Copyright free music and sound effects for teachers and students [Updated]

Free and legal music sources

Yesterday’s post gave great sites for free images and photos, all public domain or Creative Commons. Today’s post does the same thing for sound effects and music files. All the audio sites here have content that is public domain or released using one of the Creative Commons licences. I have focused on sites that primarily offer free content and that do not require accounts or other personal information in order to access them.

IB students should remember that any work submitted to the IB must attribution all material and ideas that are not the student’s own original work. This applies even if the material’s licence does not require attribution. Otherwise the student can appear to be claiming the work as their own, which opens them to accusations of plagiarism. The consequences of this are severe.

[First published January 2014; Updated September 2018]

You can also read about the best sites for copyright free images and copyright free icons.

Jamendo (music)

With a searchable database of over 400,000 free music tracks, Jamendo may be correct when it describes itself as ‘The world’s biggest free music library’. A comprehensive search feature lets you find exactly what you want. Although Jamendo claims its music is free for non-commercial use but requires a licence for commercial use, this seems to be contradicted by the individual licences. Many tracks, for example, use the Creative Commons BY-ND licence which does not prohibit commercial use.

MusOpen (music)

MusOpen - Free music siteRather than featuring music tracks, MusOpen’s free music features orchestral instruments playing individually, usually performing tracks from classical composers. These  have myriad uses, including for simple film and presentation soundtracks. The files can be previewed online but a free account is required to download. The site features hundreds of tracks, with new ones being regularly added.

Sound Bible (sound effects)

SoundBible is home to thousands of free sound effects files. Each file can be previewed online and is available to download in MP3 or WAV format. The listings all very clearly display the licence for each file – all files use one of the Creative Commons options (Attribution, Share-Alike, Non-Commercial, and so on). As with all the sites here, students should be aware of the implications of all Creative Commons licences.

FreeSound (sound effects)

Free music sitesFreeSound has a large library of sound effects – over 100,000 files in total. After sampling the files online you need to create a (free) account to download from FreeSound, but I have included the site here because the range and quality of the effects available often makes this worthwhile. Tags, comments, and download statistics can help users select the best – or at least most popular – files.

SFX Source (sound effects)

Free music sites

Although it is primarily a commercial stock-audio site, SFX Source does offer a good selection of high quality sound effects. I have included it here because although the selection may be smaller than some sites, the quality is arguably higher. There is no real search option for these files so users must simply scroll through the categories to find the effects that interest them.

Sound Jay (sound effects)

Sound Jay houses a relatively small collection (just over 3000 files, although it is growing) of high quality sound effects. All are royalty free for non-commercial use, making them perfect for student projects, websites, presentations, and videos. The files are divided into categories such as Human Sounds, Nature,  Transportation, and so on. There is also a selection of music.

Free music and sound effects for teachers and students
Article Name
Free music and sound effects for teachers and students
Today's post lists sites with free sound effects and music files - all public domain or licensed under Creative Commons licences. Perfect for ITGS classroom projects!
Publisher Name
Stuart Gray
Publisher Logo

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.