【How-to】How to Find Good Music –

Where to Find Good Background Music for Videos

So where does one actually look for background music for videos? There are limitless sites to choose from, but it’s important that you understand how music rights and usage work.

Most music out there was created by someone who wants to be compensated or at least recognized for it. If it was recorded by a major music production company, you’d better bet their lawyers are on the hunt for copyright infringements, so double-check everything before you use it publicly.

You’ll probably see the term ‘royalty-free’ applied to lots of music, and it’s a bit misleading—it doesn’t mean it’s free to use. It means that you can purchase the track once and use it an unlimited number of times without paying a royalty, or paying a tiny percentage every time it’s used. The opposite of royalty-free music is rights-managed music, where you have to pay a royalty.

Here’s an example: If I pay for a royalty-free track that goes in my YouTube video, which then goes viral, I don’t pay extra. But if I used a rights managed tune, I pay the composer extra based on how many people watched.

Four Types of Song Licenses You’ll Find Online:

  • Free: Any music in the public domain or which has a creative commons license, of which there are several types, ranging from completely free to free if you provide attribution to the artist.
  • Limited License: A royalty-free song that you can use for a non-commercial purpose, such as an internal training video, but if you use it for marketing, you have to pay.
  • Paid License: A royalty-free song you pay for and use an unlimited number of times, even in a marketing video. Could also be a custom track you commissioned.
  • Rights Managed: A song you pay for based on how much it’s used or how many people listen.

Marketers looking for music to use for videos can probably expect to use mostly free and paid license tracks.


Prefer the DIY approach to finding music for your films? We get it. That’s why we’ve built the industry’s most robust search engine, designed to help you navigate our extensive roster in just a matter of seconds. 

Once you’re logged into your free account, click the ‘Browse’ button in the main navigation at the top of the site. In this view, you’re seeing every song in our roster—all 477 pages of them. So, to start narrowing down to the perfect song, use our filters, which populate on the left-hand side of your screen. 

Types of filters

Types of filters

Genre: Choose from 20 different styles of music, ranging from hip-hop to ambient and everything in between. 

Mood: Have a scene in mind, but not a genre? Think about what sort of emotion you’re trying to convey and choose from 14 different moods.

Artist: A lot of filmmakers have their go-to artists or want to seek out a new favorite. With this filter, you can see each of our artist’s work—more than 700 of them.

Attributes: If you’re looking for something specific, this is your place. Choose from 82 different attributes, like ‘Earthy’ or ‘French’. 

Instrument: If your scene calls for a violin—or definitely doesn’t call for a banjo—you can narrow your search by 40+ instruments with this filter.

Advanced: Under this menu, you can search by vocals (male, female, choir, etc.), the type of build a song has, song length, and even BPM, which is handy if you need a song for a tense scene or a slow, moody scene. 

How to use filters

Now here’s how the filters work. Under each filter menu, you can click the ‘check’ to include that filter in your search or you can click the ‘x’ to exclude the filter for your search. For example, if you click the ‘check’ by the ‘piano’ filter under instruments, you’ll now be seeing every song on Musicbed that features a piano. If you click the ‘x’ on the same filter, you’ll be seeing every song except for songs featuring a piano. 

You can make this search as specific as you want by combining filters, too. So, if you include ‘Sad’ under mood and exclude ‘Piano’ under instruments, you’ll be seeing every sad song that doesn’t feature a piano. You can include and exclude any number of filters to hone in on the perfect song.

One last tip. You can also click on any song in our roster, scroll down to the Details section on its page, and see exactly which filters are assigned to it. So, if you love a song’s vibe and want to find more like it, you can see exactly how to search for it on our platform by reverse-engineering its tags. 

With our set of filters and search tools, you can begin to narrow down more than 20,000 songs to exactly what you want in just a matter of seconds. The combinations are limitless and so are the opportunities. 


For music: Last.fm

Last.fm produces a host of interesting data from y
Last.fm produces a host of interesting data from your music listening history. David Nield/Popular Science

If you don’t limit your listening to a single service, consider getting recommendations from the third-party app Last.fm. It can track everything you listen to across multiple apps and services, including Spotify and iTunes. Not only does it crunch that listening history into interesting stats and charts, Last.fm also powers a scarily good recommendation engine. Just click the Play your recommendations link on the front page of the site and enjoy.

The free service can also surface individual artists, albums, and tracks that you might dig based on what you’ve listening to in the past. It even connects you to like-minded music fans from around the world. Whether you want to track your listening across multiple services, need spot-on recommendations, or both, Last.fm can help.

Oscar Czarnecki

a teen

My primary source for new music is Pitchfork. I visit the Pitchfork website at least twice a day and make sure to look for the big headlines, Best New Artists, Best New Music, etc. I also listen to the playlists that Pitchfork curates on Apple Music. On Apple Music I listen to Beats 1 Radio and “Blonded Radio,” curated by Frank Ocean and I steal a lot of my tracks from those playlists.

I use Instagram to keep me updated minute by minute on the latest music news. I follow all my favorite artists on Instagram as well as Pitchfork's Instagram account. Another simpler source I use is Apple Music's newest songs, which they update every Friday on the landing page. I try to stay away from looking at the Top Ten list on Apple Music because I don't want to be influenced by what other people like. I’d rather make choices based on my own taste.

