A free resource for finding legal, podsafe music and video
What is Open Media?
Opendefinition.org offers the following description:
“A piece of content or data is open if anyone is free to use, reuse, and redistribute it — subject only, at most, to the requirement to attribute and share-alike.”.
“A service is open if its source code is Free/Open Source Software and non-personal data is open as in the Open Knowledge Definition (OKD).”
Where can I find Open music or video?
Here are some places where you can find music or video snippets that are always safe to include in your blog, podcast or videoblog:
Archives and Repositories
Creative Archive Licence Group - A UK initiative, set up by The BBC, the bfi, Channel 4 and the Open University, that allows UK citizens to share and re-use content, under the terms and conditions as set out in the Creative Archive Licence. The open archives and collections can be found via the "For download" link on the side menu. Materials include clips from programmes and still images.
Cylinder Preservation and Digitization Project - A digital collection of over 6,000 cylinder recordings from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. These recordings can be freely downloaded or streamed online and are available in mp3 and wav formats. The wav files are unedited transfers of the original cylinders and have not been restored to remove clicks and other surface noise. They are not protected by copyright and can be used for either non-commercial or for-profit use. The mp3 files are restored versions currently licensed for use under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.5 License. (Department of Special Collections; Donald C. DavidsonLibrary, University of California, Santa Barbara)
Folktunes.org - An archive of folk tunes covering the blues, country and other styles of music. The website provides tagged browsing of artists, songs, collections and instruments. All material is available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 license.
Internet Archive - A nonprofit digital library with thousands of videos and audio recordings, many of which are in the public domain or available under Creative Commons licenses. The Audio archive is divided into sub-sections; the largest collections of podsafe music can be found under Net labels and Open Source Audio, where you’ll find hundreds of songs, from the Grateful Dead to classic recordings. Other collections, including Live Music and 78 RPMs, are available. Video material — including short films, documentaries, video clips and other footage — can be found in the Moving Images archive and the Prelinger Archives. (RSS feed)
Musopen - A community driven, online repository of public domain music. You may sample and remix the music into derivative commercial works so long as you attribute Musopen and do not directly sell the original recordings for profit.
NINJAM AutoSong Archive - An archive of collaborative online jam sessions available to stream and download in MP3 format under a Creative Commons license. Derivative works may be created from the lengthy improvisations which makes this a useful source of fresh musical ideas and content. A large M3u playlist and RSS feeds are available.
A collaborative initiative to source, digitise and distribute out of copyright sound recordings. Recordings in the archive are hosted in the UK and are in the public domain in the UK. However, people based outside of the UK should be cautious about using them as compositions and recordings may be bound to different copyright laws internationally. The archive is open for anyone to use and contribute to.
BitTorrent and P2P File Sharing
LegalTorrents - Provides a collection of Creative Commons licensed audio and video distributed via BitTorrent. A good source of electronic and indie music net label output including full albums and catalog compilations.
Jamendo - A p2p music distribution network that helps artists to promote, publish and be financially rewarded for their works. Artists have distributed more than 1,000 of their albums under Creative Commons licenses. The public can freely download, listen, copy and redistribute any music from Jamendo in accordance with the licensing agreement chosen by the artists.
Morpheus P2P Network - A significant number of authorized copyright holders are sharing files under Creative Commons licenses. Public domain material is also shared by people on the network.
Outhink’s SpinXpress - A free p2p service that lets you invite anyone into a private, secure network for collaboration in creating and sharing large media files, including videos. What you get depends on whom you invite.
Public Domain Torrents - Offers free and legal public domain movies for download via BitTorrent technology. You can choose from hundreds of classic films, animations and B-movies sorted by category. There are versions available for PDA, IPOD, PSP and some movies can be streamed via Google Video.
Catalogs and Collections
CC Hits - A web-application that allows people to find and share Creative Commons or public domain music. Songs can be uploaded, ranked, tagged, streamed and downloaded. Licenses are clearly displayed next to each track. CC Hits is a Digg clone built using Ning, a web-based platform for creating social applications which can in turn be cloned to create new projects. The ranking system helps to promote high-quality CC music.
