Websites With Royalty-Free Sound Resources

Find the loops, sound effects, and music you need

Illustration of sound with varying sizes of colored boxes

Royalty-free (RF) sounds are music and sound effects that can be used as often as you want without paying for each individual use. Plenty of websites offer royalty-free music, sound effects, and loops that you can use with your projects.

Some royalty-free music sites have completely free music, meaning that you don't even need to pay for the license, but they also usually require attribution to credit the creator(s). Other RF sound websites work via licenses so that you pay for the music, loops, or sound effects but don't have to give credit.

Soundsnap

Screenshot of the Soundsnap site with royalty-free sounds
Jon Fisher

What We Like

  • Over 15 categories or sounds

  • Has pay-as-you-go and subscription plans

  • Sounds can be sorted to refine the list

  • You can preview the sounds before buying anything

  • Every download is available as an MP3 and WAV

What We Don't Like

  • Must purchase a license to use any of the sounds

Soundsnap has royalty-free sound effects in categories like animals, exteriors, interiors, transport, sound art, unreal ambiances, nature, science fiction, multimedia, music samples, music loops, human, and sports.

Once you're viewing a specific category of sounds, you can filter and sort the list by duration and library, such as the creator's name.

You have to subscribe to either a pay-as-you-go, monthly, or yearly plan to get the RF sounds. There's a 15-day refund policy if you're unhappy with the subscription. You can buy a Soundsnap plan in a number of countries, by credit card, debit card, or PayPal.

Limitations: Valid for commercial and noncommercial use but must comply with their terms of use and license (attribution optional, but no reselling unless part of a complete work). See Soundsnap's legal FAQs for more information.

Price options:

  • $15 for five downloads
  • $29 for 20 downloads
  • $35 per month for 50 downloads
  • $199 per year for unlimited downloads

Incompetech

Screenshot of the Incompetech site with royalty-free sounds
Jon Fisher 

What We Like

  • Every download is free

  • Lots of filtering options to find the music you really want

  • Lets you buy all the royalty-free music at once so that you don't have to download them individually

  • All the music is listed on one page for convenience

  • Lets you preview the songs before downloading them

What We Don't Like

  • You have to download each song individually (unless you pay)

  • Free downloads are available as MP3s only

Incompetech is for royalty-free music downloads created by the owner, Kevin MacLeod, so you won't find sound effects here. However, every song is 100 percent free to download, and you can access a list of everything he offers, making it easy to see if you're interested.

Another way to see which royalty-free songs you can get at Incompetech is to use the search tool. The list of RF song downloads can be filtered by feel (e.g., calm, grooving, uplifting, bouncy, action, humorous, dark), tempo (like 90–120 or >150), genre (e.g., funk, polka, African, world, disco, Latin, jazz, horror, blues, holiday, and urban), and length.

Limitations: Music must be credited in your work. If attribution is not possible, or you want to avoid crediting the author, you can purchase a license.

Price options: The RF music is free to download unless you want to download all of it at once, in which case it's $38. Using the music without attribution requires a license:

  • $30 for one piece
  • $25 each for two pieces
  • $20 each for three or more pieces

CCMixter

Screenshot of the ccMixter site with royalty-free sounds
Jon Fisher

What We Like

  • All the sounds are free when you credit the musicians

  • Thousands of free downloads

  • Everything is original from musicians and singers

  • Includes loops for video games, soundtrack music, and more

  • Lets you listen online before downloading

What We Don't Like

  • Some of the royalty-free music can't be used in commercial projects unless you buy a license

  • Everything is available as MP3 without an option to choose a different audio file format

CCMixter is a unique royalty-free music site because what you download from the site is a remix. For example, a musician will send in an original sample, a singer will upload a clip of the sample, and a DJ will mix the two.

Three sets of RF music are available at CCMixter, each with different music and different rules. One set has instrumental music meant for film and video, and another is music for video games; neither are free to use for commercial purposes. The third set of royalty-free music you can download here is for use in commercial projects.

