With the amazingly powerful tools students have at their fingertips, creating rich and interactive media is no longer a novelty, it’s a must. Bringing together words, images, audio and video from every corner of the web, students are building real digital masterpieces. But making sure all those pieces are legal, referenced and attributed correctly can be a minefield of licenses, copyright notices and terms and conditions.
We have discussed some of the best ways to help your students find and attribute images but this time we want to share some of the best options for finding royalty free audio. Whether looking for an opening scene melody, a subtle background track or realistic sound effects, these five sites will put your class on the right path.
Used by superstars, struggling artists and digital amateurs, SoundCloud is the go to place for musicians looking to get exposure for their music. Not only does this benefit artists, it also makes for an amazing free resource that students looking for original, high quality audio tracks can take advantage of. Using the advanced search feature, students can filter results to display Creative Commons licensed tracks to listen to, embed and in many cases download for use in their own projects.
If students are looking for specific sound effects, noises or background clips, SoundBible is a great place to start. Offering thousands of different Creative Commons and Public Domain sounds, each clip is clearly labelled with the license information. Students can even contribute their own recordings to the collection as well as make requests for specific audio clips.
Royalty Free Music is a subscription site offering all sorts of royalty free media, with music being the focus. While a paid subscription is required, educators who would like to use royalty-free music in their classroom can submit an application to download stock music free of charge.
Freesound is a huge collaborative database of audio snippets, samples, recordings and bleeps released under Creative Commons licenses. Similar to SoundBible, the focus is on sound effects but Freesound does offer a number of search filters allowing students to sort audio by license, file-type, sample-rate, bit-depth, tags and more.
While not specifically sites for finding royalty free audio, YouTube and Animoto are both magnificent tools for adding completely free (and extremely high quality) audio and music tracks to video. Both sites have done all the hard work of paying licenses and ironing out the fine print, so that students can simply select the tracks they want from the enormous audio libraries and integrate them seamlessly into their video projects.
Links and Next Steps
- Creative Commons: About The Licenses -Details on Creative Commons licensing
- Choosing a License – Interactive tool to help define the right license
- The Educator’s Guide to Copyright, Fair Use, and Creative Commons
- SoundGator – More options for free sound effects
- Free Music Archive (Beta) – More options for free music
- Musopen – Browse by composer, performer, instrument, form and time period
Feature image courtesy of Flickr, jadepalmer.