third-party attribution.

You can set all these parameters to get YouTube free audio library results that match your needs. Here are the five filters you can use in the Youtube audio library.


These are high-level categorizations in the YouTube library. For an explainer video, you might start with something upbeat, like Dance & Electronic.


If your needs are broad, like if you just need background music for YouTube videos, the Mood filter lets you narrow down the kind of vibe you want. If your explainer video needs to be cheery and quick, you may want to start with the Bright category.


Filtering by instrument can help narrow things down. For instance, if you want a sleek, modern, “techie” sort of vibe, you might want to start with Synth.


If you have an idea of your video’s length, you can use this filter to specify tracks that will accommodate it.


A Creative Commons Attribution means that the artist who provided the song to the YouTube free audio library requires a mention in your video’s description. If this is something you want to avoid for brand reasons, you can simply filter out the tracks which require it.

Using Creative Commons Attributions doesn’t have to be a deal-breaker for your content, however. In the next section, we'll go over how Creative Commons Attributions work in the YouTube Audio Library.


Understanding Creative Commons

What is Creative Commons? And what does it have to do with free music to use on YouTube? If you’re a content creator of any kind, a working knowledge of Creative Commons is essential.



Creative Commons is a worldwide, California-based nonprofit organization. Its mission is to expand creative works in a variety of fields for others to build upon and legally share.

The organization releases copyright licenses, known as Creative Commons licenses, which are free to use.

Creative Commons enables artists to provide music to creators. The artists who provide the music set the terms. Often it’s free.

People on platforms like the YouTube Audio Library make extensive use of Creative Commons. Members of this global community create works in many fields and want to make it accessible to all.

Being able to share, and access, a world of free content? That can prove crucial when you’re putting together a video, film, presentation, or other creative work. A Creative Commons license is a straightforward way for an artist to copyright his or her material.

This way, it’s highly shareable and sticks to the artist’s set terms. Often, this includes being credited upon use. Millions of people have used Creative Commons licenses to make their creative content available for any member of the public to use.


YouTube Library and Free Stock Audio

Budget and logistics permitting, a production will often hire a Foley artist to record sound effects as part of the overall sound design.

With high-quality content being cranked out at such a feverish pace, not every project requires a Foley artist. It can be a luxury most productions can’t afford, or otherwise can’t employ.

The YouTube free audio library can be your own Foley artist

Field audio is usually recorded during production. But if you don't have the best sound recording gear to record on location, you'll need to rely on a pre-existing audio library. Additional sounds and audio effects will require separate, robust recordings. This is where the YouTube Audio Library comes into play.

The same browsing UI described above for the YouTube royalty free music tab applies — only for stock audio it uses less filters. The one filter you get here is Category, which has a smattering of common sounds.

One to look out for is Foley, which has a lot of common audio needs. It even offers many kinds of walking sounds. So start treading through the Youtube royalty free music and YouTube audio library for free stock audio today. Odds are, you’ll find everything you need.


Samples from the YouTube Audio Library

Here comes the fun part. Below are a few tracks we’ve favorited in the YouTube Audio Library. We like these, and we’ll tell you why. Then you can use them in your content. After all, that’s why they’re here!

"Venetian" by Density & Time
If you are looking for a retro, mysterious, Stranger Things kind of vibe for a trailer or parody, look no further. Once you get around the one-minute mark, the sci-fi horror vibes start kicking in.

Copyright free music for YouTube videos


This is a good pick if you’re looking for upbeat background music for YouTube videos. It would be great for a vlog.

 An upbeat selection from the YouTube free music library

"Breakfast Alone" by The Whole Other

If you’re looking for something quiet and contemplative, this is a solid downbeat (but not depressing) track.

A downbeat selection from the YouTube music library

Up Next

Best stock music websites

We’ve shown you how to use the YouTube Audio Library to find music for your web videos. But the YouTube Audio Library isn’t your only source for royalty free music and free stock audio. We’ve done the research for you to compile the best stock music websites so you can start hunting for the perfect track.

Up Next: Stock Music Websites →
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