Copyright Free vs Royalty Free Music | What Creators Should Know


What is royalty-free music?

Royalty-free music refers to a type of music licensing that allows users to pay a one-time fee to legally use the music without having to pay royalties or additional fees for each use. Once the user purchases the license, they have the right to use the music an unlimited number of times in various projects without incurring any further costs. This makes royalty-free music a cost-effective and convenient option for creatives who need high-quality music for their projects without the hassle of complex licensing agreements or recurring payments.

Copyright-free music, also known as public domain music, refers to music that is not protected by copyright law or whose copyright has expired. This means that the music can be used by anyone for any purpose without obtaining permission or paying any fees. Copyright-free music is often old or traditional music where the copyright protection has lapsed, or it may have been intentionally released into the public domain by the creator. Users can freely use, modify, distribute, and perform copyright-free music without any legal restrictions, making it a popular choice for creative projects, educational materials, and other uses where copyright issues need to be avoided.

Understanding the differences

Understanding the difference between royalty-free vs. copyright-free music is crucial for selecting the appropriate licensing model and avoiding legal issues, ensuring compliance, and protecting against potential copyright infringement in creative projects.

Licensing Model

Royalty-free Music: Users pay a one-time fee for a license, which allows them to use the music without additional payments for each use.

Copyright-Free Music: No licensing is required, as the music is not protected by copyright law, allowing free use without any legal restrictions.

Ownership and Rights

Royalty-Free Music: The composer or creator retains the copyright ownership of the music but grants users the right to use it within the terms of the license.

Copyright-Free Music: The music is either in the public domain or its copyright has expired, meaning there are no restrictions on its use, modification, distribution, or performance.


Royalty-Free Music: Users pay a fee to purchase the license, which grants them the right to use the music without additional royalties.

Copyright-Free Music: Free to use without any payment required, as it is not protected by copyright law.


Royalty-Free Music: Typically available for purchase from online libraries or specialized platforms

Copyright-Free Music: This can be found in various open sources

Usage Restrictions

Royalty-Free Music: Users must adhere to the terms of the license, which may include restrictions on the type of usage (e.g., commercial vs. non-commercial) or the number of copies allowed.

Copyright-Free Music: No usage restrictions apply, allowing for unrestricted use in any context without limitations.

What is the Best Choice for you as a Creator?

As a creator, your choice between royalty-free and copyright-free music depends on your specific needs and preferences.

Choose royalty-free music if:

  • You prefer a wide selection of contemporary music styles and genres.
  • You're willing to pay a one-time fee for a license that grants you legal permission to use the music without worrying about royalties or additional fees.
  • You require assurance of the legality and legitimacy of your music usage, especially for commercial projects or those with a large audience reach.
  • You are working on visual media projects, podcasts, social media videos, educational aids, and personal projects.

Choose copyright-free music if:

  • You're working with a limited budget and prefer to avoid upfront licensing fees.
  • You're seeking music that is freely available for use without any restrictions or legal complexities.
  • You're interested in exploring traditional, classical, or public-domain music that adds a unique historical or cultural dimension to your project.
  • You are working on commercial projects, remixes, stage performances, non-profit purposes, or want background music.

Ultimately, both options offer advantages depending on your project requirements, budget, and desired level of legal protection. It is essential to weigh these factors carefully before making your decision.

Finding royalty-free and copyright-free content can be relatively easy with the plethora of online resources available. Here are some popular platforms and methods for sourcing such content:

Royalty-Free Content

Stock Music Libraries: Websites like Epidemic Sound, AudioJungle, and PremiumBeat offer extensive libraries of royalty-free music tracks, sound effects, and loops for various creative projects.

Creative Commons Licenses: Websites like Flickr, Wikimedia Commons, and Creative Commons Search allow users to find content that is licensed under Creative Commons licenses, which often permit free use with certain attribution requirements.

Music Subscription Services: Services like Soundstripe and Artlist offer subscription-based access to royalty-free music tracks and sound effects for use in videos, podcasts, and other creative projects.

Government Websites: Many government agencies provide access to public domain resources, historical documents, maps, and images that can be used for educational, research, or creative purposes without copyright constraints.

Open Access Journals: Some academic journals and repositories publish research articles, papers, and datasets under open-access licenses that allow free access, distribution, and reuse without copyright restrictions.

Museum and Library Collections: Many museums, libraries, and cultural institutions provide access to digitized collections of artworks, photographs, manuscripts, and historical artifacts that are in the public domain and can be freely used for educational and creative purposes.


In the harmonious world of creative content, the choice between copyright-free and royalty-free music is akin to selecting the perfect melody for your project. Soundverse combines cutting-edge artificial intelligence with musical creativity to create unique audio to fit your needs. So, whether you're composing a cinematic symphony, crafting a captivating podcast, or adding ambiance to your digital creations, we help you in generating the perfect sound. Visit our portal to know more!

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Sourabh Pateriya

By Sourabh Pateriya

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