Random Tip: [Royalty] Free Music from Incompetech

Incompetech logoBackground music can make a video seem more professional, especially if you don’t include voice-over narration or other audio components in the video. While some music can be distracting, choosing the right piece of music can help the audience stay engaged with the text/graphic content in the video.

I’m not a musician, which would be pretty convenient if I could not only play music but also score original pieces to add to my videos. While I own copies of music that would work well for my purposes, I don’t actually own the rights to reproduce that music. Copyright primer…purchasing or downloading a copy of a song does not give the purchaser rights to use that song for commercial purposes. While Fair Use might extend to educators/students at nonprofit institutions, YouTube and other hosting sites do not typically honor Fair Use and will remove videos that violate copyright by using music without clearly indicating copyright permission. Sorry for that legal aside, but I’m from a generation that gloried in the beauty of “file sharing” music only to have it ripped away from everyone and described as theft (with extreme consequences).

Kudos to Kevin MacLeod for coming to my rescue! I don’t have to take music lessons now because he’s willing to share his amazing background music clips on his website: http://incompetech.com/music/royalty-free/music.html. At first I felt a bit guilty for benefiting from his musical talents, but he explains his willingness to share as a means to help out those who don’t have budgets for music.

MacLeod's philosophy graphic

This is an excerpt from Mr. MacLeod’s website (FAQ section). Here he explains why he’s willing to share his work without requiring financial compensation, just attribution.

The website is really easy to use. I know I could get lost for hours just sampling his music, so I just randomly picked some to listen to and made my decision quickly.

Incompetech music preview screen shot

Here is a screen shot of what it looks like when looking and previewing available songs. I love his descriptions of the music…not just the instruments, but the feeling that the music should elicit.

Please respect Mr. MacLeod’s request to give him credit for his work. As someone who shares her work with others for free, I can attest to the faith artists have that their sharing won’t be abused. Giving credit is very simple since the copyright language is provided and can be copied into the credits of the video or other location in the work you’re creating. Should you prefer to not provide attribution, then you can pay for the no-attribution license. If you feel better about using an attributed version by donating to the artist, there’s that option if you have a PayPal account: Donate.

Incompetech copyright and crediting language

This excerpt is also from Mr. MacLeod’s website. Be sure to follow his suggestions for providing attribution.

You can even find him on YouTube, as seen in the clip below.




One thought on “Random Tip: [Royalty] Free Music from Incompetech

  1. So at first I was really excited when I saw the title of this article. Then near the end I discovered that it was the normal free-music-with-attribution deal that many artists use to promote. A good resource, I thought, but not a great one.

    Then I visited his site. It’s not fancy, but it has something I haven’t seen in other places when looking for background music: beats per minute! That’s a nice touch. There is a good selection and variety as well.

    But what I really loved was the table formatting he used. It is actually something I’ve been looking for… A table that has tons of detailed data under each row but the first look of the table has just the important browsing data. The only big downside is that the text contained (hidden) inside his rows is not indexed! That is sad. Especially for this guy, because the content under each row is GOLDEN. Seriously, that’s some humorous writing. I’d love to come up with some workaround to make sure the engines can see all the text.

    Thanks for sharing! I bookmarked his site.

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