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cheyenne_h on 02/05/2018 at 08:51AM

Not All Music on FMA is Licensed for Video

Some of our music is just for listening. Sorry video-making friends! (image via flickr commons)

Just a friendly reminder.

We know, the FMA is a great resource for all sorts of people - filmmakers, remix artists, people who wanna hear strange new sounds - but we've been getting a LOT of messages lately from confused people about whether or not they can use X song in Y video.

It depends on the license, and how you intend to use the music, my friend! And best of all, you can find out all the information you need on your own. There are tons of resources out there to help.

We have a robust FAQ (complete with webinar!) about which licenses are suitable for video here. But here are some basics:

1. ND or No Derivatives: If you want to use a track from FMA for a video, you are not allowed to use anything with an "ND" or "No Derivatives" clause in the license. You must get further permission from the artist in order to use it for a video.

2. NC or Non Commercial: If you want to use a track for commercial purposes (including a monetized YouTube video, a real estate listing, or a video telling people about a product or service that costs money), anything with a "NC" or "Non Commercial" clause is not pre-cleared for this type of use. If you want to use it for a commercial purpose, you must get further written permission from the artist, and possibly pay for a license to use the song.

3. SA or Share Alike: If you want to use a track that is licensed CC BY-SA "Share Alike" or CC BY-NC-SA, you are required by that license to share your own work under the identical license. If you can't, or don't want to, do this, you must get further written permission from the artist. (Noticing a pattern yet?)

4. BY or Attribution: Anything with a CC license with "BY" or "Attribution" in it means you must give credit to the artist, but that's it. You can use it for whatever you want, even derivative works like videos and remixes. If you don't want to, or can't give attribution in your derivative work (such as a video)... guess what? You have to get further permission from the artist! (Now you're getting it!)

We have pre-screened a lot of stuff and it's tucked neatly in the Music For Video curator page (though this includes NC and SA tracks - so make sure to look for the license you need). You can also use stuff from our Public Domain collection without attributing or getting permission from the artist.

If you need guidance, please consult our FAQs, License Guide or read up on the Creative Commons website before asking - you may find the answer right in front of you!

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cheyenne_h on 04/17/2015 at 07:56PM

Unreel Trailers: A Challenge

Photographer: Henry Gawthorpe. Via Australian National Maritime Museum's Flickr Commons collection

Take a film out of context... you know you want to! You could re-cut that cheesy sci-fi flick into an interstellar romantic comedy, or poorly dub alternate dialogue onto an action sequence to make it a slapstick routine. We've put together a list of public domain films; pick one and make an Unreel Trailer! In less than three minutes, tell us a touching story of ghosts in love, a science experiment gone wrong, a training montage for puppies, or whatever seems appropriate (or inappropriate) to preview a movie that doesn't exist (yet). 

Dramatic voiceovers, superfluous sound effects, and imaginary titles are encouraged. Credits, including CC license information, are required, but everything else is up to you! 

Here are some examples of public domain films to choose from (entries must be derived from films in the U.S. Public Domain):

1. The Brain That Wouldn’t Die wiki
2. Night of the Living Dead wiki
3. Reefer Madness wiki 
4. Little Shop of Horrors wiki
5. Attack of the Giant Leeches wiki
6. Carnival of Souls wiki
7. Teenagers From Outer Space wiki
8. Rock, Rock, Rock! wiki

Use a track from our FMA Music for Video Vault in your trailer – or check out one of these artists:
Chris Zabriskie made a collection called “Direct to Video” for a reason. CC BY
Kevin Macleod’s music has been used in thousands of videos. CC BY
Ian Alex Mac’s “Cues” is made for cinematic purposes. CC BY
The Conet Project is full of strange sounds! Free Music Philosophy
UncleBibby has done a three-volume Free Music Project release. CC BY
Steve Combs has tons of stuff to choose from. CC BY
Our microSongs and Masters Remastered works are all in the Public Domain! No citations necessary. 

Film must be in the public domain in the United States 
Music must be licensed for use in video without further permission from the artist 
Submissions must be posted to a video streaming site online and shared with FMA via our submission form 
Submitters must list all works used in the film (audio, visual, etc)
Use proper citation in the film (attribution of music, license, etc) - CC Best Practices here

If you submit a trailer using footage from a film that isn’t on the list, please make sure it is in the public domain (or your own work, which you are willing to dedicate to the public domain using this Creative Commons license) before you proceed. Submissions that are not in the public domain in the U.S. won't qualify for judging.

