What Royalty Free Music Really Is - and Not

May 14, 2019

Despite royalty free music being hugely popular among casual to pro videographers and content creators, a surprising number of people still don't really know what exactly royalty free music really is. There's a fair bit of confusion about royalty free music meanings, with some websites giving incorrect definitions or leaving out some important information. Worse yet, some less than reliable sites may encourage shady alternatives to royalty free music that could leave you in hot water legally.

We're going to answer the question of "What does royalty free music actually mean?", debunk some common myths, and touch on why royalty free music is the right way to go from an unbiased perspective. Let's get started!

What Royalty Free Music Really Means to Creators

The true royalty free music meaning/definition is music that creators can pay a one-time fee to use in a video or any other personal or commercial project of theirs. Essentially your one-time fee gives you the legal license or rights to use the track however you see fit. It is interesting to note that royalty free music still have royalties being paid. The difference is with royalty free music is that you don't have to worry about paying the royalties yourself if you work with a website like Soundstripe.  

Royalty free music is hands-down the best option for any individual needing access quality music that is being legally attained. You'll find all types of music available if you work with websites like Soundstripe that offer a huge music library. You can also choose to work with sites that require you to pay a small fee per track or ones that offer monthly subscriptions that cover X amount of downloads (or unlimited, like we do).  

Whether you pursue videographer purely for fun by posting vlogs on YouTube or streaming games on Twitch or you're a professional whose livelihood is based on stunning video content, royalty free music is the best route. You won't need to worry about licensing or questioning whether the music you've found is safe to use or not. Instead, you can focus on the most important thing of all - improving your skills as a content creator and connecting with your audience.  

Myths and Misconceptions About Royalty Free Music

Now that you have a better idea of why royalty free music is ideal for creators, let's debunk some of the most common myths about royalty free music meanings.  

Myth #1 - Royalty Free Music is Free to Use

Just because 'free' is in the name doesn't mean royalty free music is free to use. The only way to legally use royalty free music is to pay for the license to use the track. This can be paid per track or be covered under a unlimited subscription as we offer here at Soundstripe. Keep in mind that even if you have a subscription with us, you still need to download each track per use to stay legal. This means if you use the same track in different videos, you need to download each track separately for every use. The reason for this goes back to the idea that royalty free music isn't actually royalty free, it's just that you don't pay the royalties while the website does!

Myth #2 - Royalty Free Music is the Same as Stock Music

Stock music is a term used to describe pre-made music or, basically, any music that isn't custom made for your purposes. Royalty free music may include stock music, but typically the quality of royalty free music is higher. Royalty free music also only requires a payment per track/download whereas true stock music might have different licensing, such as Rights Managed.  

Myth #3 - Royalty Free Music is Low Quality

Royalty free music is just as high of quality as any other type of licensed music, but you need to choose a site that offers a library that matches. There are certainly some royalty free music websites with deceptively low prices. You might be tempted only to find that their library is full of canned music that isn't even appropriate for a low-budget commercial. Choose a site like Soundstripe that offers an extensive music library constantly being updated and the term 'low quality' will never even cross your mind.

Myth #4 - Royalty Free Music Only Includes Specific Type of Music

Royalty free music isn't a genre of music nor is there any specific genre of music considered to be royalty free. Royalty free is merely a term describing the licensing of the music and has nothing to do with the music itself. You can find every single genre and style of music available as royalty free, from Opera to Rock to Rap and Cinematic Instrumentals. Royalty free music also isn't just instrumentals, but also include vocals as well.

To sum it up, royalty free music is not sub-par quality, boring music that's free to use by anyone. Royalty free music is high-quality music, free to use after purchasing licensing, and encompasses every single genre/type of music you can think of. The experience you have with royalty free music really comes down to the source you get it from, so even if you choose to not go with us here at Soundstripe, at least look for a site that might let you sample their music library first. This will ensure that the site is offering the type of music you need for your videos.

Why Royalty Free Music Alternatives Are A Bad Idea

There will always be some unscrupulous content creators out there that use royalty free music alternatives and recommend others do the same. Typically the only reason prompting creators to skip royalty free music is because they're looking for free music tracks. They might end up looking for Creative Common that's free or instead go for Public Domain options. Others might even think that they can use short 10 second blips of any music and not get caught. None of these alternatives are really worth your time, and in the end, can result in serious legal ramifications.  

Simply put - if you use any music incorrectly (i.e. misinterpreting Creative Commons permissions) or illegally (i.e. the 10 second blip example), you're asking for trouble. Do this on a platform like Twitch or YouTube and you might get lucky and only have the video deleted. Or you might not be so lucky and end up having all of your content deleted and be banned from the site. Even worse, you might have a lawsuit brought against you.

Understanding the world of music licensing isn't easy nor is it really a topic a video creator wants to spend time researching. You'd probably rather focus on making awesome content, which is exactly why royalty free music is the way to go. It gives you the peace of mind that you're in the clear legally in all regards.

Soundstripe's Unique Approach Simplifies Royalty Free Music


Soundstripe isn't like other stock music sites offering royalty free music to content creators. We not only focus on offering our customers the highest quality tracks and sound effects, but we also use a licensing model that's truly one-of-a-kind.

The vast majority of royalty free music sites run on a pay-per-track basis - meaning that you have to pay a small fee for every music track you buy. Sure, it isn't a huge deal to whip out your credit card every time you need to purchase royalty free music, but if you could do without all that hassle, wouldn't you?

Soundstripe really designed their platform to be as easy as possible to use so you can actually have fun finding royalty free music for your videos. To achieve this we decided to set up our service as a subscription. You simply sign up for a Monthly or Annual subscription and you're good to go.

Basically, we're like Netflix, but for royalty free music. Your subscription covers unlimited downloads of whatever music catches your fancy. Upgrade to a Premium membership and you'll have access to a ton of other bonus like sound effects and early-access to our newest tracks.

Our Music Library is pretty huge which might be a bit overwhelming when you're browsing, so we have our team put together some killer pre-made Staff Curated Playlists to help you get started. You can create your own playlists as well. If you'd rather brave it alone, simply hop into the Music Library and use the search filters to narrow down your search. We're pretty nerdy when it comes to royalty free music so we really fine-tuned our search engine. Our filters not only include your standard Genre and Artist parameters, but also Mood, BPM, Instruments, Length, and more.

When you're ready to check out our Music Library, head on over to the Sign Up page and you'll be moments away from having unlimited access to some of the best royalty free music.

Take a listen to our music for free!