Common Content - An open catalog of Creative Commons licensed content that includes audio, video, images, text and web sites. Visitors can browse topic categories or use the search engine to find content.
Copacetix Creative Commons Licensed Music - Provides a small collection of original short musical works that are suitable for use in podcasts. The royalty-free pieces are created in various themed styles and distributed in MP3 format.
Diesel-U-Music - A competition for unsigned bands playing rock, urban/hip-hop and electronic music. An archive of featured tracks is available under the CC Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 license (go to menu U-Get-It > Featured Tracks).
Icompetech - Provides a growing collection of royalty-free music compositions in MP3 format. Categories include piano, orchestral, classical, space opera, acid jazz, disco, Latin, polka, rap/RnB, reggae, rock/pop, holiday/Christmas and more. All music is available under a CC license and may be used for commercial and non-commercial projects.
Linux.org Music - Releases compilation CDs of music by artists using libre software. Music downloads are available in Flac and OGG formats under various legal licenses.
Machine Has No Agenda - A music/media/social issues website featuring bands with music made available under a Creative Commons license. Audio can be streamed at the site or downloaded in MP3 format, zip archive and via BitTorrent.
Musikethos.org - Provides a growing collection of classical and jazz recordings made by professional musicians. The archives feature new recordings of music already in the public domain and contemporary music by composers who authorize the not-for-profit distribution of their work through the site. The recordings are available in mp3 format under a Creative Commons licence and terms require any recordings used be attributed mentioning the performing musician and the fact that the file was obtained through Musikethos.org.
Oddio Overplay - Connects artists and audiences through a growing catalog of legal music-sharing sites. The networked sites all provide a selection of full length tracks in MP3 or OGG format. The emphasis is on independent and alternative artists not usually heard on popular media channels.
Podsafe Audio - The site aims to provide a place where independent artists can upload music under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license for use in podcasts, mashups, Webcasts and elsewhere. Its sister site is Podsafe Music Reviews.
Pop Goes Lethal - Offers a small collection of podsafe music by various artists.
Public Domain 4U - A collection of around eighty, early blues recordings, converted to MP3 format. These are public domain recordings that are free to download and share.
Uhort.no - Maintains a list of music that is cleared by the artists on uhort.no for use in podcasts. The terms for use are that the podcast must mention the artist and that the music was obtained at uhort.no. You also have to inform uhort.no (email@example.com) and the artist where to obtain the finished podcast.
Unsigned UK Music - A website showcasing quality handpicked podsafe music.
V-fib Recordings - A rock music co-op promoting free CC-licensed compilations of underexposed music from both the past and present. The CC license appears when you click on a music download link.
Vorbis Music Sites - A collection of links to sites with music and other audio sources freely available in the Ogg format. Some of the creators use 'Open' licenses including Creative Commons and EFF's Open Audio License.
Wikipedia: Sound/list - This is a list of full length copyleft/public domain songs available on Wikipedia or the Commons. The list is alphabetically sorted by composer and all songs are available to download in ogg format. See /playlist for just the URLs to use with a music player. You can copy and paste the list of URLs into a text file and save it with m3u extension for loading with your favorite player.
Collaborative, Remix, Sampling
ccMixter - A community site and tool for musicians to exchange ideas and build collaborative music projects. The free service allows users to share songs, remixes and audio samples licensed under Creative Commons. You can upload your original songs so that other people can remix your work. The CC license means you can legally download, sample and remix music on the site and share the results freely. Under the "Remixes" menu you'll find the "Remix Radio" where you can select a style of music to automatically create your own music stream or podcast from a random pool of remixes. ccMixter also runs regular remix contests.
Jamglue - A social remix website that provides online mixing capabilities via a web-based music creation application. All works are either in the Public Domain or licensed under Creative Commons.
MyVirtualBand.com - A collaborative music community committed to the idea of open source music. You can download Creative Commons licensed songs and distribute, display, or perform them.
Splice - A remix community and social network with a web-based loop mixing application and music tools. All sounds on the site are protected with an Attribution Creative Commons license.
See also NINJAM under Archives
15 Megs of Fame - A community where bands post MP3 files of their music. Listeners can leave comments and rate the music which is free to share under a Creative Commons Music Sharing License.
