It is a fact that can’t be understated: prouction music and sound effects can make or break an audio project. Finding just the right door squeak or amped up rock instrumental can elevate your video from one of a dozen to one in a million. However, finding production music and SFX that you are legally allowed to use can always be tricky. After all, no audio masterpiece is worth getting sued over.
To keep you sounding right on and out of legal trouble, here are three suggestions for compiling just the sounds you need.
1. Free SFX Websites
Buying a library of professionally made SFX can be pricey. If you’re an amateur creater, it’s almost certainly out of your budget. However, there are plenty of websites out there to help you achieve aural greatness on a dime. Freesound is my personal go-to for all of my SFX needs, and describes itself as “a collaborative database of Creative Commons Licensed sounds” (AKA, sounds that you are legally allowed to use in your productions for free). For many of these sounds you will still need to provide credit to the user who created it, but a shout-out in the credits of your creation is a small price to pay in exchange for this great collection.
2. Public Domain
A tried and true source for all kinds of goodies, the public domain is a great resource for recycling the old to help make something new. The public domain includes everything that has fallen out of copyright and is now considered a good of the people. The domain includes classic music, movies, books, and more, and can be a perfect place to source production music from. However, make sure you educate yourself on the intricacies of the system first. Always ensure that you are able to verify that a selection is in the public domain before using it; you can’t just assume that because a song is old that it is out of copyright.
3. Make Your Own!
While it may seem easier to find a prerecorded piece for your audio projects, don’t underestimate the value of getting creative! Don’t have access to the crunching sound you’re looking for? Use some household objects and create your own! The price to license the perfect tune for your project is more than you make in a year? Get your musician friends together and write your own stellar instrumental. Never underestimate the tools you have at your own disposal to make something that sounds great.
While these are just a few of my favorite suggestions, there are infinite ways to go about making your audio project the best it can be. Leave a comment below with your best recommendations for finding SFX and production music!