7 Best Public Domain Music Sites

All the free, public domain music you could want

Public domain music is completely legal and free for you to listen to, download, and use for any reason.

Sites that have public domain songs are different from free music streaming services because this music is actually yours to keep. Nobody owns it because there aren't any active copyrights, so you don't have to worry about infringing on copyright laws if you use them in your own videos or mix them in with your existing music collection.

Below are the best public domain music websites. Expand your musical horizons and discover a whole new world of music you might not know about.

Public domain and copyright laws are complicated and can change. While the sites outlined in this article have done the heavy lifting for you to make sure what they're offering is in the public domain, it's always best to read the fine print before downloading anything to protect yourself against any possible legal complications. The information contained in this article is intended for entertainment purposes only. 

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Musopen music downloads
What We Like
  • Downloadable sheet music and recordings.

  • Radio for streaming public domain songs.

  • Several ways to sort the music.

  • Preview before downloading.

What We Don't Like
  • Free account limited to five downloads per day.

  • High-definition recordings require a paid plan.

Musopen has public domain classical music downloads. You can browse for free songs by composer, instrument, period, mood, length, license, and more, plus download sheet music to accompany the music.

Something unique about this source is it's not just for downloads. There's a classical music radio page you can use to stream the public domain songs from any device.

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Open Music Archive

Public domain songs at Open Music Archive
What We Like
  • No website ads.

  • Available for streaming via SoundCloud.

  • Download instantly without a user account.

What We Don't Like
  • Non-advanced search tool.

  • Stale website design.

  • Very small selection in some categories.

Another public domain music site with free downloads is Open Music Archive. The point of this site is to digitize out-of-copyright sound recordings.

There are tons of tags you can click through here, including instrumental, 1920s, blues, weird, solo, work, country, dance lessons, and remix.

Every sound is downloadable as an MP3, but you can also stream them through their SoundCloud page.

Open Music Archive's songs are hosted in the UK and are in the public domain there. If you're accessing this site outside the UK, please know there may be different copyright laws in your country that don't permit you to download these files.

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Screenshot of the Freesound website
What We Like
  • Random 'Sound of the Day.'

  • Sounds available individually or in themed packs.

  • Active forum.

  • Supports several audio file formats.

  • Frequent additions.

What We Don't Like
  • Each sound carries one of three licenses, some that require attribution or no commercial use.

  • Must log in to download anything.

Freesound is a little different from the other resources on this list because instead of sheet music or downloadable songs, it offers a huge database of hundreds of thousands of sounds: birdsong, thunderstorms, voice snippets, etc. 

It aims to create a huge collaborative database of audio snippets, samples, recordings, bleeps, and other sounds released under Creative Commons licenses that allow for reuse.

Freesound provides interesting ways of accessing these samples, allowing you to browse them using keywords, tag, location, and more. You can also sort the sounds by number of downloads to easily see the most popular ones.

You can upload and download sounds to and from the database under the same Creative Commons license and interact with fellow artists.

If you're looking to create a new and unique project, this site could be a great resource for you.

SoundBible.com is another site like Freesound, but it's too small of a collection to warrant its own spot on this list. However, some of the sounds there get over 100 thousand downloads, so it's clearly used by many, and the files are available in both WAV and MP3.

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Freepd.com public domain music
What We Like
  • Interesting categories of songs.

  • Really easy to use.

  • Lets you tip the artist.

  • No need for a user account.

What We Don't Like
  • Creative Commons license isn't included.

  • Bulk downloads cost.

  • No search function.

FreePD.com is a straightforward website full of public domain songs. Everything can be previewed before downloading and you get any and all music in the MP3 format.

Some of the categories here include Epic Dramatic, Romantic Sentimental, Upbeat Positive, World, Horror, Electronic, and Comedy.

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International Music Score Library Project

IMSLP public domain music search
What We Like
  • Well regarded by academic institutions.

  • Free public domain sheet music downloadable as PDFs.

  • Scores browsable by instrumentation/genre, composers, and time period.

What We Don't Like
  • Some user-uploaded scores may not be public domain.

  • Membership is needed to listen to commercial recordings.

  • Uses Google as its search tool.

The International Music Score Library Project (IMSLP) is a great resource for public domain music, with over half a million music scores and tens of thousands of recordings and composers.

Search by composer namecomposer period, check out the featured scores, or browse the most recent additions. The random tool is another way to find sheet music and public domain songs.

First editions of popular historical works can also be found here, as well as works distributed in several different languages. 

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What We Like
  • Tens of thousands of free choral and vocal scores.

  • Supports translations in multiple languages in addition to English.

  • Additional scores added regularly.

What We Don't Like
  • Website lacks a modern-looking interface.

  • Some scores may have restrictions on their use.

  • Hard to find your way around the site.

ChoralWiki, home of the Choral Public Domain Library, is a fantastic resource for anyone who's looking for some great public domain music.

You can search for music for Advent and Christmas, look at the entire Online Score catalog, or browse the archives for what's been added month to month. Sacred music is categorized by season.

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Digital History

Digital History 1920s music download links
What We Like
  • Instant downloads.

  • Several categories to browse through.

What We Don't Like
  • Boring site design.

  • No search or filter function.

  • Some files are saved as if they're videos.

  • No details other than title and performer.

Hosted by the University of Houston, this site says it's designed specifically for history teachers and their students. It has copyright-free, public domain music from the 1920s, as well as blues music, Civil War related songs, jazz, Irish music, and more.

Every link goes directly to the download, so you can preview them in your browser before deciding whether to keep them. There are dozens of downloads here, all on the same page, so browsing the list is easy. You'll see the piece's title and who performed it.

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