With the holiday season being one of the most exciting times of the year, finding royalty-free Christmas music for use in related multimedia projects can be a difficult task due to copyright restrictions. Thankfully there are some great sites and resources online that provide royalty-free music for an affordable price.
Our team did the research and found that our top pick for finding quality copyright free music is Soundstripe. We chose this service for its affordable pricing, a decent selection of Christmas tunes, and easy to use interface.
In the remainder of this article, we will touch on all of the various services we recommend for finding Christmas songs for use in your various multimedia projects this holiday season. We will also answer common questions you may have about the legality of using royalty-free licensing for music.
Where To Find Royalty Free Music For Christmas
One of the most popular services for finding royalty free music in today's market is Soundstripe. Their subscription model allows the ability to download and use any number of tracks from within their extensive library for one flat cost per year.
While their library is vast and extends far more than just Christmas songs, the number of tunes that fit the festive holiday spirit is excellent for most. While some of you just require music, if you opt for the higher-tier of the Soundstripe subscription, you'll also be able to utilize their sound effects library which includes some bells and snow sounds.
Since all of Soundstripe's music is royalty and copyright free, you have the ability to use any of the Christmas music (or any other songs) for any use. This includes commercial use without any complicated agreements or usage restrictions which is convenient and simple.
Our runner-up for finding copyright free Christmas music legally for digital projects is AudioBlocks (aka Storyblocks Audio). One of the first services on the royalty free market to offer unlimited use for a flat annual cost, Audioblocks has paved the way for competing services like Soundstripe.
Recently going through a major overhaul of their user interface (which we found much needed based on our previous review), the service is easy to use and navigate. Their selection of Christmas music is vast with a large selection of both songs and sound effects with plenty of carols and bells present.
AudioBlocks used to be one of the more affordable subscription costs, but as the company has grown to include more than just royalty free music (they now over royalty free video and images), the costs of their audio subscription has risen.
They offer three plans starting from just $99 annually (or $9/month), but this plan is limited to 3 song downloads a month. The higher tier plans offer unlimited use for a more expensive monthly cost.
Unlike the other two resources on this list, AudioJungle is less of a service and more of a marketplace for royalty-free music and sound effects. This means that AudioJungle is a website that links people who need copyright free music to creators and composers who wish to sell their own work.
Due to the change from a subscription service to a marketplace, AudioJungle instead sells each track on its own or in a small bundle, or songs. There is no subscription or monthly commitments so this is an ideal choice for those looking to grab some Christmas music on a low budget.
Given the nature of the marketplace, the selection on AudioJungle is large and there is a great deal of Christmas music as well as other holiday themed tracks. While this offers a great deal of variety to choose from, the tracks range anywhere from $5 to $199 per sale so you'll have to look around to find something that fits both your Christmas intentions and budget.
Are There Any Free Ways To License Holiday Music?
While the recommended royalty-free services above the best and most straight-forward options to legally download and use Christmas songs in your project, there many be other options. Depending on the particular song or carol that you wish to use, it may fall under two free to use legal options:
A popular term in the media world, Creative Commons is a form of a license that creators can use to issue their works (such as a music track, song or carol) for use by others to built upon legally or share. This is a relatively popular license for up and coming creators who are looking to get their work out there to the masses.
While Creative Commons is great for the creative community as a whole, the terms of the license aren't always simple and it often involves a lot more red tape than a true copyright free track. For example, most Creative Commons Christmas music will require proper attribution.
Attribution means that you must give appropriate credit to the creator of the Christmas song, link to the Creative Commons license for this track, and identify if any changes were made to the original music. In many cases, Creative Commons music is NOT able to be used for commercial purposes so you can find yourself in a legal bind if you don't read closely enough to follow the CC license terms.
Completely separate from Creative Commons licensing is Public Domain. This is a legal characterization of creative works that are no longer protected by intellectual property laws, including copyright, trademark, or patent laws.
The term Public Domains means that the public owns these works so they can be used publicly without permission from the original creator(s) under fair use. The way that something falls into Public domain is usually through one of the following:
- the copyright has expired
- the copyright owner failed to follow copyright renewal rules
- the copyright owner deliberately places it in the public domain, known as “dedication,” or
- copyright law does not protect this type of work.
Due to the time frame of when some popular Christmas carols were created (anything before 1924), a few of them fall under Public Domain and can be used within your material.
However, while technically the words to the song may fall under Public Domain, the sound recording and copyrighted sheet music arrangement to the song still requires special permission and potentially a licensing fee.
If you wish to deal with this type of Public Domain situation further, there are services to look into and license these Christmas carols for you. In our opinion, we find it easier to avoid all the red tape and legal hoops to jump through.
In the end, there is a lot of different ways to download royalty-free music for Christmas to use with your holiday projects. While the best methods like Soundstripe do cost some money, there are some free opportunities to use Christmas carols under Creative Commons or Public Domain.
Just be sure to check the terms of these free licenses as you can find yourself in some serious legal trouble by breaking the terms most often due to lack of proper attribution or through unapproved commercial use
We personally think it is worth our time and money to spend a few extra dollars on purchasing a proper royalty-free license for Christmas carols or background music.