Top 5 music licensing sites for videographers


An often overlooked aspect to producing a video spot, is the music. As a matter of fact, I'd say that music is THE most important factor in your video. If somebody hits play, and immediately the music is awful . . . Well they won't be playing it much longer. Music enhance a spot, but it can also distract from the spot. So clearly, it's crucial you have a great place for great tracks. 

As a general rule, I'd say you can expect a decent song for your promotional costing between 175 and 550. I know there's big range here. But each site is different in the way they sell their music. Some base the costs off of your clients size. Some just have a flat fee. Whatever the case, ALWAY ALWAY ALWAY make sure you account for these costs in your billing. Or at least talk to your client about the potential added expense. There have been times we've paid more for music then we got paid. Not fun. 

Here's a list of our top 5 rated music sights that we use regularly. 

#1 The Music Bed

This is our go to site for most commercial work. They've got a great selection of bands and music, and a lot of it sounds like something you'd hear on the radio. Actually you often do. The costs have gone up over the years, however it's justified, as so has their selection. They offer most their tracks without the Vocals, and just recently they started allowing downloads without their stupid watermark sound on it. THANK YOU! Nothing is more annoying than showing a client a spot, and having "The Music Bed" repeated over and over. 

#2 APM

We love APM. And I'd consider it #1 if all my work was reality TV, as APM is targeted towards that and documentary work. The Music Bed also has a great selection for documentary, however APM breaks most of their tracks down completely. So for example, I only want the drums on this track. Done. Or I don't like the choir in the background. Done. They DONT however, have very much popular music, or indie tracks. So if you're going for something that you'd hear on 93.3 fm, you're not going to find it here. However, if you want an amazing deal on a documentary, or perhaps you're working on an episode for a TV series. Boom. APM. Sold. Hands down. 

#3 Marmoset

I have a love hate relationship with Marmoset. I think I like their tracks, then sometimes I hate their tracks. Mostly they have great stuff, I just find their user interface less appealing, and I also find they don't have as much selection. However, they can make you custom tracks. So that's nice. I always visit this site 2nd or 3rd. They are closer in relation to The Music Bed than APM.  

#4 Strike Audio

Strike Audio is similar to APM, in that they are geared toward more reality TV shows. They've got a good selection of American Gritt, which I always like. The reason I don't visit them as much, is I really dislike their user interface. I keep hoping one day I'll visit, and things will be update. But as of now, I just don't like it. And I find their selection to be lacking just a bit. 

#5 West One Music

I was so sad the day West One Music left APM and started their own site. I mean I understand it, if you're going to make more money. However, that just meant I had to decide between the two. And while I love the music West One Music produces, I simply can't go back and forth between the two that often. However, if you're looking for music on a documentary, trailer, or reality TV show. West One Music is most definitely worth checking out. 

Those are my favorite, but there of course are others to check out as well like Beat Pick, Killer Tracks, Music Vine, Cleod9, and Jamendo. If you have any suggestions for us, please don't hesitate to send an email or make a comment.