If you look for options to license music for your creative project, here are the best 9 stock music sites for video, film, and podcasts [updated for 2023].
Over the last decade the term “stock” like stock music or stock video has changed its meaning from low-quality and cheesy to affordable and good quality. Stock audio used to have a bad reputation as inferior quality and old. Those days are gone as stock music is now part of any creative process.
Stock music is very different today. It’s no longer that boring sax melody played in elevators. Stock music is a growing industry that offers so many options to video editors, filmmakers, and podcasters. Stock music comes in various moods and genres, with and without vocals.
Since music is so important in any type of media project: from explainer videos to film projects, there is no wonder why there are so many stock music sites in 2023. The question is not whether to use stock music in your projects. It’s rather what site to consider, what track to download, and what music license to get.
A quick search for “stock music” on Google will reveal at least 20-25 sites that sell stock music. In our work we prefer working with a select number of stock music sites. Our use cases vary from YouTube videos to Instagram and Tiktok videos, from short films to corporate videos. Unfortunately, one single stock music site will not meet all these needs. Why that? Each stock music site has its own specific angle, type of music, pricing structure, and music licensing rules. So let’s take a look at the stock music sites that we recommend to consider for your video and audio projects. They are all paid sites, but some of them may have free music in the mix.
PremiumBeat offers exclusive handpicked music. All their music tracks are royalty-free meaning you can license them for a fee. In 2022 PremiumBeat has over 20,000 music tracks that you can license on-demand or within a music subscription. PremiumBeat is a good fit for small teams, freelance editors, indie filmmakers.
PremiumBeat’s music also powers the new Unlimited Music subscription from Shutterstock (15,000 tracks are available in this new unlimited music subscription). This promo code – FF10 – will give you 10% off this new unlimited subscription. Apply it at checkout.
New! In 2023 PremiumBeat announced their first-ever annual subscription. For $585/year you will have access to 60 tracks within a period of 12 months. This comes down to under $10 per track, which is a good deal for those with projects demanding several high-quality music tracks.
- PremiumBeat’s music is exclusive. You will not find their music on any other music site. Classic music is an exception in terms of composition.
- PremiumBeat’s roster of artists is relatively small. Each music track goes through several approval levels before it makes to the site.
- Pricing is affordable with the music subscription. You have access to 5 tracks per month. This comes down to a licensing fee of under $13 per track.
- Licensing is permissive. You may need the enhanced license for theatrical and film releases.
PremiumBeat accepts the major credit cards and Paypal.
Musicbed is not a royalty-free music site. Their music is rights managed. In other words, Musicbed acts more like a music label that licenses music from indie musicians and bands to filmmakers and video professionals.
Musicbed is a good fit for agencies that need unique sounds with custom licensing. Musicbed works with music bands and shares licensing revenues with them. You can also order custom music from Musicbed, but it’s all discussed separately with their sales team.
New! Musicbed reduced the price of their annual unlimited subscription to $109/month. If you are a small team working on online videos, you may consider this music subscription. Plus, you can use these promo codes to license their single songs and get their music subscription for less before June 30, 2023.
Promo code for single songs: MUSICBED20 to get 20% off each song.
Promo code for music subscription: MUSICBED10 to get 10% off new annual subscriptions.
- Solid music search on the site. A rich variety of genres.
- A good amount of indie bands whose music is available on the site.
- Pricing depends on your project type and distribution. You can calculate the approximate licensing fee on the site, before committing to anything.
Soundstripe is a relatively new music library that offers 3 types of subscriptions to creative assets: Music Only, Music + SFX, Music + SFX + Footage.
Soundstripe is focused on unlimited all-you-can-eat annual subscriptions. Music licensing covers the assets during your subscription. The moment you cancel your music subscription, you should not be using the downloaded assets in any new projects.
- Over 30,000 tracks in the music library
- Convenient unlimited subscriptions that allow to choose between music only and the other types of assets needed for video production.
Soundstripe accepts the major credit cards and Paypal.
Audiojungle is a massive stock music marketplace with over 1M audio files. It hosts thousands of music tracks. When it comes to the quantity of music, Audiojungle is probably the largest site in the world.
They were able to grow their marketplace by allowing all types of musicians to sell their work on the site. This means that Audiojungle may have real gems that cost only a couple of dollars.
The big caveat is to browse through the thousands of tracks to find the right one.
