Best Music Licensing Platforms For Your Video Projects
One of the hardest things for me when producing video content is navigating music licenses and platforms. The vastness of options and limitations of licenses have made the process – until recently – very challenging. Depending on the type of project you are producing – especially larger commercial / corporate clients, it can be cost restrictive. Although I value the effort musicians put into their work, I have been frustrated when the cost of many tracks is over half the entire budget. Personally, I’ve been quoted as high as $150k for a three month term geo-gated! With this in mind and in light of the new platforms that have become available, I thought it would be a great time to revisit the options and offer some insight when navigating through this process.
Before jumping into this post, make sure to check out an extensive breakdown I have done previously that looks at the options that used to be my go-to’s as well as what made each of them unique. Keep in mind that the list is currently outdated but many points are still relevant when producing personal projects.
For this post, my goal is to discuss not only the options that exist but also the terms of licenses that come with each. It is important that you read the terms and conditions as many situations require unique custom quotes. My goal is to highlight some of the new platforms while also addressing usage options. I will be basing the ratings off of the flexibility of usage across all genres.
When choosing the best music for your videos, it is important to understand how you plan to share the video (distribution platforms), a rough idea of audience size and terms of usage. By knowing this information BEFORE you start looking for tracks for your project, you can avoid some of the disappointment of finding these tracks are cost restrictive.
Now unlike the previous post I created, this one focuses more on the price/quality paradigm, not platform usability. This scale from top down is focused on the most flexible and useful option to most restrictive / less flexible option. This accounts for budget, quality content and resourcefulness.
Price: $10/month. Best use: All video production styles.
Soundtripe is another great new’ish’ option on the market as well. Pricing is incredibly cheap (even cheaper as of recently where they removed all additional pricing based on usage) but you will spend more time trying to find songs that work for you. For me, there are definitely tracks I like but it does take some more time to find them. Currently I am in post production on a feature film and have relied almost solely on this source for it.
UPDATE: Soundstripe pricing set to increase slightly to ensure the platform can remain competitive – though it doesn’t sound like it will be a large increase to the pricing listed below. If you are currently a user and don’t let your membership lapse, the price will not change for you. I will post an update when it is made available.
Usage Terms: Terms are pretty open, similar to art-list –
however, rates do increase slightly the larger the audience – up to $267. and pricing is now only $10/month subscription-based. Further to this, if the given project has credits, by using this service, you agree to also include credits for the musician. That is more than fair in my opinion. If User accords credits in the Program to anyone with respect to the production, then User agrees to provide substantially the following customary credit for the Work in the Program: “[Title of Work]” by [Artist Name] courtesy of Soundstripe. One thing to note about pricing is that if you are not a member, your rates go up slightly as well. Licenses are for worldwide usage in perpetuity so no need to worry about those pesky 1 year license terms. For more information, check out their licensing terms.
Price: $199/year. Best use: All video production styles.
Art-list.io is another one of the new options on the market and is finally out of beta. Not only is the quality of library great, it offers competitive pricing that puts the creative spark back in my step when it comes to selecting unique music that doesn’t cripple my production budgets.
Usage Terms: The usage terms for this option is very flexible. Any song that is downloaded with a current subscription can be used in a film/video in perpetuity – meaning they will never ask for additional fees in the future or that the song be removed from circulation even after the subscription expires. Once you download a song with a subscription it’s yours to use forever – period. You can use the music on every platform and medium that exists today. Plus their license will cover mediums that haven’t even been invented yet. This means that film, TV, podcasts, virtual reality, video games, mobile, etc are all fair game. The license allows you to use the music in any broadcast platform as part of a final film/video project. The music is not for use by itself or without a video. For more information, check out their licensing terms.
3. Music Vine
Price: Personal starting at $40; Promotional / Branded Content starting at $80. Best Use: All video production styles.
Our third new platform on the market is Music Vine. Music Vine is another affordable option that positions them as a great source for all types of productions. The founders at Music Vine are on a mission to democratize great music and make it legitimately affordable for everybody, and so far, the site is very much living up to that vision. The quality of content is pretty impressive and the library is growing regularly.
Usage Terms: All Music Vine licenses are non-exclusive, whereby Music Vine grants you a limited right to use a certain piece of recorded music (including a musical composition), hereby referred to as the “Recording.” This license is valid in perpetuity and for the World unless specifically indicated below. In consideration of the license, you hereby agree to pay Music Vine a certain license fee according to our website rates (prices vary depending on length of track and license tier). For more information, check out their licensing terms.
Price: Starting at $199. Best use: Passion Projects, Small Corporate / Commercial productions.
I really wanted to place Marmoset higher on my list because the team working here are by far the best out of the lot in ensuring your experience – whether sourcing tracks for passion projects or branded content – is the best it can be. Customer experience is remarkable and makes me want to come back for more. Unfortunately for me, I tend to rely on their services more for passion projects or smaller corporate productions.
Usage Terms: With Marmoset, most licenses are now in perpetuity so you don’t need to worry about those yearly renewals. That being said, that only really applies to your personal and small business licenses. Most medium to large branded content still requires a custom quote where prices can increase quickly. Their team is amazing to work with. For more information, check out their licensing terms.
Price: Programming starting at $199; Promotional / Branded Content starting at $299. Best use: Passion Projects.
What used to separate The Music Bed for me was the quality of content and competitive pricing. However, as more options have become available with much more flexible licenses and lower prices, their edge isn’t what it used to be for me. In my opinion, the library over at The Music Bed is one of the best on the market. It pains me to rank them so low in this post but I am basing this off of commercial quoting on some past projects. Finding quality content isn’t the issue – the issue for me has become price for a lot of the work I have been doing as of recent. It truly isn’t a viable option for many corporate or commercial projects with quotes coming in around 25% of the total production budget.
Price: Personal usage $49; Corporate / Commercial $199. Best use: Corporate / Commercial productions.
I’ve relied on Premiumbeat for a vast number of projects because of their user experience when selecting tracks as well as their length versioning they do. However, the biggest disadvantage is the quality of content and growing library. Their library of good music is pretty limited.
Usage Terms: Usage is also in perpetuity and is broken down into two categories. For most business usages, going the premium route of $199 is the safest to ensure you have the coverage you need for branded content. For more information, check out their licensing terms.
Other Mentionable Platforms
I’ve also included a few other options below. I haven’t done a breakdown of any of them for this post because frankly, I don’t use them. Feel free to poke around to see if any option is a good fit for you.
- Triple Scoop Music
- Audio Network
- BeatSuite (I did find some great tracks but the user interface is challenging)
- Total Media Tracks
- Soundscape Media
If you have any other suggestions, please comment below and I will add to the list.