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 the music 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 seven best public domain music websites. Expand your musical horizons and discover a whole new world of music you might not have heard of before.

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 that 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. 

01
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Musopen

Musopen website

What We Like

  • Downloadable sheet music and recordings.

  • Radio for streaming public domain songs.

  • Several ways to sort the music.

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 public domain music is that 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.

02
of 07

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.

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 to find public domain songs. Some of them include trumpet, 1928, boogie woogie, moody, female vocal, mixtape, jazz, Chicago, guitar, and Paramount.

Every sound is downloadable as an MP3, but you can also stream the public domain songs 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 that there may be different copyright laws in your country that don't permit you to download these files.

03
of 07

Freesound

Freesound website

What We Like

  • Random 'Sound of the Day.'

  • Sounds available individually or in themed packs.

  • Active forum.

  • Supports several audio file formats.

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 the sounds.

Freesound is a little bit different than the other public domain 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. 

This public domain music site 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 the sounds using keywords, license type, tag, file format, sample rate, channel, bit depth, and more.
  • Upload and download sounds to and from the database, under the same Creative Commons license.
  • Interact with fellow sound artists.

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

04
of 07

FreePD.com

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

  • Only the MP3s are free (WAVs cost).

  • 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 public domain music categories here include Epic Dramatic, Romantic Sentimental, Upbeat Positive Motivational, World, Electronic, and Comedy.

05
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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 searchable 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.

The International Music Score Library Project (IMSLP) is a great resource for public domain music, with more than 490,000 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 page 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 a dozen different languages. 

06
of 07

ChoralWiki

ChoralWiki

What We Like

  • More than 30,000 free choral and vocal scores.

  • Supports translations in seven 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.

07
of 07

ccMixter

Mixter website

What We Like

  • Music mixes free to use with attribution.

  • Robust social media aspect.

  • Sections for Editors' Picks and What's Hot.

What We Don't Like

  • Website is cluttered.

  • Frequent requests for donations.

CcMixter offers mashups of public domain songs under a Creative Commons license. If you're looking for background music for a project, for example, this is a good place to find it.

Musicians and DJs use Creative Commons licensing to share music and build a community of artists, thanks to an open source infrastructure designed to facilitate storage, tracking, and sharing of multimedia content.

The best way to browse for public domain music you can use for commercial projects is from the Free for Commercial Use page.