Audio — music and sound effects — has a major effect on how the audience will react to your video. While video production will always emphasise footage and its quality, audio is a very important element that should not be neglected. Stock audio is a great resource to boost up the sound in your video.
Now, if you're not a musician nor sound producer, getting custom music and sound effects for your video can be very expensive. And that's where, as always, stock content comes to save the day. Stock audio is a great way to add sonorous richness to your production in a quick and affordable way.
There are many agencies and companies selling royalty free music for videos. Here you'll find a list of the best 5 of them.
Stock Music & Sound Files
Despite how compelling and skill-shot your footage is if it's full of monotonous speeches, long dialogues and in general lacks sound impact, your viewers will not connect to it.
Knowing this, many of the most popular and bigger agencies include audio in their offer, to provide video creatives with the necessary music and sound effects they need to complement footage.
While licensing terms can vary a bit with this content, most agencies offer stock music and sound effects under Royalty Free license, at very affordable prices.
Here's a list of the best sites to buy stock audio:
One of the most popular stock imagery agencies in the industry consistently positioned at top of the market since their launch 13 years ago, Shutterstock has, since a few years, a wide offer in Royalty Free music and sound effects called Shutterstock Music, as well as a stand-alone stock music service named PremiumBeat.
Here's what you can find in Shutterstock's stock audio library:
- Millions of tracks: music, sound effects and more
- Simple a la carte buying system
- Unlimited annual subscription available
- Royalty Free license, but restricted to one project only
Read our full Shutterstock review for more information on Shutterstock's Stock Footage service too.
You can browse and search for tracks in Shutterstock's millions of music and sound effects collections and categories, and but them one by one. All their tracks are in 16-bit WAV format, and compatible with most video and sound editing software. The files allow for basic editing but restrict mashups, remixes and sampling.
Their Royalty Free license for music and sound files limit the usage to one project only, but includes perpetual use in the said project and in supporting material for it. Here's their buying options:
- Standard license, at $49 per track, give you the right to use the file in broadcast projects up to 1 million viewers, and theatrical film projects for one country only.
- Extended license, at $419 per track, gives you right to use the file in unlimited broadcast audiences and in theatrical film productions in as many countries as you wish.
- Use in web or podcasts is unlimited in both licensing types.
- Annual subscription: Unlimited download of tracks, shorts and loops for one year for $199. All files come under Standard license.
Learn more about Shutterstock Music and How to Choose the Right Music for Video here!back to menu ↑
PremiumBeat by Shutterstock
PremiumBeat is, as its name gives away, a premium stock music and sound effects library. Since years its owned by Shutterstock, but it operates independently on their own site, offering a world-class service in stock music.
In PremiumBeat you will find:
- Exclusive, high-end tracks from talented artists including music and sound effects
- Straight-forward on-demand purchase model
- Two types of Royalty Free licenses according to your usage needs
You can get more details in our PremiumBeat review.
PremiumBeat is stock music for music lovers by music lovers. They carefully select their contributing artists and curate only the best of their work to include in their collections. They offer themed playlists around popular themes and genres. And all the content is exclusive to this agency and you won't find it anywhere else. All files are in .wav and MP3 format compatible with most video and audio editing software, some including stems to easily edit individual elements in the track.
They work with Royalty Free license, in Standard and Premium versions. Standard is perpetual and multiuse but restricted to web usage and redistribution under 1000 units. Premium is for TV, theatrical film and bigger purposes, but limited to one project. Here are the pricing details:
- Standard license – $49 per track: Use in personal or professional use, web-based (websites, YouTube, Vimeo, social media, podcasts, etc.) and for-sale projects under 1000 units. Perpetual and multi-project use.
- Premium license – $199 per track: Use in personal and professional projects, including TV, radio, theatrical film and for-profit distribution with a budget under $2 million. Single territory and one project only.
Discover PremiumBeat and it's first-level stock music collections!back to menu ↑
Storyblocks Audio (formerly Audioblocks)
Successful stock media company Storyblocks, popular thanks to their innovative unlimited subscriptions, have a division dedicated to stock audio selling stock music, sound effects and loops files under the same system of unlimited memberships.
Here's a little overview about the service:
- Over 100,000 tracks: music, sound effects and loops.
- Subscription only
- Plans with unlimited downloads available
- Royalty Free licenses
Learn more about the parent company in our full Storyblocks review.
Storyblocks Audio is one of the cheapest deals available to buy stock audio. They only sell memberships (subscriptions), granting you access to unlimited downloads from their library in return for a flat, periodic fee.
Their Royalty Free license, in both Standard and Extended version, gives you multiple usage rights forever, for a one-time pay. Here are their options:
- 3 downloads per month: Monthly $9 – Yearly $99
- Unlimited Downloads: Monthly $15 – Yearly $149 – Save 17% from the monthly price!
- Unlimited All Access (audio, footage, images): Monthly $65 – Yearly $349
All Storyblocks Audio files are available in both WAV and MP3 formats, and require any kind of edit or integration of added value to be used – you cannot use the file as is.