We'll accept entries from April 13th until May 8th, 2015

Entry form is here, finished projects are here

One winner will be chosen by our panel of judges, and the winner will get an Epson Powerlite Projector

The Unreel Trailers Challenge is supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts

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ange on 12/26/2013 at 05:15PM

Deck Your Projects: Holiday Instrumentals

[Photo by krypto/Flickr]

Before your Christmas music fatigue sets in, unwrap this selection of festive and sparkly instrumental tracks for your holiday projects. Featured artists include Dan LerchSilence Is SexyLive Action Fezz and Candlegravity, a San Franciscan living in Tokyo. Plus, a few songs from junior85Seth PartridgePeter RudenkoJared C. Balogh and Freddy & the Indifferents. I threw in a few wonky oddball tracks towards the end from from Simon MathewsonRainbroPompey, and No Monster Club. The final song by OWL BRAIN ATLAS features wind and chimes, and could be used for many other things that are trying to caputre a cold feeling.


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ange on 11/25/2013 at 01:00AM

Shooting Stars: Stellar Instrumentals

Cool and crisp digital sounds that twinkle and sustain. A collection of songs for space travel and stargazing. Perfect for sci-fi projects, video games and jet pack instructional videos.


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ange on 10/24/2013 at 06:00PM

Music for Video: Horror Soundtrack Music for Producers

Leanne Surfleet/Flickr

After you've wiped all the makeup off your zombie actor friends, it's time for the real scarey part -- picking out music for your Horror flick. Music to Video has assembled a mix that will send shivers down your spine, make all the ghouls dance, and get grandma to climb out of her grave, just to tell you to turn down the volume.

Here's a trick! Try mixing these tracks with the Prelinger Archives for a real treat. May I suggest their footage of a Halloween Party or Experiments in the Revival of Organisms


1. Lee Rosevere (website, CC BY-NC-SA) - The music has a heavy-handed foreboding feeling, as if it was used in a lost episode of David Lynch's Twin Peaks.

2. The Waiters (website, CC BY) - Ticking clocks set the rhythm of this track, before it enters the Twilight Zone. Dark guitars emerge about halfway through.

3. Kevin MacLeod (website, CC BY) - Classical music for your next gala affair in an empty castle, with a ghostly guestlist.

4. Weirdomusic (website, CC BY-NC-SA) - Wet music for inside the lab of a mad scientist.

5. Vitus Von Degen (website, CC BY-NC-SA) - Baron Vitus Von Degen is a German composer who lives on a Grecian island. Inspired by John Carpenter and Goblin music, he produces soundtracks for movies still awaiting to be shot. The first 20 seconds of this track are a movie of their own.

6. Kreng (website, CC BY-NC-SA) - Dark electronic music meets jazz. A child whispers the command, "Go to sleep. Go to sleep. Go to sleep, little baby."

7. Black Math (website, CC BY) - Black Math is a trio from Chicago making lo-fi darkwave. Good music for a skeleton race on fixed gear bicycles through Pilsen.

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ange on 09/09/2013 at 02:05PM

Music for Video: Back to School

The colors outside are changing, and this collection of driving rock, electronic and experimental pop instrumentals are here to help tell stories of change and progress.

This is a Music for Video collection for tucking away your swimsuit, taking out a fresh pencil, and getting back to work. Click on the artist names to visit their page on the Free Music Archive. Many of them can be contacted there for more permissions, or to simply share a link to your new creations.

1. krackatoa (websiteCC BY-NC-SA) - Starting a journey and looking cool doing it. This song title and album art refers to the story of Noah's ark, and the track appropriately evokes sonic waves and a sense of fulfilling one's destiny.

2. Los Amparito (websiteCC BY-NC-SA) - The beginning of this song is an echo of chimes (perfect for a bumper), and then stereo dueling guitars take over. You won't get sick of this song no matter how many times you play it.

3. Fields of Ohio (website, CC BY-SA) - Steady driving drums begin this song and lock you in. Then faint voices emerge repeating something that sounds like, "tomorrow." Turn this on when you have homework to begin and want to fall into a productive trance.

4. Peter Gresser (websiteCC0) - A funky jam that makes you want to pick up a joystick or leap on a treadmill. Licensed for the public domain via the Open Game Bundle, you can do whatever you'd like with this track including using it in your video games.

5. MrJuan (websiteCC BY) - Giggle! This is a study break dance track for hip shaking and head nodding. Things are going well, and energy abounds.

6. Thiaz Itch (website, CC BY-NC-SA) - An intriguing flute kicks off this track and tells a story throughout. Many other instruments emerge, including a delightful güiro. This song is part of an album perfect for using in cartoons or animated shorts.


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bronwynbishop on 07/12/2013 at 08:30PM

Eclectic Composer Monk Turner's New Album of Instrumental Songs Inspired by His Friends

Demented Dustin and Monk Turner

Monk Turner is a Los Angeles-based composer and musician best known for the concept albums he’s been putting out for over ten years. These include Kaleidoscope (2012), an album about color that Monk produced in collaboration with over 40 artists from all over the world, and Calendar (2007), which features a song for every month of the year. He also won a little contest we held trying to overtrow the most popular song in the world.

