I'm going to show you 6 underrated places to get royalty-free and commercial-use music for your video games.
What are the stakes?
As you may know, using copyrighted music can cause your game to be taken down from the Steam store, app or google play store. And contrary to popular opinion, even if your game is free, that doesn't mean that you have the right to distribute any type of music.
But don't worry, I'm going to show you a few places to get great music for your game without having to worry about the legal implications.
Audio design and music can make or break a game's experience, but finding high-quality music for your game can be challenging. Audio is such an important aspect and layer when it comes to determining a game's feel. Think about your favorite games, and how the experience would be so much different if the audio was removed or changed. Some prime examples that stick out are the Fallout series, Death Stranding, and Super Mario Bros.
Free Music for Games
Let's look at some of the best places to find free music for games.
Royalty-Free Music on Youtube
Surprisingly, Youtube has been a great resource for finding royalty-free music for games. While you may have to dig a little bit, there are some great content curators that have entire channels dedicated to collecting royalty-free music.
Here are some great playlists I've found:
Zapsplat has thousands of sound effects, music, and ambient sounds. While you could certainly use these sounds for films and other projects, Zapsplat is a game developer's paradise. I've personally spent at least 100 hours perusing the sounds and music.
One thing I love about Zapsplat, too, is that giving accreditation is really simple. There's no having to track down the artist, find the exact license, and proper way to credit. It's a simple, short, copy-paste snippet that you can include in your credits. Easy-peasy.
Don't let the old interface fool you, free-stock-music.com is a hidden gem. They have a category specifically made for video game music, and they have some real winners on there. Just for the world music alone this site is worth a look. I was especially impressed by their desert and Celtic ambient world music.
I've been able to find plenty of high-quality assets from OpenGameArt.org, however, I feel like the sound and music section is underappreciated. While it does require some digging, there are definitely some hidden gems here.
Freesound.org has some excellent interface and UI sounds, while also having some great free music. I've noticed that if you're looking for royalty-free chiptune music (or 8-bit, whatever you like to call it), there's a lot of high-quality chiptunes here, as well as some great piano loops.
Bensound.com is an audio library that offers free downloads and royalty-free music with attribution. Additionally, you can purchase a license if you wish to remove the attribution credit.
FreePD is a real goldmine in that they have a lot of music with various categories AND they don't require attribution. If you're looking specifically for Mobile game music, this is the best site I've come across so far.