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Where to Find Background Music

When you want to use music in your screencasts, unless you create it yourself or get explicit rights from a composer, you will generally need to obtain a license to use that music. You might think that music you downloaded on iTunes for your iPod would work perfectly… but think again! When you buy a CD, or a song from iTunes, you are really only buying a license to listen to that music in the privacy of your home or car, and in your own music player. To use that music for your promotional screencast or podcast would require a different usage license. So what are your options? You can compose music yourself, you can find artists who are willing to give away the usage rights to use their music, you can pay per usage fees for rights-protected music, or you can use royalty free music.

Royalty free music
For many, including me, royalty free music is the most cost-effective route. Royalty free music means that you only pay a one-time license fee to use the music, and you do not pay a per-use royalty to the composer or publisher. There are millions of royalty free songs available – usually not what you’d hear on the radio – but perfectly suitable for many projects.

Where to find royalty free music
The most obvious place to find music for your webcast is the Telestream Stock Media Library, which was introduced in Wirecast v12. This library has well over 500,000 assets – video, audio, backgrounds and graphics – and is included at no cost to all customers who have either Standard or Premium support subscription in good standing. Audio files are available as full tracks, loops and sound effects. Most of the full tracks are around 2 minutes long, while the loops and sound effects have durations measured in seconds.

All are searchable directly in the Wirecast user interface, which really speeds up the process, and all are available as uncompressed WAV files or as MP3 files. All come with a no-cost complete license for use. The best thing about this? If you already have an up-to-date support subscription (and why wouldn’t you?), there is no cost for any of the Stock Media Library footage. That can save you thousands of dollars over the course of a year!

To be fair, there are other options available too – though you’ll have to pay for each audio track you want to use in your production. In fact, online royalty free music libraries abound. Most sites have a standard license agreement that includes royalty free usage for corporate, educational, and promotional videos; websites and online media such as podcasts; presentations, and promotional media.

However, many sites require additional licensing for higher end applications such as TV advertising or for national or worldwide broadcasting. So be sure to check the license agreements for your particular usage before you buy.

Here are a few good-sized royalty free music libraries that I have found:

Musicbakery.com

Organization: They sort their catalog by Purpose (action, horror, weddings, etc.), Genre (hip-hop, rock, new age, etc.) and Mood (angry, peaceful, scary, etc.)
Variations: For each track you can choose from several lengths for your download, from as little as 10 seconds to the entire track
Cost: Music is priced by the number of seconds/minutes you want to download. Most of the music I was looking at was around $39 for 60 seconds. But there’s not a huge range of price. The 9 second and 15 second tracks were often $27-$34– so not much different from buying the 60 second version.
Formats: Music is available in WAV format
Neo Sounds:

Organization: They sort their catalog in several ways: Music Styles, Production Genres, Mood/Emotions, Instruments
Variations: Depends on the song. Some songs only have the full track available; others have 60 second, 30 second and several loops available
Cost: They have more of a range of prices than Music Bakery. Generally, a 60 second clip runs between $24-$30.
Formats: Music is available in .MP3, and .WAV formats
Premiumbeat.com

Organization: Alphabetically by genre (corporate, heavy metal, soundtrack, etc)
Variations: Music comes in only in full track or a loop set
Cost: Full tracks are generally around $49
Format: Music is available in .WAV format
Shockwave Sound

Organization: Alphabetically by music genres, with a handy search box that can be limited to just a genre or to the whole collection
Variations: Music comes in multiple versions; often tracks will have several 30 second versions, several 60 second versions a few loop sets and a full track
Cost: Depends on the length of the track. Generally, 60 second versions are around $23
Format: Music is available in .MP3, and .WAV formats
This site also has a nice collection of sound effects
The Beat Suite

Organization: Organized alphabetically by one long list of types/genres/purposes
Variations: Music comes as a full track
Cost: $60 for a full track
Format: Music is available in .MP3, and .WAV formats
These are just a few of the many sites out there. If you have a site you use that you’d recommend, let our users know!

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