Copyright & Multimedia: Audio

Make sure that you understand the basics of copyright and fair use before you consider using third-party multimedia content for your multimedia projects. Learn more by reading these pages: Introduction, What Can I Use?, Can I Claim Fair Use?, and Using Creative Commons Licensed Materials.

Below, we have listed several sites with music or sound recordings that you may be able to use in your projects without getting permission from the copyright holder. Be sure to check the copyright/license status and be sure it matches with your use - it is your responsibility to determine that your use of third party materials is legal!

Free Music Archive

The Free Music Archive offers free downloads under Creative Commons and other licenses. License terms are shown on the download pages.

Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons is a media file repository making available public domain and Creative Commons licensed media content. You can search from the main Wikipedia Commons page and limit your results to Audio, or browse all of their audio files, including music, spoken word, and other sounds. 


This is a community music remixing site featuring remixes and samples licensed under Creative Commons licenses.

Audio Library

In the YouTube Audio Library, you can find royalty-free production music and sound effects to use in your videos.

Audio Archive

This library contains recordings ranging from alternative news programming, to Grateful Dead concerts, to Old Time Radio shows, to book and poetry readings, to original music uploaded by users. Many are available for free download. 

BBC Sound Effects 

There are over 33,000 clips from across the world from the past 100 years. These include clips made by the BBC Radiophonic workshop, recordings from the Blitz in London, special effects made for BBC TV and Radio productions, as well as 15,000 recordings from the Natural History Unit archive. he sounds may be used The BBC content may be used for non-commercial, personal or research purposes, and for formal education purposes while you are a student or a member of staff of a school, college or university. View the full terms of use.

BBC Sound Effects is also available in a collection of 40 CDs that can be easily ripped for use in a digital project. The sounds are licensed to be used in audio, video, and film productions. To find sound effects, use this list and note the CD and track numbers. Ask for the CDs at the Library's Service Desk (call number CD 3696)

Legal Music for Videos

This page form Creative Commons has links to additional sites for CC-licensed audio files.


Musopen is a 501(c)(3) non-profit focused on increasing access to music by creating free resources and educational materials. They provide recordings, sheet music, and textbooks to the public for free, without copyright restrictions. offers free sound clips for download in either WAV or MP3 format. The Royalty Free Sounds can indeed be used for commercial uses. The free sounds can only if they are under the Creative Commons Attribution, or Public Domain License.


Freesound is a collaborative database of sounds released under Creative Commons licenses.

More Resources

Find more audio resources in our Streaming Media guide.

The Extreme Music Library (on CD)

This collection of 24 CDs has a wide variety of instrumental music that can be easily ripped for use in a digital project. The sounds are licensed to be used in not-for-profit, educational audio, video, and film productions. The catalog records in HoyaSearch include a note with the genre for each CD. Use those notes to find the CD you are interested in and ask for the CD at the Library's Service Desk (call number CD 1275 and CD 1276).

Introduction  What Can I Use? /  Can I Claim Fair Use?
Video  /  Audio  /  Images