With such convenient prices, it's a very valuable option to buy music and sound effects for your productions.back to menu ↑
Pond5 is a footage-first stock agency. Aiming at being a complete service for footage buyers, they include a wide selection of stock audio in their library, available for single track purchase. And they also have a curated selection of audio files available with a membership plan.
What you need to know:
- Large collection of audio, divided in music and sound effects libraries
- Buy on demand from the entire collection
- Download with membership from a curated selection 15,000 audio files
- Royalty Free licenses
Pond5 has a wide range of prices for on-demand buying, because each contributor sets their own prices. Stock music tracks can be anything from $5 to $300, depending on lenght and quality. Sound effects tracks fall between $1 and $40 each.
A great option is their Premium membership, which lets you get 10 downloads per month from a curated collection that includes HD and 4K footage, stock photos, and 15,000 music and sound effects tracks. Here's the membership options:
- Monthly: $139
- Yearly: $839 (save $360 from monthly price)
Read our full Pond5 review for a deeper look into this agency.
Pond5 audio files are available in 16 or 24 bit WAV or AIFF formats. And they are all under Royalty Free license, giving you great usage flexibility.
If you're looking for a few tracks for your projects, Pond5's broad price range and large collection is a good option to find what you need. And if you want a complete solution for your content needs that covers audio, footage and images, their Premium membership is a good choice.
Sign up for free at Pond5 and browse their music and sound effects collections!back to menu ↑
Getty Images Music
The most renowned stock imagery agency in the world, Getty Images also owns iStock, one of the top microstock stock imagery sites. iStock used to have a royalty free audio collection, that has now migrated to Getty Images Music service, and added Rights Managed licenses as well.
Here's a little overview of what Getty Music has to offer:
- A huge collection of music and sound effects
- A la carte buying, plus playlist creation and sharing
- Royalty Free and Rights Managed licenses
For more details, check our full Getty Images review.
Getty Images Music collection is arranged by categories and is highly searchable. You can buy files on demand, choosing between Royalty Free music or sound effects, or Rights Managed music files. Here's your options:
- Royalty Free license for audio files comes with multiple, non-exclusive and perpetual usage rights, at $50 per music track and $10 per sound effect file.
- Rights Managed music prices depend on the specific rights you require, but its main benefit is that it may include exclusive usage, making you the only one using that particular track for the time your license is valid.
Great music and sound effects from one of the most prestigious stock media agencies in the world, for only $10 to $50 – it's a great deal. And if you're looking for exclusive use of audio, Getty Images is the place to go, as they are one of the few companies offering exclusive usage rights with Rights Managed license.
And a Bonus Sixth Option Just For Youback to menu ↑
The Music Case
The Music Case is a stock music and sound effects library that first opened its doors way back in 2005. Providing royalty free music for thousands of companies worldwide such as advertising giants Ogilvy and digital media and entertainment company Technicolor!
Here’s a quick list of some of their main benefits:
- Over 93,000 Tracks and Audio Effects in their library
- Pay once and use your tracks on as many projects as you like
- Simple payment methods via PayPal in either Euros or Dollars
- 24/7 Customer Support via Live Chat and a Toll Free U.S based number
Covering literally every style and genre that you can think of, The Music Case has a very simple to use interface and with each track tagged, searching through their huge database is a breeze.
Tying all of this up with a very simple licensing scheme that includes either a silver or platinum license, The Music Case should be high on your list of sites to visit when looking for stock music or effects for your projects. Here’s a quick break down on those licenses:
The silver license allows you to use your track of choice on your websites *Excluding advertising, Youtube, Vimeo, Facebook and other monetized social media videos, your crowdfunding promotional videos such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo, Corporate Presentations, non broadcast audio visual productions, home productions, online and offline video games that are distributed for free (i.e Homebrew), Podcasts and hold music.
The platinum license allows all of the above and also allow use in advertising, film, audio books, documentaries, television, venue music such as airports and train stations and unlimited duplication such as on CD and DVD.
Here's their prices!
- Silver: $29
- Platinum: $99
These already crazy prices can be made even lower with an awesome rewards program, offering credits for certain actions such as registering an account, purchases, sharing on your social media accounts and even just simply logging in, you could earn between 5% and 35% discount on any future purchases. And once you have gained a certain reward level, you keep that discount forever, for all your future purchases!
All of the files on offer through The Music Case are available for instant direct offered in WAV format ensuring the maximum quality available along with compatibility with virtually any audio reproduction or editing software!
So if your looking for a cheap, easy to use and reliable place to grab some awesome royalty free music for your next project, be sure to check out The Music Case!
Raise the Sound Impact of your Video with Stock Audio
So now you know: you can have a high-impact, professional sounding video without spending thousands of dollars in commissioning music and sound effects. If you need help or a step-by-step guide, check out this guide on how to add music to video for free (with many software recommendations).
Stock audio is the perfect solution to get sound files to use in your project quickly and cheap. Royalty Free stock music and sound effects are versatile in usage, and super affordable.
Rights Managed can be more expensive, but if you see value in acquiring exclusive use rights, it can pay off.
Plus, the 4 agencies listed above offer you huge collections, with thousands and up to millions of tracks to choose from. You're certain to find the ideal music and effects for your footage in their libraries.
What are you waiting for? Start licensing stock audio and add value to your productions!