ArtistServer.com - Provides free music hosting for indie and unsigned bands. Try typing CC in the search box when looking for bands using Creative Commons licenses. After an initial search another option appears on the menu that allows you to search by license. All media carry a clearly visible license flag.
Beatmaka.com - A website that hosts and streams mp3 music files by independent artists. All music is selected by a review panel for quality control. Most of the music is licensed under a Creative Commons Music Sharing license.
Dance-Industries - A community for artists and fans specializing in copyleft dance and trance music. You can search for music by style, artist, song title and country. Tracks are released under a Creative Commons Music Sharing License (Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0).
ElectroBel - A Belgian underground electronic music community with thousands of copyleft songs released under a Creative Commons license. All works can be freely distributed and used for all non-commercial purposes.
GarageBand - A free MP3 music community and podcast host (not to be confused with Apple’s GarageBand application) with thousands of indie bands to discover. Try this Google search for works released under CC licenses.
MacJams.com - An online community and repository of music created by people using the Macintosh platform. All works are licensed under Creative Commons.
MyMusicStream.com - A streaming music site and community that gives artists the option to distribute mp3 music files under a Creative Commons Music Sharing License. The site is designed to help artists promote themselves online, gain airtime for music and music videos, interact with fans and gain exposure.
Open Music Factory - An independent musicians community where you can find all types of musical projects. Musicians collaborate by using the forums to communicate and post audio files which can be hosted at the Internet Archive or elsewhere. The site encourages musicians to upload their work using Creative Commons licences.
SectionZ - An electronic music community where many artists make tracks available under Creative Commons licenses. Each music page clearly displays the CC license if applicable.
Simuze - A Dutch music community where musicians and music lovers meet can meet, exchange music and share playlists. Musicians can upload tracks under a Creative Commons license of their own choice. Music lovers can download music, listen to it, remix it or make other derivative works of it, share it or use it in podcasts.
SoundClick - CC License - A music community website that features both signed and unsigned bands. This link takes you to the CC music genre that boasts over 200.000 CC licenses. All tracks can be streamed from the page with links to the artists’ webpage. You can search SoundClick for CC music using the following links: Google - Yahoo! or type site:soundclick.com into this Creative Commons Search Engine.
Distribution Platforms and Licensed Content
Creative Commons Audio - This page provides an audio search engine for searching by license type. A selection of featured audio sites and links to interesting licensed content are also presented.
Elektrobong Corporation - A content distribution platform providing high quality audiovisual content directly from the creators. This is a good source of materials licensed under creative commons including netlabel releases, VJ works and music videos. Community style tools, news and networking make this a powerful net audio hub.
IODA Promonet - A promotional music distribution network that supplies thousands of pre-cleared net label promotional tracks. The service is available to established podcasts, blogs and music-focused websites. In exchange for the free music, users must adhere to usage guidelines designed to provide maximum exposure for artists and labels. This involves a package using special licenses, digital promotional materials and sales links.
Musique-libre.org - A portal and community for free music downloads and artist information. All music is published by community members using various copyleft licenses which means the tracks can be downloaded and shared legally. Music podcasters will find the combination of clear licensing information and music streaming very useful when looking for show material. Free membership offers a range of community features designed to facilitate music discovery, promotion and distribution.
PodcastSPOTS - A free podcast creation and hosting solution with a podsafe music vault and viral marketing distribution.
Podsafe Music Network - A large repository of podsafe music and a free service designed to help podcasters, artists and listeners to share music legally.
Rumblefish - rovides music from a pre-cleared catalog of independent artists and arranges licensing strategies for professional projects. Artists represented include George Clinton, Kool & the Gang, Ohmega Watts, Mel Torme, Cex, Art Tatum, Rye Hollow, John Kelley and others. The podcasting license lets podcasters include a song for $5 per song per podcast episode (the net license fee is split with the artist) with unlimited downloads of each episode in return for an acknowledgement of the artist in the podcast.
The Weed Files - A music distribution service and file portal with a large pool of podsafe music for use by podcasters. See the Podsafe Files Agreement under Resources on the menu bar. To find podsafe music go to the music section. Path: music>browse>files>podsafe
Wikipedia - Production Music Companies - A list of music licensing services.