Drew Magary

GQ correspondent

[extreme dad voice] Hey guys, have you heard of this guy called The Weeknd? He’s a pretty talented! I think he kinda sounds like Michael Jackson! I never would have known about him if it weren’t for my kids demanding Top 40 stuff on the radio whenever we’re in the car. I used to scoff at pop music, because I like COOL ROCK! Like old Metallica! And Def Lep! People still like the Def Lep, right? No?

In all seriousness though, listening to the radio with my kids has brought out my inner poptimist. I now know that Ariana Grande has the range. I know that Pitbull is much more of a genius than a punchline. And I know that The Chainsmokers are as shitty as everyone says they are. I will always be lame because I’m a dad, and that’s part of the deal. But I also know all the lyrics to “Run Away With Me,” with makes me, at the very least, cooler than the OTHER dads. That’s the best I can hope for at this point.

Places to Find Good Music to Do Homework To

However, to be able to reap all the benefits of listening to music while doing your homework, you need to make sure you get the music you need. You don’t want to listen to tracks that have too many lyrics or that have a crazy rhythm. These will distract you and decrease your ability to do your homework correctly. Music and homework should go hand in hand. The best tracks are those that have few lyrics and are melodically pleasant. For example, listening to heavy metal rock is not a good idea. Listening to vocal trance, on the other hand, is a very good choice. You can find all genres of music on the Internet. While YouTube is not generally considered a platform where one can find a lot of audio, it is actually one of the greatest sources of music you can ever find. Yes, users are required to upload videos on YouTube, but there are hundreds of thousands of audio tracks there as well, made to look like video clips. Some of these tracks are two or three hours long. Some are even called the best music for homework. And let’s not forget that one of the best genres of music that help students do their homework is classical music. Yes, the plain old Beethoven, Bach and Tchaikovsky are great for listening while you work on that difficult project for the physics or path class.

Free Editing Tools for Background Music for Videos

1. Free Music Archive

The Free Music Archive is operated by a nonprofit

The Free Music Archive is operated by a nonprofit dedicated to collecting and distributing mostly free music. Search by genre, musician, filmmaker, and more.

2. CC Mixter

CC Mixter is a site where new and unknown artists

CC Mixter is a site where new and unknown artists upload their work for others to use. The catch is that you’ll have to work out the licensing with the artist. The upside is maybe you catch someone exceptional on their way up.

3. Free Sound

Free Sound is another nonprofit that collects soun

Free Sound is another nonprofit that collects sound effects and noises that are great for explainer, demo, and animated videos.

4. Incompetech

Incompetech is a site for royalty free music that’

Incompetech is a site for royalty free music that’s also mostly free, so long as you provide attribution to the artist.

5. Pixabay Music

A service from the well-known stock photography si

A service from the well-known stock photography site, Pixabay Music offers free musical tracks. Users can filter songs by categories such as genre, mood, and movement.

For movies and TV shows: Metacritic

Metacritic shows you which TV shows and movies are
Metacritic shows you which TV shows and movies are available on which services. David Nield/Popular Science

Metacritic hosts one of the biggest collections of reviews on the web. Although it deals with games and music as well as movies and TV shows, we’ll focus on the latter two here. Click the Movies or TV links at the top to see aggregated scores from professional reviews as well as scores left by users. You can submit your own opinions to the database, and pick out the good titles from the also-rans.

In terms of personalized recommendations, Metacritic isn’t as comprehensive as some of the other options we’ve mentioned. You’ll have to do more digging if your tastes don’t align with the majority’s. But it’s still well worth checking out if you need help deciding what to watch next. As a bonus, regular features highlight the shows and films that should be on your radar.

2. “Fans Also Like”

Most artists’ Spotify pages sport a “Fans Also Like” tab which shows a list of artists that are often listened to in conjunction with their music.

I’m sure that the algorithm is behind these lists to some degree, but unlike listening directly through the algorithm, this method gives you more of a chance to sift through the artists and immediately avoid the ones that you already know (or even the ones that just don’t sound interesting to you.)

It’s a great way to quickly explore similar music without having to endlessly skip through songs the way you would on an algorithm-curated playlist.


Our A&R team has its hands on every aspect of our roster— it’s how we built the world’s best music library for filmmakers—and Playlists are an example of it. Our Playlists are curation within curation, the perfect place for any filmmaker that needs a faster option or just wants a shortcut to where they’re going.

There are 100 playlists for you to explore right now, with more being added all the time. Our specialists curate each of them with new music so you’re always seeing the latest and greatest. You can explore our Genre playlists if you want a broader view of a certain type of music, or you can really hone in with our Vibe playlists, curated with a certain feeling or mood in mind.

And, just added this year, you can now explore our Filmmaker playlists! We reached out to some of our favorite creatives and had them build playlists based on their tastes and the music they’re using in projects right now. 

All in all, our playlists are the perfect place for straight-up inspiration. There’s no better way to start a project than by picking your favorite playlist and discovering something new.

About This Article

wikiHow is a “wiki,” similar to Wikipedia, which means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors. To create this article, 24 people, some anonymous, worked to edit and improve it over time. This article has been viewed 27,592 times. 12 votes – 70% Co-authors: 24 Updated: January 26, 2021 Views: 27,592 Categories: Music

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