AudioBlocks Review – Royalty Free Music Service

AudioBlocks offers unlimited access to royalty-free music and sounds.

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Features

Download an unlimited amount of music and sound effects with royalty-free licensing. 

Song Selection

Over 100,000 tracks, loops and sound effects to match most moods.

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Price

A flat annual fee of $149 per year or monthly payments of $79 per month.

Ideal For

Filmmakers, multimedia professionals and creative freelancers who need stock audio or music for their projects.

Pros

  • Affordable pricing for yearly subscription
  • Unlimited downloads and uses per subscription terms
  • More tracks than most subscription competition
  • Offers sound effects and loops
  • No license restrictions

Cons

  • Not as cheap as SoundStripe
  • User interface feels dated
  • Music quality feels "generic" with fewer moods and tones
  • Files only offered in 44,100 Hz
  • Free trial is now hidden

Final Verdict

As one of the first subscription-based royalty free music services, AudioBlocks has made their mark in the industry. The service initially offered a $99/year annual subscription which was worth well the price, but have since increased this up to $149 annually. However, our affiliate link is still offering a 7-day free trial even though we can't seem to find this option on the AudioBlocks website. 


Since then other competitors like SoundStripe have emerged with a better user interface and better library of quality stock music for just $135 a year. While we prefer SoundStripe, we recommend checking out both services to see which fits your needs better as they have significantly different music styles. What works best for us, might not work best for your needs.

The digital media world that we live in today is thriving, and user-uploaded content is becoming more common as each day passes. YouTube is currently the largest resource of streamable video and has strict legal standards for using copyrighted music within content hosted on the platform.


The easiest way to avoid any legal mess and ensure your video will not be removed is to utilize royalty free music. The downside is that royalty-free audio can get expensive with some sites selling the rights for YouTube use at an upwards of $50 per track.


When faced with this situation and a limited budget, we often made our way to SoundCloud where you can find audio suitable for use under the Creative Commons license.


This royalty free license allows the content to be used by others although there are often further stipulations and usually without any commercial use that is a gray area for use with monetized YouTube content. After YouTube had flagged some of our videos with Creative Commons audio within it, we decided to look for a better option.


This was when we discovered AudioBlocks, a unique service that offers unlimited access to download a vast library of songs and sound effects for a low monthly or yearly cost. 


Better yet, each audio piece within the service comes with a lifetime license for royalty free use meaning you can download a track for use and still maintain the rights to use the song after your subscription period has ended.

For the rest of this review, we will be covering our experience using the AudioBlocks royalty-free subscription service over a 2 year period. We are using affiliate links (to make quality content like this available at no cost), but all opinions and views expressed within this view are our own without any bias or outside influences affecting the outcome of this review.


Subscription Pricing & Business Model

AudioBlocks offers two subscription types for the average user. The first allows for month-to-month billing that initially sounds like an excellent option for someone who doesn't want to pay for a year's worth of audio ahead of time.


However, going this route can get significantly more expensive as the monthly rate is $79 whereas the annual subscription is only $149 per year. You'll receive immediate value with the yearly subscription should you intend to subscribe for two or more months.


Editor's Note: AudioBlocks launched with $99/year and $49/month subscription costs, but has since increased these rates. We have updated these figures to reflect the most current pricing. However, our affiliate link is still offering a free 7-day trial before signing up at $149!


The $149 per year option is what we ultimately went for this reason. Considering we get 12 months of unlimited access to royalty-free music is quite a deal since it is still less than the cost of buying a license and the rights to use only three songs from other some premium pay-per-song competitors.

AudioBlocks free trial

Now those of you who are on the fence as to whether the service is right for you can sign up for a free 7-day trial. You are granted unlimited access for a 7-day period and retain royalty-free rights to any content downloaded within that time-frame even if you don't continue your subscription further once the trial has commenced.


However, there are a few things to take note of with the trial. First off, the trial does require a credit card to initiate. This is common practice in today's world and popular services like Spotify, Amazon Prime and Netflix all do the same. While requiring a credit card upfront can be a hassle for the consumer, it ultimately leads to higher conversions and less abuse of the free trial, so it makes sense from a business standpoint.


The free trial for AudioBlocks has an odd structure. If you simply sign-up for the 7-day trial and then leave it to automatically convert into a full membership once the period is over, you’ll be transitioned into the $79/month plan.


For those of you interested in continuing the service after your trial yet you want to take advantage of the $149 per year subscription, you’ll need to log into your account and cancel the trial before the re-bill period ends. From there you’ll be prompted as to whether you want to “really” cancel your trial and then they will try to entice you to stay with the $149 per year option of which you can accept.


Licensing & Use Of Content

Unlike most Creative Commons content, the royalty-free audio files found within the AudioBlocks service are able to be used for both commercial and non-commercial use without jumping through any hoops.


