We’ve all been there. You want free music (or free stock audio) for a video project, but fear the tribulations of YouTube takedowns once you release it.

Thankfully, in addition to all the YouTube safe royalty free music sites out there, there’s one very reliable resource. And that is, well, YouTube itself.

You heard right! The YouTube Audio Library is available to anyone with a YouTube account, and boasts thousands of tracks (and free stock audio).

Prepare to unlock some gloriously free music for YouTube videos, and any other content you might make, with YouTube itself.

1. YouTube & Royalty Free Music

On YouTube, royalty free music is essential

If you want to monetize a video on YouTube, your song can’t be copyrighted by another party.

Instead, YouTube’s Content ID system can block the video, or put advertising over it that goes to the respective parties, and not you.

Even a single song can have several parties who need to get paid from the licensing deal.

If you look up any song on publishing giant Warner-Chapell, you’ll see writers, publishers, and other administrators may control a single song, simultaneously.

YouTube safe, royalty-free music cuts out these third-party payments, as long as you use it correctly.

Thankfully the YouTube Audio Library makes this all pretty easy.

Youtube Royalty Free Music - Warner Chapell

Copyrighted tracks are not free music to use on YouTube.

YouTube safe, royalty-free music cuts out these third-party payments, as long as you use it correctly.

Thankfully the YouTube Audio Library makes this all pretty easy.

2. YouTube Audio Library

An overview of the YouTube Audio Library

You can find your YouTube Audio Library in the Creator Studio section of your YouTube account.

Youtube Royalty Free Music - YouTube Audio library

The YouTube free audio library offers royalty free music and free stock audio.

In the sidebar, there is the YouTube Audio Library where you will find your songs.

In this very simple UI, you click the “play” icon to sample the track.

If you like it, you can click the download icon to grab yourself a high-quality MP3 file.

Pro Tip: If you hear a song you like, but it doesn’t fit for your current video, click the star button to add it to your Favorites. This saves them for later use.

3. Browsing Videos in  THE Audio Library

Browsing tracks in the YouTube music library

As you might have noticed, there are two categories within the YouTube Audio Library: “Free music” and “Sound effects.” 

To find a song you like, use one of their five filters. And you can select multiple filters simultaneously to get very specific.

For example, if you’re looking for a bright dance track that’s over 30-seconds in length, with synths and no third-party attribution, then your filters will do just that.


These are high-level categorizations in the YouTube library.

If you have an explainer video, you may want to 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 down the types of songs.

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.


Creative Commons Attributions mean that the artist who provided the song to YouTube 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.

4. Creative CoMmons

A note on Creative Commons

The Creative Commons organization shows what motivates artists to contribute songs to platforms like the YouTube Audio Library.

Members of this global community create works in many fields (including academia, law, and art), and want to make it accessible to all.

A Creative Commons license is a straightforward way for an artist to copyright his or her material, and tailor its terms of use to their liking.

This way, it’s highly shareable and sticks to the artist’s set terms (such as being credited upon use).

4. Free Stock Audio

Browsing the YouTube library of free stock audio

It is common practice in film, television and commercials to hire a foley artist to record high-quality sound effects. 

Youtube Royalty Free Music - Audio Library - Foley Artist

A foley artist at work. The YouTube free audio library saves the need to hire one of these gals.

Although there is usually field audio recorded on the production day, it usually captures dialogue and the room tones at the shooting location. Additional sounds will need to have separate, robust recordings.

If you don’t have the budget to hire a foley artist, or to license high-quality sound effects from a library, you can also turn to the YouTube Audio Library.

The same browsing UI applies as the YouTube royalty free music tab, only with less filters.

The one filter you get here is Category, which has a smattering of common sound categories.

One to look out for is Foley, which has a lot of common audio needs (such as many kinds of walking sounds).

5.Top YouTube Audio Library Picks

And for now some picks from the YouTube library

Here comes the fun part. Here are some tracks we Favorited in our browsing adventures on the YouTube Audio Library.

We’ll give you the tracks and what we think they’ll be most useful for.

"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.

Free non copyrighted music for YouTube video, and other creative projects.


This is a good pick if you’re looking for upbeat background music for YouTube videos. 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.

Wrapping up

The YouTube Audio Library has audio that is of high enough quality for web videos. 

However, if you are working with something a bit higher caliber, like a feature film, the sound mix will probably require more robust than high-quality MP3s.

If that’s the case, you can still turn to high-quality, but still royalty-free libraries.

But if your video has flexible audio requirements, the YouTube Audio library is an amazing resource for high-quality, and free, stock audio and music.

Hopefully our ideas will get you started on your hunt for the perfect track.

And be sure to let us know in the comments below what you think is the best free music to use on YouTube!

Solution Icon - Collaboration and Production Calendar

Project management for creative agencies. Tasks, file sharing, calendars and more.

Manage video production timelines, tasks, storyboards, shot lists, call sheets. Made specifically for video creatives and new media.

Learn More ➜

  • 60