Stock music: How do I get it cheaply/free? Where do you find it? Where do you find good stuff? And many other variations of the same basic question.
I’ve gotten this question in comments, through twitter, and from a few emails that come in, so I thought I’d address it today. I should first mention that there are two situations here. I’ve worked in both the church world and in the secular market, and the process is quite a bit different for each, especially price/licensing-wise.
In the Church world, your life is actually awesome in this regard. Because of the licensing and breadth afforded to your usages within worship services, you have tons of free and low cost options. Before you dive into any of these, ensure two things:
1) Your CCLI licensing is up to date, and that you’re reporting your usage of all songs, including music used in videos.
2) Your CVLI licensing is up to date as well.
Some options in the church world:
I used YouTube as a great option for instrumental covers of pop songs. Your CCLI covers the usage of the original, and YouTube is loaded with great karaoke/instrumental cuts of just about any piece of popular music out there. Just search for “The Song instrumental”, and you’ll likely find what you’re looking for. From there, I use a simple YouTube downloader (which we often used to grab YouTube videos for service usage) to download the mp3. If you’re using Google Chrome, I prefer to use this Google Chrome Extension. It places a download button underneath every YouTube video, making it a cinch to snag videos or mp3s.
Soundtracks & Scores
Movie soundtracks and scores are a great option for music beds for your interviews, moving stories, etc. They’re instrumental to begin with, cheap, and well produced. You can snag individual tracks on Amazon or iTunes, and lay them under your production. Some of my favorites from the last year were Moneyball and The Social Network.
Your Personal Library
Again, since you’re covered, anything in your library is free game. Love that 1:05 intro on the latest album you bought? Drop it into your editor, slice it up, and loop away. Chop and slice to create what you need.
For the rest of us in the non-church world:
These are options I’ve used when 1) I couldn’t find what I needed by the prior methods, or 2) I’ve been doing work outside of the church world and it’s licensing benefits.
Hands down the best stock music site you’ll find. Why? Because it was intentionally started in 2008 to fill the void of good, relevant, hip stock music for production. They’re a combo stock music outfitter and production house, so you can custom order production music to suit your needs as well. There is not a single hit, fresh TV show that’s not finding their production music on JinglePunks. Last Call with Carson Daly, MTV, ABC, NBC, Comedy Central, Vh1, MTV, Bravo, TLC, Starz, History Channel and A&E all use JinglePunks regularly.
Their pricing structure is per piece, based on your usage & scope. So, for instance, a local cable spot you’re producing will field a lower price than a national ad during the Superbowl. They are a pricier option, but if you’re working with a firm or freelance project, I highly recommend JinglePunks.
Create Your Own
Yep. I’ve done it. If you’ve got the skills, equipment and time, this is a pretty good option when all else fails.
Hope this helps!