This is my top 10 music licensing companies. The listings are in no particular order, and the companies that made the list are based on my own personal experience and the experience of others I know; both in the music industry themselves, or those licensing music for projects.
1 – The Music Bed
Music Bed are probably the most pedantic when it comes to the artists and tracks they will allow on their website. At present only some 650 artists make their music available on the Music Bed platform. What this means is highly curated content. While just about any piece of music can find a home in a project, Music Bed make certain that all sound recordings are of the highest quality. Their website could be a little more user-friendly, though, and their license pricing structure is a little obscure. Artists on Music Bed enjoy little competition due to the stringent curating process.
2 – Songtradr
Songtradr is pretty new to the licensing scene, having officially launched in March of 2016. They are a “free for all” site, meaning anyone can upload tracks to the platform. Nothing is curated, so there is the task of sifting through. However, their website is super simple to use. Very uncluttered and clean, making it easy to look at and navigate. Plus, their search function is very accurate, making it simple to find suitable music tracks. Their pricing is tiered depending on the kind of project you need a license for.
3 – Premium Beat
Premium Beat also curate their artists and tracks just like Music Bed. What makes Premium Beat different is they ask their artists for exclusivity (something I don’t agree with). But what this means for those wishing to license music, is they will find music on PB that won’t be found anywhere else. It also depletes how many other projects may be using the exact same music tracks. There is some great music on Premium Beat and I like their website, though the clutter could be trimmed back a little.
4 – Audio Network
Audio Network is a sophisticated licensing website that also curates its artists and content. I’m not a fan of the layout of their website, but they certainly have some great artists and music to choose from. They tailor their prices to the project you are working on, keeping the pricing fair. Another interesting feature about the Audio Network site is it can be displayed in a number of different languages, such as: English, German, Spanish, French, Italian, Japanese and Portuguese.
5 – Pond5
Pond5 offer more than just music for licensing. There is also video stock footage, sound effects, images and 3D models. It is another free for all site as far as contributors are concerned. However, they do curate the content to a degree, as in content has to first go through an approval process before it’s made available on their website. While the offerings on Pond5 are not all awesome (there is a lot of junk on there), they do have some incredibly cheap prices for licensing music. It’s just a matter of having the time to really search for what you want on there, as it does take some time.
6 – Music Dealers
Again a curator of both content and artists, Music Dealers also offer custom music scores. If you need a specific piece of music made that you can’t find on their site, they can set you up with a composer to create it for you. They have placed numerous licenses with big known companies like MacDonald’s, Nike and Sony Pictures. Music Dealers also have customised playlists, making the search for appropriate music that much easier.
7 – Audio Socket
Sorting their curated content into three sections – Genres, Moods, Themes – makes for an interesting way of searching for the music you desire. Of course, they also have a regular search function as well. As everything on their site is pre-cleared for licensing, the process of obtaining music from artists on Audio Socket is a quick and painless one. Their prices for individual licenses are on a par with Music Bed, but they also offer discounts through their package deals when you purchase more than one license at a time.
8 – Beat Pick Music
This is yet another curated website. While Beat Pick have some fantastic tracks and artists to choose from, their website is pretty ordinary to look at. Certainly doesn’t get you excited. Looks like it was created back in the 90s. Also, they are not very transparent when it comes to some obvious details about their company and operation. That being said I still think it’s a good website to find some quality music for licensing purposes. They also have a partner site called Sound Reef.
9 – Audio Jungle
A free for all site where any artist can upload tracks. From an artist point of view, their upload process totally sucks and is extremely slow and painful. From a buyer’s perspective, loads of good quality tracks to choose from and the prices are pretty reasonable as well. They also have some partner sites for images, 3D graphics, video footage, themes etc.. Not my number one choice of music licensing sites, but not too bad.
10 – Getty Images Music
Just like with their photos and stock video footage, Getty Images offer up the same kind of intensive curating for their music portal and high prices to match. They’ve always been popular with publishers for decades for their photography selection, and in recent years they’ve been trying to make themselves more relevant through offering music licensing. It’s worth a look, but their prices may throw you.
Whatever site you choose to get your music from you are bound to find some awesome tracks from many fantastic artists. If you want the very best sound quality guaranteed, then I recommend trying Music Bed. For ease of use, great search accuracy and fair pricing, then give Songtradr a try. Perhaps you have a favourite not featured on this list. Let us know in the comments below.