For his latest release, Instrumental Friends Part 3 (2013), Monk wrote and performed twelve instrumental pieces about twelve of his friends. We caught up with Monk to chat about the album and his inspiration for the project. 

Fill in the blank: ____ Monk

Musical Monk

Are the people in the track titles (eg. Demented Dustin and Kind Katie) inspired by real friends of yours? 

They are friends of mine who took the time to fill out a questionnaire about themselves. They were asked to choose their adjective and musical selections. Other information biographical obtained from the questionnaires has been listed on my blog. On every post is a YouTube playlist for each Instrumental Friend that includes the tunes that their song is based on.

How does being a musician affect the friends and relationships in your life?

I have a joke amongst my friends that if you know me long enough, you’ll end up on a concept album. Many of those close to me have ended up on my albums including my parents! Also, many of my friends are gifted musicians and I see this as a fun way to showcase their talents.

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ange on 07/10/2013 at 12:49PM

Music for Video: Welcome Wizard Featured in Vimeo Staff Pick

When filmmaker Jesse Brass first stumbled upon the Faux Fetus artist Welcome Wizard, he discovered three seperate tracks that helped him profile a painter and her work. The first song "MLU" had an energy, demonstrating how passion can spark interest. To show the seriousness of the artwork, he was drawn to a dark and contemplative track called "Sheep Asleep." For the closing track, "Twelve Diseases," he found the motion and movement, "helped emphasize that her career is ahead of her and helps inspire people in the closing of her story."

His profile of how painter Melanie Norris sees beauty was recently selected as a Vimeo Staff Pick, and his next project about Toronto artists is currently up on Kickstarter. To find more Creative Commons Attribution tracks from Welcome Wizard, you can find their artist page here.

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ange on 06/06/2013 at 08:14AM

Music for Video: Shades of Drone

University of Haifa Younes & Soraya Nazarian Library (CC BY-SA)

Sometimes the sound you're looking for is a sound that sustains. Music for sitting right where you are, but going somewhere, slowly.

This Music for Video mix highlights many shades of drone and ambient electronic music from across the Free Music Archive, including some that can set a relaxing and joyful tone, and others that can be a tool for your most tense and chaotic scenes. The best drone delivers, creating a tonality upon which the rest of the piece is built, often creating a meditative space, taking on the feeling of a sculpture, and evoking intense feelings.

1. Lee Rosevere (websiteCC BY-NC) - Looking out the window of an airplane at dawn. Part of a compilation of songs intended for meditation and relaxing.

2. Zachary Cale, Mighty Moon & Ethan Schmid (websiteCC BY-NC) - The fifth in the Natch collaborative series features a team effort on "Trees Don't Sleep," which begins with two minutes of drone before the drums and melodies join in. Drone stays along for the ride.

3. Tom Carter (website, CC BY-NC-SA) - Looped guitar drones of immensely stacked beauty, with heaps of psychedelic melodic content. Fantastic.

4. Saito Koji (websiteCC BY-NC-SA) - Straight from the Fukushima native's most recent release, Koji's heavily distorted guitar grows large.

5. A. P. Vague (websiteCC BY-NC) - A calm loop slowly loses its cool, like driving through a spring rainstorm.

6. Candelgravity (website, CC BY-NC-SA) - The tragic and the beautiful twisted together.


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ange on 05/10/2013 at 10:15AM

Music for Video: Bring May Flowers

art by arimoore (flickr/cc by-nc-sa)

A mix of songs that are inspired, euphoric, and a little flirty. Tracks that remind you that it's getting warmer outside every day, and things are starting to grow.

As a follow up to our moody April Showers Mix, a collection of instrumentals for new loves, new creative challenges, and that feeling when the air outside perfectly matches your body temperature. A mix for noticing flowers on trees. For when all the girls start wearing skirts without tights again, and you leave your jacket at home. Let's go outside and enjoy every minute together.

1. Springtide (websiteCC BY-NC-SA) - You just got home from high school, and your favorite show is on TV. What it sounds like to think about moving to California. For more permissions contact the artist.

2. Small Colin (websiteCC BY-SA) - This song adds the right amount of significance to anything you pair with it. Try playing this while you tell a boring story. See? Contact the artist for more permissions.

3. Asthmatic Astronaut (websiteCC BY-NC-SA) - Dancing while you wait. This track is just a minute long, and will leave you wanting so much more. Contact the artist for more permissions.

4. Plurabelle (websiteCC BY-NC-SA) - Growing confidence. The sound of trying something for the first time, full of caution, curiosity, and hope, and then finding out you're pretty good at this.

5. Mermonte (websiteCC BY-NC-SA) - Indie instrumental with joyful bells and shakers. The Mermonte album art shows a girl in a blue dress, walking on a beach alone and barefoot. Vocals enter about a minute into the song.

6. Origami Repetika (websiteCC BY-NC) - This track is rooftop party tested, and evening air approved.


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music for video, joy, spring
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