To find royalty-free music at CCMixter, either browse through the three sections mentioned above, use the search tool, or filter the music by genre, instrument, style, and/or license.

Limitations: Check the Creative Commons license associated with each track before you use it. According to the FAQ, most of the music on the site is free and legal for any use anywhere, but you’re advised to check individual tracks for different licensing and restrictions.

Price options: Everything is free to use. However, with some music, you have the option to buy a license via TuneTrack, which allows for additional privileges beyond what you're given with Creative Commons, such as to use the piece in a commercial project or without attribution.

If the royalty-free MP3 you're trying to download plays in your browser instead of saving to your computer, just right-click anywhere on the page to find the option to save the audio file to your computer.

Free-Loops.com

Screenshot of the Free-Loops.com site with royalty-free sounds
Jon Fisher 

What We Like

  • Includes over 7,000 sounds and loops

  • New content added daily

  • Lets you download the sounds without making a user account

  • All sounds can be previewed on the site

  • Includes public domain sounds

What We Don't Like

  • All sounds are downloadable as WAVs; you don't have an option to save them as MP3s or any other audio format

Free-Loops.com has just what it sounds like it does: royalty-free loops and other sounds. You can even download them without ever making a user account.

Thousands of options are available on this website, and while you could download everything you want individually, there's also a handy option to buy all the sounds they have in one big lump.

To find royalty-free music at Free-Loops.com, you can use the search option or browse categories like bass, drum kit, synth, vocal, or sound effect. The RF sounds are also broken up into genres, like jungle, house, rap, piano, breaks, and funk.

The last method for finding royalty-free music is to browse by license type to make sure you see only the sounds and loops you're able to use for your projects.

Limitations: There are a few different restrictions possible with these sounds, so check each file before downloading it to see how you can use it. Some of the royalty-free loops and sounds are in the public domain and can be used in any way you like, while others require attribution or can only be used for personal projects.

Price options: Everything is free to use, or you can download all the sounds and loops at once for $9.95.

Newgrounds

Screenshot of the Newgrounds site with royalty-free sounds
Jon Fisher 

What We Like

  • Lots of unique content

  • Tens of thousands of free music files

  • A user account isn't required

  • Everything is previewable before downloading

What We Don't Like

  • Can't sort the music by license type

  • MP3 is the only download option

Newgrounds users upload their own music to the site in categories such as easy listening, metal, electronic, experimental, world, and goth. Everything is available for you to download in the MP3 audio format.

This website is full of user-created, royalty-free audio files, and since anyone can upload whatever they want, you'll find lots of really great content but also some downright awful material.

You can find royalty-free music on Newgrounds by genre and then filter and sort the list by approved artists, unscouted artists, upload date, rating, and views. There's also a search tool if you know the title of the file you want to download.

Limitations: Check each track for licensing and attribution requirements; it's shown in the Licensing Terms box off to the left of every download page. Some RF sounds might come with this message: "Please contact me if you would like to use this in a project. We can discuss the details." Other sounds state that attribution is required.

Price options: All the music is free.

Be aware that Newgrounds users might create remixes and loops without the permission of the original copyright holder.

Rekkerd.org

Screenshot of the Rekkerd.org site with royalty-free sounds
Jon Fisher 

What We Like

  • The royalty-free loops and samples come in collections that are easy to download

  • You get dozens if not hundreds of files in one single download

What We Don't Like

  • None of the sounds can be previewed before starting the download

  • You have to download the files in packs, which are often large and could take awhile to finish downloading

Rekkerd.org is different than the other royalty-free audio sites above in that you can download RF music loops and samples in collections, often with hundreds of files in one bunch.

Every package is different, but each download page describes what's in that specific collection. For example, the Rekkerd Techno package states that it includes 475 WAV files and that it's all royalty-free.

Limitations: None, but verify on each download page before getting the files. Some samples or loops might not be for use in commercial projects.

Price options: Everything on the website is free.

All of the sample and loop downloads available through Rekkerd.org come packaged in ZIP files. Your computer should be capable of unzipping archives like this automatically, but if not, use a free file extractor.