Frequently Asked Questions

Pre-FAQ

It says the music is royalty-free. Is it okay if I use it?
Anyone can use any of my music in any project.*

Is it okay is I use your music in a non-profit project?
Anyone can use any of my music in any project.*

Can I use your music in my YouTube videos? I don't want to make any money.
Anyone can use any of my music in any project.*

I want to put ads on my videos on YouTube. Can I use your music for that?
Anyone can use any of my music in any project.*

I'm making a mobile app, and want to use your music. Is that okay?
Anyone can use any of my music in any project.*

*You do need to attribute correctly if you are using the Creative Commons license or pay for the no-attribution license, if you choose that one.

About Copyright

YouTube-Specific Questions

Twitch and live-streaming Questions

Crediting

How do I place a credit for this music in my project?

Title Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/


It is important that you replace the word Title with the Actual Title of the piece that you are using! The Licenses page has a quick copy-paste feature that makes it all very easy!

Do I have to put the credit where people can see it?
Yes. Credits change from media to media - but in general a credit needs to be placed such that a person who wants to know where the music came from should have no difficulty in finding it. A reasonable effort may be expended (e.g. clicking on a credits option) but the credit should not be obscured.

Some common examples...
Videos YouTube and Vimeo credits can be placed in the video description or in the video itself.
Streaming On your profile page, add a "Music" section to place the credits. [More Info]
Video Games Most commonly, credits are placed on a "Credits" screen found in the settings menu.
Live Production Credits should be placed in the program for the production. If no program exists, a voice announcement can be made.
Films Credits should be placed in the credits portion of the film, either before or after the main film section.
Podcast/Audio Production Credits should be voiced - usually at the end of the production.
TV/Radio Ads It is more common to purchase a "Standard License", but credits may be shown visually in the production, or done as a voice-over in audio-only media.
Music on Hold It is more common to purchase a "Phone System License", but it is possible to record a voice-over for each piece of music used.
Background Music It is more common to purchase a "Retail Location License", but credits may be posted in a public area of the retail space.
What if I cannot credit you?
If you are interested in using a piece in a television broadcast or radio commercial, or some other format where credits are impossible, obtain a Standard License.

Philosophy

Why do you allow people to use your music and don't charge for it?
There are many reasons. The cost for me to share music is low, and the benefits are high. There are a lot of schools with no money, and plenty of film makers who want to have music - but can't afford to clear copyrights from the existing systems that are set up. I believe that copyright is badly broken, so I chose a license that allows me to to give away the rights I wish to surrender. We really have no hope of overturning the existing copyright situation, but we can and are creating an alternate body of works that are able to compete with them. In time, I hope that Creative Commons (and similar alternatives to standard copyright) will be common and successful enough to be the dominant choice for artists' new creative works. If you hold tightly to your creative works, they become impossible to share. If your art isn't experienced by people, it serves no purpose in society.

Hiring / Commissions

Can you write original music for my project?
Yes. That's what I do. Simple short scores cost less than complex long scores.


Will you score new original pieces for my project for free?
No. Sorry.

I want a piece of music that sounds just like this song I have, but different enough so that I don't have to pay licensing fees. Will you make it?
No. Sorry, I do not do sound-alikes.

Technical

How do I get files in other formats?
There are times when you need files at lower bitrates, or in other formats for editing compatibility issues... You can transcode them in iTunes.
  1. Open up iTunes
  2. Open the iTunes preferences
  3. Select the "General" tab
  4. Select the "Import Settings" button
  5. Change the "Import Using" to your desired target file format
    (set optional settings such as bit rate)
  6. Click "Ok"
  7. Load the song into iTunes
  8. Go to the Advanced menu and select "Convert selection to ..."
  9. Repeat steps 7 and 8 for all files you want to convert.


I am trying to open your mp3 files in Microsoft [something] - and is says they are corrupted. Any ideas?
Yes. It appears that the mp3 libraries that MS uses for its consumer apps don't like the 320kbps (vbs) files that I post. You can transcode the music to WAV using the instructions below.

Poptent

Will you sign a form with Poptent so I can enter my video with them?
Short answer: no.

