Artlist.io is a provider of royalty free music for filmmakers and multimedia creators.
Disclosure: This is NOT a sponsored review. All opinions and thoughts expressed within this review had no bias or outside influence. We may earn a commission on referred sales, but content integrity is our top priority.
Artlist.io is a solid competitor in the royalty free music subscription market, but their higher pricing and sleek yet not as simple UI makes it fall behind our top two recommendations: Soundstripe and AudioBlocks.
With that being said, if you can afford the extra cost of the annual subscription, Artlist can be an acceptable investment. Their audio library is large, with a wide variety of tracks spanning different genres, instruments, and moods.
Take note, unlike many of the competing royalty free music subscription services, Artlist.io does not offer any form of sound effects within their subscription costs. This makes the $199 annual fee a bit tougher to justify.
A Good Buy For Some
Our Editor's Choice for royalty free music services offering the best user experience, content library, and annual pricing out of all competing services. Soundstripe is a phenomenal choice for filmmakers, podcasters, videographers, and YouTubers as their library is full of a wide assortment of songs and even sound effects if you opt for their higher-tiered plan.
Audioblocks is our second choice for royalty free music offering a similar experience to Soundstripe with a slightly lower quality music library and a bit pricer annual subscription fee. Audioblocks is a subsidy of Storyblocks, which also operates Videoblocks (a royalty free video footage service) and Storyblocks Images (a royalty free image service).
In the filmmaking and multimedia community, there is a substantial need for quality royalty free music as online media distribution is at an all-time high. These distribution services and social media websites that capture the majority of the views or listens often have strict copyright filters. These filters will automatically remove content or blacklist accounts that use unlicensed music or audio tracks.
Fortunately, many providers are seeking to help those looking for quality royalty free audio tracks. Artlist is the service that we will be taking a closer look at and evaluating in this review.
Our Artlist review is NOT sponsored. The company has had no say or influence on the outcome of this review. Rest assured, we will do our best to be thorough and unbiased while highlighting what we like and don't like about this up and coming royalty free music provider.
Licensing & Pricing Options
Should you decide to sign up for Artlist's annual subscription, you'll be met with only one pricing option which is a flat-rate annual fee of $199 per year. Unlike the competition, there is no pay per month option, which means you'll have to dish out more cash upfront and make a yearly commitment.
We understand this is less than ideal for many creators who want to be able to try a service on a temporary basis without putting as much cash on the line before committing to an annual plan. For whatever reason, Artlist has decided against offering this type of thing and you'll be stuck with the annual subscription or going with another service.
Beyond the lack of flexible payment options, Artlist's library is priced $65 higher than Soundstripe, our Editor's Choice for royalty free music. Our runner-up choice Audioblocks is $149 for their unlimited plan (they offer a $99 plan capped to 3 songs a month) thus, Artlist being $51 more expensive.
Comparing the lack of pricing options and higher subscription costs compared to our top two recommendations, Artlist isn't an easy sell. For the $199 price-point, we'd like to see sound effects included within the library to help justify the higher cost, yet this isn't the case here.
Does The Base Subscription Cover Commerical Use?
Unlike some pay per track providers, Artlist DOES allow commercial use for their entire royalty free licensed music library once you purchase an annual subscription. This means you can use the licensed audio for virtually any purpose in the future, including paid and branded advertising. The only stipulates Artlist makes on their library is that your content falls under their “proper use” and “reasonable use” guidelines:
Proper use means that we don’t allow our music to appear in films that advocate violence or incitement, pornography, obscenity, racism or hatred towards any group. We do not license music for use in films that encourage discrimination against one person or a group of people based on race, religion, gender, sexual orientation or national origin. Nor do we consent to the use of the material in any way that constitutes a threat, harm, invasion of privacy, defamation or any other offensive content.
“Reasonable use” is a set of guidelines we use to help prevent the abuse of our site’s resources and to ensure that the content is available to all of our subscribers when they want it. The guidelines also help to prevent the theft or unlicensed use of the content.
After downloading 20 songs a day, you will see a message asking you to confirm that you are human and not a robot. (We don’t give music to robots.) After 40 songs a day, we ask that you come back the next calendar day if you want to download more music.
Is There Any Sort of Free Trial Offer?
Artlist does not offer any form of a free trial, which is disappointing yet expected in this type of industry. In the past, Audioblocks did provide a free trial, but they have since removed this offer, and Soundstripe also does not offer any form of a free trial period, so this matches the competition.
You can create a trial account that will allow you to download watermarked MP3s of tracks in the catalog for temporary use in the editing stage (to see if the song fits before purchasing). However, this obviously will require you to purchase
User Interface & Layout
The Artlist interface is relatively sleek, and it doesn't look like something designed several years ago, which is appreciated. However, we find it not to be as smooth and user-friendly as Soundstripe's or even Audioblocks' interface, which just received a considerable overhaul.
While the library is decently organized, the actual sorting options are a bit scattered across the UI. For example, in the top left by the Artlist logo is the search button. On the left side of the library panel, you can segment by things like mood, video theme, genre, or instrument. If you wish to sort by tempo, duration, or vocals/instrumentals, you'll need to utilize the toggles in the top right of the UI.
Opening the ‘spotlight' section of the interface, you can find all of the staff curated playlists, which change over time and all focus around a particular theme. For example, at this time, you'll discover spotlight bundles for weddings, holidays (currently Halloween), vlogs, and even a playlist inspired by the Netflix Original series, Stranger Things.
Music Library Quality & Selection
Within the Artlist library of tracks, you'll find a lot of variety throughout their offerings. These range from classical music to jazz to EDM. You can choose from a limited selection of track with vocals or opt to just have an instrumental should your project require one.
Here is a greater rundown of the different music filtering categories available within their library:
- Time Lapse
- Road Trip
- Sports & Fitness
- Building & City
- Slow Motion
- Hip Hop
- Soul & RnB
- Backing Vocals
- Electric Guitar
- Acoustic Guitar
- Mandolin & Ukelele
- Electronic Drums
- Acoustic Drums
- Claps & Snaps
- Wind Instruments
At the end of the day, Artlist has a lot to like in a royalty free music subscription. Given it is in fierce competition with bigger services like Soundstripe and Audioblocks, Artlist just falls short in pricing, interface and overall quality of their audio library. If you are looking to supplement Artlist alongside Soundstripe and Audioblocks for a greater variety of tracks then we think it's a good buy. However, if you are just looking to invest in a single service then we think you should go with Soundstripe.