Video Editing

The beginner's guide to royalty-free music

Updated October 27, 2022
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An image of Clipchamp's royalty-free stock music library.

The right music can bring a video to life. If you’re new to making videos, it’s important to understand music licensing rules so that your videos never get muted on social media or demonetized on YouTube. The good news is that you don’t need to break the bank to find high-quality, royalty-free music. At Clipchamp, we’ve curated a stock library of free and paid music that you can add in while editing your video without worry. Learn about royalty-free music in this simple guide.

What is royalty-free music?

Royalty-free music, also known as royalty-free licensing, refers to music you can use on your personal and commercial video content for platforms like YouTube and Instagram without having to pay royalties to the artist.

Usually, there are two different royalty-free music categories; paid and free.

Free royalty-free music

Free-to-use royalty-free music means the soundtracks are free, with no payment required. All you have to do is add the soundtrack to your video, save it, and upload it freely to a social media platform.

Clipchamp provides you access to thousands of stock audio files from Storyblocks that you can use in your videos for commercial and non-commercial purposes. Explore our free and subscription background music tracks and find the perfect fit for your video.

Not all stock music is free to use. Some providers may require you to pay a one-time license fee to give you the right to use the music for personal or commercial use. The music is still royalty-free but not free to add to your videos. Clipchamp’s Essentials subscription plan gives access to all royalty-free stock media including music.

Why should you use copyright-free music?

Social media platforms like YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook required creators to follow their music policies. If you violate these policies by posting a video that includes non-copyright music, your video can be muted, removed, blocked, and even result in a flagged or banned account. 

You can easily avoid these issues by removing any copyrighted music and replacing it with royalty-free music in your video content. If you have used royalty-free music and your video still receives a copyright infringement warning, look at our help article for more information.

Where to find royalty-free music in Clipchamp

Never used stock music before? All you need to do is click on the music & SFX tab inside the video editor to open our royalty-free music and sound effects options, then drag and drop the audio file onto your timeline.

Step 1. Click on the music & SFX tab on the toolbar

To open all of our stock music and sound effects, click on the music & SFX tab on the left toolbar. Search using a keyword or click on the see more button to explore music and sound effect titles available in the stock library.

If you’re editing with a free account, select a free-to-use audio file or upgrade your subscription to access premium stock audio, image, and video options.

An image of a user searching the stock audio library inside the music tab.

Click on the play button to preview audio tracks.

An image of a user previewing audio stock.

You can also click on the audio track to open more options like similar audio, song duration, and if the asset is paid or free.

An image of a stock audio fullscreen preview.

Step 2. Add the audio track to your timeline

Click on the + button to add your audio file to your timeline, or drag and drop the background music onto the timeline. Make sure to place the audio file under the video on your timeline.

An image of a user adding stock audio to the timeline.

For a more detailed tutorial on adding stock audio to your video, check out our helpful guide.

Frequently asked questions

Can you be sued for royalty-free music?

No. Royalty-free music means you do not have to pay the artist who owns the song, as it is free to use. If you use someone's song without permission, you infringe on their copyright.

Is royalty-free music copyrighted?

Yes. Royalty-free means you don’t have to pay for royalties, but the copyright of the music is not yours. The copyright of the song remains owned by the artist.

Do I have to pay to use Clipchamp’s royalty-free music?

No. Clipchamp offers a free-to-use stock category of royalty-free music. A subscription fee applies if you want to access premium stock audio.

Now that you know how to use stock music fairly in your videos, further your video editing knowledge by exploring other audio editing hacks, like how to separate audio from video. When you’re ready, search and add royalty-free stock music in thousands of genres like upbeat hip-hop, lo-fi, seasonal, or gaming with Clipchamp’s free online video editor.

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