Longer answer: There is a major incompatibility with the Poptent release form (Section 1c) and the Creative Commons. Poptent's license states:
Owner will not authorize or permit the use of the Property in connection with the advertising or promotion of any product or service that competes directly with Client’s products or services.
I will allow anyone to use my music. That includes direct competitors. If you really need a piece I've written, contact me directly. I will get you a quote on a full buy-out of any piece you like (The cost depends greatly on the popularity of the piece - $800 minimum, but most are significantly more.).

Alternately, I could get you a quote on a similar custom composition with exclusive rights ($1,200 minimum.).


Can you recommend another production music library that I could use?
Here's the bad news; I don't think you can use general production music libraries. They don't know who they've sold to and they can not warrent that one of their former sales was not to a direct competitor. You can always try to strike a deal for exclusive rights, or limited rights. It'll probably be more expensive than you figured.


GEMA

GEMA is bugging me. Can you send me a statement so that I can show them it is okay to use your music?
Yup! Thing that says you can use my music without GEMA bugging you.

Everything Else

What is the name of the piece of music I found...?
I probably don't know. Over the last 6 years, I've produced about 2,000 pieces of music. I don't remember the titles at all. At best, I could tell you if I wrote the piece. If you want to know the name of the piece, contact the producer of the video, and ask them.


What pieces of music should I use in my movie/game/short/ad/presentation?
I cannot offer commentary on this. It takes a lot of time with the director to understand what they are trying to do with piece, and find music that supports their intent. If you would like to hire me as a consultant, please do email me.

What software do you use?
Software FAQ

Is this music free to use?
Yes. An optional donation of $5 per piece used is suggested - and highly appreciated. You do NOT need a PayPal account to make a donation! Just a credit card.

Is my donation deductable at all?
I'm not a tax expert, but I seriously doubt it. I'm not a non-profit; I have no board.

Is this music in the Public Domain?
No. Though some of the baroque and classical compositions are in the public domain; these recordings are not.

Did you write all of these?
Yes. Exceptions are clearly marked (e.g. Beethoven). I did produce all of these.

Is there sheet music available?
Rarely. Exceptions are noted in the descriptions.

Can I change your music?
Yes, you can sing over, chop, splice, compress, lengthen, and add instruments to anything you like. You MUST make it clear in the credits which parts are yours, and which parts are mine. There is no need to mention if you cut and splice.

I need your signature for [ my school / a competition / a festival ]. Can you sign this form and send it back to me?
I don't have a scanner or a fax machine, and I really dislike reading those things. The truth of the matter is the Creative Commons license that I offer all of my music under almost always gives you more rights than those contracts.

How do you prove to the powers-that-be that the music is clear, then?
  1. Print out the actual license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/legalcode
  2. Print out the page from my site that shows the piece of music that you are using. Make sure that it includes the URL (this happens by default on most browsers) and also the CC logo at the bottom of the screen.
That's it!

Do you do Sound Design for films or video games?
I do not. But try this guy! I hear he can do that sort of thing, and actually LIKES it! (Demo)


What happened to [piece of music]? I can't find it anymore.
From time to time, I move some of the less commercially successful pieces over to my other site at FreePD.com. Look for it over there.


What are ISRC Numbers?
ISRC numbers listed on each track are unique identifiers for that recording. If you don't have a use for this number - don't worry about it. Some people need them. For example - if someone challenges your claim to use my music - claiming that they own the rights, you can respond with this number to show where the track came from. Here is the list of all allocated ISRC numbers of tracks on this site.

Do you know of any other places I can get good music?
Yes. Try my friends...
New! Brett Van Donsel Music - High quality useful musics!
natentine - 50+ pieces!
Andy Cohen - 18 pieces. Dreamy acoustic!
Silverman Sound - 10+ pieces as of early 2016. More on the way!
Josh Woodward 200+ Pieces. Easy Downloads!
Jason Shaw (audionautix) - 250+ pieces. Excellent production
Sleep Facing West - just a few VERY high quality pieces.
Kongano - Dozens of pieces with bright production.
TEKNOAXE - Hundreds of pieces... Lots of 8-bit and Techno.
Tim Beek - 150+ pieces, familiar interface. :-)
Twin Musicom - Good variety for films. 100+ pieces.
James Richardson - About 40 pieces.
Anthony Kozar - interesting ambient pieces
PP Songs - about 30 pieces.
Matt McFarland - over 50 instrumental pieces


None of those had what I wanted...
You probably need to try a commercial site.
JewelBeat - more music than all of the free sources combined.
SmartSound - customize music mixes and lengths.