15 of the Best Sites to Find Public Domain Music (2023)
With some of the best sites to find public-domain music, you can enjoy classic masterpieces or cool sound effects without paying a single dime.
These sites are accessible to everyone for free. So now let’s explore each of them one by one!
Disclaimer: Read the licenses clearly for every track you’re planning to use. Many of the below sites have public domain audio, but they may also include songs that require attribution, songs that can’t be used for commercial purposes, and they may also be mixed in with paid royalty-free tracks. We’re not affiliated with any of the below, and we are not copyright lawyers. Make sure you understand the relevant licenses before using any free music you find online.
- 1. Musopen
- 2. International Music Score Library Project
- 3. Free Music Archive
- 4. FreePD
- 5. Freesound
- 6. ChoralWiki
- 7. Free Music Public Domain
- 8. Free Soundtrack Music
- 9. Open Music Archive
- 10. SoundBible: Public Domain Sounds
- 11. Moby Gratis
- 12. ccMixter
- 13. Youtube Audio Library
- 14. Internet Archive
- 15. Wikimedia Commons: Audio Files
- What Music Is Considered Public Domain?
- Is Public Domain Music Free?
One of the features that make Musopen stand out from the crowd is the classical music radio page that lets you stream public domain songs from any device. The website also allows you to download royalty-free music. You can search for songs by genre, artist, license, mood, length, instrument, and composer. Sheet music is available, too.
On a side note, keep in mind that Licenses vary between songs. Some are public domain, while others require attribution. Not all of them are suitable for commercial use, either.
2. International Music Score Library Project
The International Music Score Library Project (IMSLP) integrates a huge library that includes hundreds of thousands of public domain sounds and sheet music.
You can search for songs by composer name and period. And if you’re looking for rare, first-edition releases of historical classics, you won’t find a better resource than IMSLP. The icing on top is that the library is quite diverse when it comes to song languages.
3. Free Music Archive
Free Music Archive has long served as a stable for creators to find free sounds for their audio or video content. It allows you to download MP3 files from a gigantic library of public domain and royalty-free sounds. However, if the song isn’t in the public domain, you must contact the artist first for permission.
Additionally, the website categorizes the sounds in a convenient and search-friendly way, making it easier for you to find what you want.
FreePD is where you can find some exotic categories that let you explore outstanding pieces of public domain music. These include Romantic Comedy, Sentimental, World, Horror, and Epic Dramatic.
One feature that you’ll find quite handy is that you can preview the songs before downloading them. You can then filter them and download the ones you like the most in MP3 format. The website is super easy to use, and you don’t even need to create a user account.
Unlike other websites on this list that focus on songs, the goal behind Freesound is to let users find sounds like bird songs, voice snippets, and thunderstorms. It offers a gigantic database of sounds that can be super useful for your music or video production projects.
Many of the sounds are released under Creative Commons licenses, so be sure you understand them before using them in any project. You can fine-tune your search for sounds with filters such as file format, sample rate, license type, and others.
ChoralWiki encompasses over 30,000 free chorals and vocal scores, making it a living heaven for choral lovers. New scores are added frequently, so you’ll definitely find something new for you every time you visit the archive. Additionally, ChoralWiki enables you to translate the pieces into 7 different languages other than English.
7. Free Music Public Domain
This website categorizes its music based on genre, making your job of finding what you need a lot simpler. All of the songs are shared under the standard license or the creative commons license. Choosing the standard license means that you’ll pay a fee to download the song.
8. Free Soundtrack Music
Free Soundtrack Music is a resource for video producers to get royalty-free sounds and public domain music for their projects. You can download and use up to 6 sounds. However, you need to buy credits for any extra music downloads. They don’t cost that much, but the costs can add up with bulk downloads.
Whenever you listen to a track, the website automatically recommends keywords to search for to get similar tracks. It also lets you listen to more sounds by the same artist.
9. Open Music Archive
Open Music Archive makes it easy for you to search for public domain songs with tags like instrumental, remix, dance lessons, country, and 1920s. All of the songs are available for download in MP3 format. Alternatively, you can use the website’s Soundcloud page to stream the music from your laptop or smartphone.
10. SoundBible: Public Domain Sounds
Using SoundBible is pretty straightforward. Once you open the homepage, you’ll be presented with a search bar that you can use to search for sound effects. If you scroll down on the home page, you’ll get a virtually unlimited list of free tracks that are sorted based on relevance. You can play the sounds on the website or download them for offline listening or use in projects.
11. Moby Gratis
Moby Gratis contains over 200 tracks that you can listen to or download. Some songs have a Spotify button that you may use to add them to your Spotify library. However, keep in mind that you can only use this website independently or for non-profit films or projects.
ccMixter has categories for the highest-rated tracks and editors’ picks so that you can get some ideas for your projects. Alternatively, you can just search for the song or artist you’re looking for using the search button at the top of the homepage.
The website has a dedicated forum where you can connect with thousands of creators and music enthusiasts from all over the world. On a side note, ccMixter requires attribution, so keep that in mind when using any of the sounds on this website.
13. Youtube Audio Library
This is a little trick that many people don’t know of, but you can actually find some public-domain sounds on Youtube’s audio library. However, you may find that some sounds are creative commons and require attribution. Some sounds hold the youtube license that’s a bit more complicated, but you should still be able to legally use them for Youtube videos.
14. Internet Archive
The internet archive is a hidden treasure where you can find hundreds of thousands of free public domain sounds and songs. The sounds are grouped into podcasts, non-English audio, audiobooks, live music, and more categories. You can easily download the sounds you like through a direct MP3 file download or by using a torrent client.
15. Wikimedia Commons: Audio Files
Wikimedia acts as the multimedia archive of Wikipedia, the well-known online encyclopedia. All of the audio files in Wikimedia’s library are distributed under the creative commons license, meaning that you can legally use them in your projects. Since Wikipedia covers a ton of topics, you’ll probably find what you’re looking for here.
What Music Is Considered Public Domain?
Any music that’s published before January 1, 1926, in the United States is considered public domain. Also, artists can decide to waive their copyright and mark their own works as public domain. Note: always check the copyright laws regardless.
Is Public Domain Music Free?
Yes, public-domain music is free. You can listen to and download public domain songs without facing any copyright claims. You can even use them for commercial purposes. As always, make sure that the song is actually in the public domain, and don’t make assumptions about it! Using music that is incorrectly tagged as public domain could land you in trouble for copyright infringement. And no, writing “I Do Not Own the Rights to This Music” is unlikely to provide you with any legal protection!
That was a quick walkthrough of the best sites to find public-domain music. You can try out a few of these and see which of them has more of the sounds or tracks that suit your needs and taste. I’d recommend starting with Musopen and taking it from there. Just make sure that you double-check the license for every song you download.