- Lowest prices on stock music in the industry
- Affiliation with Envato, a massive site offering stock videos, SFX, video templates.
Audiojungle like the other Envato sites accepts the major credit cards and Paypal as the payment methods.
More Stock Music Sites
Here are 5 more stock music sites that you may want to consider.
Shutterstock, a well-known stock image library, has a productive music section where you can get over 20,000 music tracks. They are affiliated with PremiumBeat, but the music library differs. Shutterstock Music’s subscription is more permissive and cheaper (per-track) than PremiumBeat’s. You are still limited to several music tracks per month in your music subscription. The online licensing covers the majority of online use cases.
Shutterstock has recently announced a new music subscription powered by PremiumBeat. This unlimited music subscription offers more to creators than any other music site. It includes 13,000 music tracks and 8,000 sound effects. This promo code – FF10 – will allow you to get a further 10% off (apply it at checkout).
Storyblocks is another site that offers multiple asset types like video clips, sound effects, images, and stock music. They offer unlimited subscriptions, which is convenient for high-output teams.
Even though Artlist’s choice of music may be limited, Artlist’s music subscription is affordable for both small teams and freelance pros. Their collection of sound effects is impressive, though. The music collection is smaller, only 10,000+ tracks.
We have analyzed Epidemic Sound’s business model in this detailed article. Despite the drawbacks we expressed, Epidemic Sound has a good collection of music tracks, close to 30,000 tracks. Pay attention to their licensing and limitations, though.
Pond5 has a large collection of audio files – over 1.5M assets. This is a mix of both music and sound effects (mostly SFX). Their music library resembles that of Audiojungle where artists of different levels of expertise can submit their work to. Music licenses start at $7 per track.
Pond5 announced their new unlimited music and SFX subscriptions. The cost per audio item is now as low as $3.
Top Stock Music Subscriptions
If your video output is several videos a month, you may need a good amount of music. A music subscription is the way to go. We have mentioned that the top stock music sites offer subscriptions if you need more tracks each month. Are these music plans equal? Is “unlimited downloads” at a low price so appetizing like they sound?
Low prices on music subscriptions don’t mean they are a good deal. The lowest price available usually comes with the music license covering only personal projects or other restrictions. You may need to pay a higher licensing fee if your projects are for commercial use (or online monetization).
Let’s take a look and rank the music subscriptions by value to the video community. The value includes the price paired with the licensing.
1. Shutterstock Music Subscription
The annual subscription costs $199 in 2023. It comes down to $19 per month. During each month you can download up to 40 tracks. So it’s under $1 per track. Usage: both personal and commercial. This music subscription is our best pick!
2. Artlist Music Subscription
Artlist offer the lowest-priced unlimited music subscription in the industry. Starting at $10 per month when you pay for the full year (~$120/year), you get unlimited downloads. But this subscription covers only personal use limited to social media.
For $16.60/month when paid annually ($199) you are allowed to use the music commercially. The cost per track is around $1.
Because of these restrictions and limitations, Artlist’s sub is our 2nd pick.
3. PremiumBeat Music Subscription
In 2023 PremiumBeat’s monthly subscription is $65. With 5 exclusive tracks allowed, the cost per tracks is around $13. The commitment is 3 months and then you pay monthly. Because of the higher monthly price and limited number of tracks, this music sub is our 3rd choice.
In April 2023 PremiumBeat added a new annual subscription where for $585 you get access to 60 tracks. This comes down to under $10 per track.
4. Audiojungle/Envato Subscription
The unlimited music subscription from Envato comes down to around $17 per month. Within this music subscription you get limited commercial use. This sub made it to this list because it includes SFX and images in the mix.
5. Epidemic Sound Subscription
Epidemic Sound’s subscription comes down to $12/month for personal use and $25/month to include commercial use. Epidemic Sound’s restrictions are the most strict in our top list, which places this stock music site last in this top 5.
Using Stock Music Creatively
If you still wonder where it’s better to keep licensing individual tracks or sign up for a stock music subscription, we’d recommend the subscription. By having access to more music tracks, you should be able to get more creative with the audio track in your film or video project. Here are just a couple of tips and experimentations:
In 2023 you have a lot of choice when it comes to stock music sites. There will be a couple of things that should drive your decision about what site to use. Start with your budget. The type and variety of music (exclusive or not) follow. Time needed to find the right fit will be the third.
Need more paid and free stock music? Check out these resources: