Incorporating music can be beneficial for any commercial project, such as a video advertisement, website background music, podcast, or offline promotions. Music helps to set the tone and stir up emotions, enhancing the overall message and experience. Royalty-free music is popular for commercial projects, as it can often be used legally at a reasonable price. This article will examine what royalty-free music is, how it works, how to use it in commercial situations, where to find it, and discuss common misconceptions.

What is Royalty-Free Music and How Does it Work?

Royalty-free music requires the user to purchase a one-off license to use the track without paying additional royalties. A royalty is the payment made to the copyright holder whenever the material gets played.

Royalties are negotiated by the copyright owner and the licensing agreement doesn't grant the user rights to the copyright. Instead, purchasing a license to use royalty-free music allows the purchaser to use the music for a limited time for a specific, agreed-upon licensing fee.

Royalty-free music platforms or services pay the song's copyright holder the required royalty fees so that you don't have to do it yourself or negotiate a licensing agreement with them directly.

Royalty-free typically means that there aren't any ongoing payments for the purchaser, though there are often restrictions on how the music track can be used. So, it’s important to read the licensing terms carefully when purchasing royalty-free music to use in your commercial content.

Can I Use Royalty-Free Music for Commercial Use?

Yes! You can use royalty-free music for commercial purposes. As long as the license you've obtained permits you to use it in commercial projects, you have the freedom to use the music for your brand without worrying about infringing on copyright. Keep in mind that each license could have particular limitations on its use. Additionally, it's important to note that "royalty-free" means you are free from paying additional royalties, not that the music is free, so you might still need to make a one-time upfront payment to obtain the license.

How to Use Royalty-Free Music for Commercial Use

To utilize royalty-free music legally in your commercial projects, follow these general guidelines:

  1. Find a reputable source: Look for trustworthy platforms that specialize in offering royalty-free music for commercial use. These libraries provide a variety of music genres and styles to suit different project requirements. There are also options like Track Club, which provides unlimited music for commercial use for a monthly subscription fee.
  2. Select the proper license: Royalty-music providers may offer different licenses, so make sure to read up on each one and choose the one that most closely matches your needs. Take into account factors such as the extent of use, duration, and any extra rights you may need, including the ability to alter the song or use it in multiple projects.
  3. Understand usage restrictions: Know the limitations outlined in the license agreement. For example, some licenses might restrict use of the music in specific contexts, such as on radio or television broadcasts.

Where to Find Royalty-Free Commercial Music

If you're wondering where to find royalty-free music, here are some common options:

  1. Online Production Libraries: Numerous online production libraries specialize in offering royalty-free music for commercial and non-commercial use. These platforms provide extensive catalogs of music across different genres and styles.
  2. Stock Media Websites: Stock media websites serve as comprehensive platforms where you can find not only royalty-free stock music but also other creative assets like images, videos, and sound effects to use in your commercial project.
  3. Music Licensing Platforms: Dedicated music licensing platforms connect content creators with music composers and artists. These platforms offer licensed music that can be used in commercial projects. They provide a range of licensing options, including exclusive and non-exclusive tracks, ensuring flexibility in finding the right fit for your project. These include options like Track Club, which provides unlimited music for commercial use for a monthly subscription fee.

When searching for royalty-free commercial music, it's important to evaluate the quality, variety, and licensing terms offered by each source. Take the time to explore different platforms and libraries to find the perfect soundtrack that enhances your commercial projects.

Is There Really "Free" Music for Commercial Use Available?

Since royalty-free music doesn’t necessarily mean “free” of cost, you may be wondering if truly free royalty-free music for commercial use exists. While there are sources that offer music labeled as "free," it's important to understand the nuances and potential limitations associated with them. Let's explore the different options:

  1. Public Domain Music: Music that falls under the public domain is music that is no longer protected by copyright. Public Domain music can be used for commercial purposes, however, it's important to note that not all music in the public domain is equal, and it's essential to verify the terms and conditions of use before including it in your business project.
  2. Creative Commons: Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that offers licensing options so that authors can share their work with others while still protecting their intellectual property. Creative Commons licenses offer a range of permissions and restrictions specified by the creators. To use Creative Commons music commercially, you’ll need to make sure you apply for the appropriate license for your needs.
  3. Cost-Free Royalty-Free Music: Some royalty-free music libraries may provide a selection of royalty-free music that is available at no cost. Although, licensing terms vary, with some libraries allowing commercial use and others prohibiting it. Depending on the site, additional licensing rules could apply, including requiring attribution, additional payment, or limiting the number of projects in which you can use the music.

Is YouTube Music Free for Commercial Use?

It depends, but generally, no. YouTube Music is not inherently free for commercial use, but some tracks can be used in monetized YouTube videos. While YouTube offers a vast library of music tracks free to use, they typically come with usage restrictions. Some tracks may have attribution rules or limit use in certain geographic regions. Usage rules vary from track to track, and YouTube can change licensing information at any time, so the YouTube Audio Library can be tricky to navigate for commercial use.

Common Misconceptions About Royalty-Free Music for Commercial Use

There are a few common misconceptions surrounding royalty-free music for commercial use. Let's address them:

Misconception #1: Royalty-free music is free music.

One of the most widely believed misconceptions about royalty-free music is that you do not have to pay to use royalty-free music. Royalty-free doesn't mean completely free, it means that once you pay the one-time license fee, you can use the song without any additional costs for royalties or licensing fees. Some royalty-free music libraries do offer free tracks, but in many cases, you still need to purchase a license or subscription.

Misconception #2: Royalty-free music is too low-quality and generic for commercial use.

A popular belief is that royalty-free music is that the quality is low or generic. This can be the case for some royalty-free music libraries, but not always. Royalty-free music is a huge market with many providers who have extensive song libraries.

Misconception #3: Royalty-free music is copyright-free.

Another common misconception that is still very prevalent amongst content creators today is that royalty-free music is copyright-free. Remember, royalty-free music is still copyrighted and protected by fair use just like any other music. Making sure you have the necessary license for your commercial project can save you from running into legal issues.

We have a full breakdown explaining royalty-free music vs copyright-free music here.

The Cons of Using Royalty-Free Commercial Music

While royalty-free music is a popular choice for commercial use, it's important to consider the potential drawbacks:

  • Lack of originality & overused tracks: A drawback of using royalty-free music is that some tracks may be overused and lack uniqueness since royalty-free music is widely available and can be used by anyone who purchases a license. If you are selecting music from a popular library, this can lead to a lack of originality in your video and cause your brand to stand out less.
  • Limited customization: Although using royalty-free music can save money, it can be difficult to edit or personalize tracks. For instance, you could come across a fantastic song that almost fits what you're looking for, but would be perfect without the overbearing synth or drums. The lack of customization with royalty-free music becomes an obstacle to your ability to be creative and replicate the vision you have for your project. Music licensing tool Track Club has a built-in song editing tool, which allows you to lower the volume or remove instruments from the mix altogether, and even change BPM.
  • Lower quality: While there are many high-quality royalty-free music tracks available, quality does vary. Some songs could sound generic or have scratchy production. Using lower quality music also runs the risk of decreasing the quality of your project as well.
  • Not all artists receive royalties from royalty-free music: Depending on if a song is registered with a performing rights organization (PRO) or not, the independent artists may not receive any royalties from their songs. Many royalty-free music libraries aren’t registered with PROs, and if the use of a song isn’t properly reported, the original creator won’t see a single penny from their work.

A Better Alternative to Royalty-Free Music for Commercial Use

If you’re looking for a more personalized music licensing experience, Track Club is a perfect alternative.

Track Club’s music library contains a meticulously curated selection of high-quality, authentically crafted music, and uses Smart Filters to simplify your search process, helping you find exactly what you need, quickly.

You won’t have to worry about limited creative freedom either, since you also have the ability to customize your songs with Track Club’s MixLab, which allows you to change the volume of individual stems, change BPM, and more.

A Track Club subscription, starting at just $12 a month, makes the music licensing process more efficient and cost-effective by granting unlimited downloads and sync music licenses for songs in the Track Club catalog, without needing to negotiate with the rights holders. All Track Club tracks are available for commercial use as well!

Track Club takes care of everything from music selection to dealing with legal rights, so all you need to do is focus on choosing and crafting the perfect song for your project.


Understanding the world of royalty-free music for commercial use is essential for content creators, advertisers, and businesses alike. It provides an affordable and legal solution for incorporating music into various projects.

Track Club’s customizable small-batch music library can help you enhance your commercial projects with the perfect soundtrack to captivate your audience and elevate your brand.

Take us for a free test drive today!