Finding the perfect track for any piece of media is always a challenge. If the budget does not permit a custom score (many projects do not, especially when you’re first starting out) then you’ll be left looking for the perfect stock track that can be edited for your purposes.
So what if you have ZERO budget for audio or you just want to put together a piece for fun. (Disclaimer: Paid advertising work needs to have an audio budget. It’s not right to avoid paying musicians and artists for media that serves as advertising.)
Check out a list of places you can find some free music under the creative commons license.
The Vimeo Music Store is an interesting mix of tracks. With only limited search parameters it requires a bit of patience. But still, an amazing resource for finding audio.
FreeMusicArchive.org is an interesting resource. Many contributors have uploaded their work under the creative commons. With the ability to search by genre you could spend hours sifting through their archive of audio goodness.
Jamendo is another vast library of audio under the CC. Definitely worth a look.
OpSound is a bit less user friendly taking more of an archive approach. But if you’re willing to be patient with the search processes there is a lot of audio here.
BeatPick is not 100% free, but many of their student licenses are only a few dollars. If you find something that is spot on, might be worth giving them a few dollars. For paid advertising their prices are much higher, but it’s clear they are trying to be a resource for students in a big way.
If you have a small budget to work with there are low cost avenues as well.
http://www.themusicbed.com (Expensive license for paid ads, but good for non-profit)
So for your next late night animation tests when you need that perfect piece of audio to set the mood or pace, consider some of these options. And be sure to properly give attribution to the artists who are being gracious with their intellectual property, if you decide to post to the web.
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