Wikipedia - Royalty Free Music - A list of commercial websites offering single fee licenses.
See also Netlabels
Documentaries, Movies, Video Clips
Blip.TV - A free videoblogging, podcasting and video sharing service with thousands of grassroots videos, many of which are licensed under Creative Commons.
Fifty Animated Short Films from the National Film Board of Canada - The collection includes several animation classics and spans 65 years of animation at the NFB. Pre-authorized licenses allow the works on the site to be used for non-commercial educational purposes.
Lulu TV - A video site where creators share their works under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs license. Videos can easily be embedded in blogs and web pages using the supplied code. Content creators may register a Shareholder account and get paid based on the amount of traffic a video receives. No advertising is used on the site or in videos.
Maker Faire VJ Clips (2006) - A collection of short clips created for live video mixing. Shot on April 22, 2006 at the Maker Faire in San Mateo, they are now available under a CC Attribution 2.5 license.
Metavid - Archives public domain senate and house footage under a free-document license, facilitating collective reuse and annotation of metavid archived content. You can search video metadata using text queries to find keywords associated with the recording. To view the clips in a web browser you need firefox and annodex.
NerdTV - A weekly technology show from PBS.org columnist Robert X Cringely. Featuring one hour interviews with leading technology experts. The NerdTV mpeg-4 video, mp3, ogg vorbis, aac audio, and text transcripts are distributed under a Creative Commons license so viewers can legally copy, redistribute, extract, edit and modify the shows.
Open Source VJ Loops & Performances - This is a collaborative collection of VJ clips and visual works hosted at the Internet Archive. Most of the works are pre-cleared for creative use or issued under CC licenses. A useful resource for VJs, DJs, musicians and artists seeking visual content and materials.
Revver - A website that provides the tools for users to upload and share video clips. All videos use a Creative Commons Share-Alike license which permits redistribution. Clips can be embedded into blogs or websites using the automatically generated code. Short advertisements are attached to the end of videos as part of a revenue sharing model for users.
See also Internet Archive under Archives
Berklee Shares - Provides a library of free music lessons in audio, video, and print-ready formats including: MP3 audio lessons, QuickTime video lessons, and PDF text/graphic/notation lessons. All content is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs-NonCommercial license. It can be used, copied, or distributed only for non-commercial educational purposes. No modifications or derivative works may be made.
University Channel - A collection of public affairs lectures, panels and events from academic institutions all over the world. Audio and video materials are available to the public for viewing, listening, streaming and downloading under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Sharelike 2.5 license.
See also Internet Archive under Archives.
BeatPick - A London-based netlabel releasing music under Creative Commons licenses. The website lets you listen to full albums of all artists and there's also a streaming playlist of the month. Non-commercial projects can use the music for free once purchased. For commercial ventures, music can be licensed instantly online using the licensing options panel via the link on each artist page. Licensees can quickly get quotes, make payments, download valid agreements and CD quality wav files.
Big Sonic Recordings - The Pittsburgh based label has released its catalog under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-NoDerivs license. Every artist has an online store full of merchandise that you can purchase if you wish to support them.
Camomille - A free music netlabel created by Genshi Media to promote the distribution of high quality, professional music through the use of the internet. Features idm electronics mixed with new age and emotional hip-hop and states a CC license in its terms.
Dying Giraffe Recordings - Releasing DIY music under a Creative Commons license. Artists keep the rights to their music and get 50% of the profits from selling CDs. See the FAQ for details and philosophy.
Epsilonlab - A Montreal-based audio-visual label dedicated to promotion of innovative electronic music and digital art. Releases include CDs, DVDs and a constantly-evolving repertoire of downloadable audio-visual files. Content is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
Fading Ways - A Canadian-based indie-label with international outlets. Music and label samplers are released under Creative Commons licenses. Several sampler compilations are available at the Share Website. The Mission Statement explains the reasons for their copyleft releases.
Free Sample Zone - A netlabel published by Chenard Walcker with many albums worth of his material. His compositions are created using cut and paste sampling techniques and released under a CC license. All the releases are free with complete artwork and liner notes.
