Music Resources

Music is a tough beast to tame. It certainly doesn’t help that all that scary licencing stuff can get in the way. We recently finished a workshop on best practices for finding and using music, and here is a quick rundown of our suggestions to make it easier on you:

Using Music Legally.

  1. Everything is copyrighted, even small portions of songs. Only if a creator releases their rights can you use any part of a song.
  2. Seek out Creative Commons licenced music. Bandcamp is a great place for music hunting because many musicians tag their music as ‘podsafe’ or ‘creative commons’. Look for BY and SA licences, and avoid NC and ND licences. For more details, check out
  3. Ask permission! If you’re uncertain whether you can use a work or not, get written permission from the copyright holder. Many local artists are pretty happy to share, and they may even plug your podcast when they perform.
  4. If you are engaging in fair dealing (research, private study, education, parody, satire, criticism, review, or news reporting) then it is okay to use copyrighted materials. However: you may be challenged on this matter and have to defend your actions in court.

I decided to hunt down some music today and spent an hour or so perusing the ‘creative commons’ tag on Bandcamp. Here’s what I was looking for near the bottom of each album/song:

CC-BY Licenced Music.

cc-by I just need to give credit to the artist, usually in the form of plugging or linking back to their Bandcamp site. I can choose to licence my podcast however I like when using this music.

CC-BY-SA Licenced Music.

cc-by-sa I need to give credit to the artist, and also my podcast must be licenced using CC-BY-SA. This doesn’t prevent me from making money on my work, but it does mean that I can’t reserve the right to prevent others from making money using my work

The Results

I was able to find a few good/interesting artists. Below is the list I found today. I included a brief descriptions of the music and a 1 to 3 star rating based on my own personal taste. I hope you find it useful!

(Always double-check the licence on the song’s page before using.) CC-BY music from a variety of genres. ** CC-BY-SA experimental music. ** CC-BY classical and ambient music. ** CC-BY-SA acoustic guitar indie music with lyrics. * CC-BY weird as hell, but sometimes nice music. * CC-BY atmospheric music. ** CC-BY energetic synth heavy music. ** CC-BY-SA effect and distortion heavy… music? * CC-BY-SA dramatic symphonic compositions. ** CC-BY-SA modern moody atmospheric music. *** CC-BY drone music with monotonous lyrics. * CC-BY piano solo pieces. ** CC-BY industrial glitch and noise music. ** CC-BY indie rock with fuzzy vocals. ** VARIOUS a collection of albums produced by various artists, many of which use CC-BY licencing. ** CC-BY chill hip-hop and rap music. ** CC-BY bass heavy ambient chill. *** CC-BY ambient dramatic music. *** CC-BY-SA atmospheric music. ** CC-BY upbeat modern instrumentals. * CC-BY-SA distorted guitar-heavy Spanish pop rock. * CC-BY-SA lively and varied music of various genres. * CC-BY-SA heavy electronic music. * CC-BY-SA German electronic and hip-hop. ** CC-BY piano solo pieces. *

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