Magnatune - An online label that represents hundreds of artists, Berkeley, Calif.-based Magnatune allows you to legally use their music in your podcast -- for free. All Magnatune MP3s are licensed under Creative Commons and may be downloaded at no cost for podcast use. Large catalog of artists with music across all genres. Select an album, select the "license" link and then go to "Non-commercial use" to download 128kbps MP3s.
Netlabel Catalogue - An index and directory of music labels which offer free downloads. The site provides RSS feeds and maintains a regularly updated list of new netlabels, music releases and netaudio charts. This is a good resource for discovering new releases most of which use copyleft licenses.
Opsound - A wide-ranging open pool of copyleft music and sound files that enables copying, sharing, remixing and even selling of work by artists. Sound files are available under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 license, or placed in the public domain.
Polymorphic Music - A free netlabel interested in all types of music. The site has a Flash jukebox for listening to tracks and you are free to distribute the music in appliance with the Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Creative Commons license.
Positron! Records - A netlabel where artists have the option of releasing their works under a Creative Commons license. A selection of free podsafe music is available along with music released under the CC Sampling Plus license for sampling, remixing and mash-ups.
sonicSQUIRREL.net - A platform and distribution channel for netlabels, providing copyleft music downloads in mp3 and ogg formats. A useful feature is the ability to listen to recommended music playlists created by DJs and other users.
Sub Pop Records - States on the info page: "While we're unable to give you blanket permission to use any ole song you want from our catalog, you may incorporate any of the songs that are freely available as MP3s in the multimedia section of this website http://www.subpop.com/scripts/main/multimedia.php into your podcasts. HOWEVER, we do reserve the right to change our mind about the availability of any song for any reason at any time. Fickle, no?"
Thinner/Autoplate - A German netlabel distributing dub inspired electronic music in the form of MP3 files under a Creative Commons License. Styles include minimal, dub, electro, house, techno, ambient.
MusicForRobots Podsafe Music - A site for indie bands to post their songs for wider distribution.
Podcasts and Feeds
Association of Music Podcasting (AMP) - Provides support for music podcasters wishing to deliver permission-based, legal music. Members have access to music that musicians have submitted to the AMP library for inclusion in individual podcasts. There's a good selection of member podcasts to choose from.
AudioFeeds.org - Indexes independent music that is freely and legally available online. Podcast feeds are shared using a Creative Commons - Music Sharing License, which means you can download, copy, share, trade, distribute and publicly perform (e.g. webcast) any of the available files. The service is designed help promote the use of XML Audio Feeds as a means of distribution in the independent music scene. All submitted content is strictly moderated and podsafe.
Big Contact - Provides tools to help you find and publish audio and video podcasts. You can create your own customizable streaming media site and add streaming media players to existing sites. The community is based around sharing music with Creative Commons licenses and is useful for finding podsafe media.
Black Sweater White Cat - An over-the-air radio show heard on WBCR-LP, 97.7 FM in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. The show is all about copyleft music from across the internet and across the world. This link searches for all BSWC playlists hosted at the Internet Archive by date added.
Songs from the Commons - A podcast series focusing on the Creative Commons movement and music. Lisa Rein showcases the new creative frontier in a step by step guide to copyright issues affecting artists and the public. Weekly MP3 shows feature a mix of informative interviews, soundbites and quality music released using CC licenses. Music-only versions are also available for download.
Radio and Internet Streams
CBA - Cultural Broadcasting Archive - An open access database and audio archive of radio contributions for exchanging between free radio stations. Radio shows, alternative media coverage, interviews, etc are stored, published on the server, and shared with other stations and journalists for non-commercial use (multiple languages). Audio files can be freely downloaded for private use but commercial use - even excerpts - is prohibited.
- The Creative Commons Podcast Tools page provides links to podcasting legal guides, practical advice and other infrmation for podcasters.
- Wikipedia has an entry on the origins of podsafe music.
- People bookmarking this page on del.icio.us
Open Media Directory researched, curated and edited by David Holmes. Email: daveholmesprojects (at) gmail.com for additions or revisions to this living directory.
Notice: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License
You are free to adapt, build upon, and redistribute this work under the terms of license. Please attribute David Holmes as the original creator and where possible include a link to this Open Media Directory page: http://davidholmes.net/pages/open-media-directory