According to their website, the service's royalty-free license allows the following uses:

“Our content may be used for nearly any project, commercial or otherwise, including feature films, broadcast, commercial, industrial, educational video, print projects, multimedia, games, and the internet, so long as substantial value is added to the content. Once you download a file it is yours to keep and use forever, royalty-free, even if you change your subscription or cancel your account.”

 Prohibited use of their content only comes into play during the following instances:

Our content may not be:

  1. Resold or redistributed as standalone files;
  2. Used in any work which includes pornography, condones violence, or violates the privacy or publicity rights of any third party.

In regards to YouTube usage, we no longer have to worry about attribution within the YouTube description. We are now 100% certain that we are within my legal rights to our music selection. This goes for digital multimedia projects including podcasts, live streaming, vlogs, wedding videos, school projects and more.


This is in contrary to the use of Creative Commons content whom can become a tricky legal battle fast, should the author ever question the use of their content within your production.


Audio Library - Selection & Variety

One of the largest reasons why the AudioBlocks service is such an alluring investment is the wide variety of content found in the library.

Unfortunately, the AudioBlocks interface doesn't have any way to determine the exact amount of audio content within the entire library, but they do mention there is "over 100,000 tracks, loops and sound effects". Their website also states that new content is added daily, so this number is increasing over time.


The content is well organized making the interface easy to navigate and find precisely what you are looking for. As of now, AudioBlocks has structured their library in the following ways:

Music - Audio Blocks Review

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Sound Effects - Audio Blocks Subscription
Loops - Audio Blocks Free Trial
Collections - Audioblocks Coupon Code

With this wide of a selection, there is something for everyone although we are solely using the audio tracks as a means for background music within our YouTube video reviews and tutorials. If you are looking for business, drama, holiday or ambient music there should be plenty within their library.


At the time this review was originally written, this was the best library of music for the cost as no one else was offering unlimited downloads/licensing on royalty free music.


However, we believe SoundStripe's library surpasses the overall quality and variety of AudioBlocks. Something worth noting is that SoundStripe differs by solely offering royalty-free music with no sound effects or loops available.


User Interface & Ease Of Use

As stated earlier, navigating through the service's web-based interface is easy and straightforward. You can filter your results by several different criteria such a mood, genre, instruments, tempo, or duration. Once a list of results has been generated you can also sort these results by rating, download count, relevancy, date added, and popularity.

User Interface - royalty free stock audio

You can preview each piece of audio by hovering your cursor over the track name, and it will begin to play automatically. Each song, track or loop displays the waveform so you can foresee any changes to the pitch or tempo throughout the entirety of the track.


Once you've located a track that you are interested in, you have the option to download it in MP3 or WAV or save it to an album.


We appreciate the choice of format for downloads, but you still don't get a choice in sample rate for the audio files. All files are delivered and downloaded in 44100 Hz which isn't a big deal in our case although it may be a deal breaker for those who are overly picky about their audio needs.


Albums within AudioBlocks are playlists that you can save content to for easy reference for future use. You can create multiple albums and store audio files for different purposes. In our case, we have one album of background music and another of sound effects that we'll eventually use for shot transitions.

Albums - audioblock

Final Verdict

Having been involved in multi-media creation for the last 6 years, we know what it is like to find affordable royalty free music without running the risk of lawsuits or receiving copyright infractions.


AudioBlocks was one of the original pioneers of the subscription-based royalty free music industry and help the reigns as the top service for years although new competition like SoundStripe is keeping them on their toes offering better quality content at an affordable annual cost. 


At this point in the market, we recommend taking a look at both AudioBlocks and SoundStripe's content libraries (both can be browsed for free). From there, choose which fit your needs and budgets the most. 


We personally think SoundStripe provides the better quality library and choose to subscribe there over AudioBlocks although you might not feel the same way.

We hoped you liked this AudioBlocks review, leave a comment below if you have any questions!

  • It would be good but unfortunately it’s quite misleading advertising any content you use from them on YouTube will be flagged as copyrighted and it takes up to a month to remove copyright and lost monetisation. I did not re-subscribe because of this

    • Thanks for your feedback Steve. I’ve yet to run into this over the course of a dozen or so videos all using their content with advertising enabled. I’ll report back if I experience this in the future.

    • Steve is 100% correct. Every single piece of music I’ve used from AudioBlocks has been flagged. It’s a pain in the butt to have to gather up all the information they want to contact the parties involved.

      • Since posting this review, I had had this happen once over the course of a dozen or so videos posted to YouTube with audio licensed through AudioBlocks. It was a small pain to submit the info, but the song infringement was removed within 24 hours of submitting my claim and I was back to full monetization of that video. A minor hiccup, but still worth it for the bargain pricing you’ll pay with AudioBlocks over conventional per song licensing in the end.

        • So I’m on something like 8 copyright hits out of 11 songs used. The fastest removed was 48hrs, most taking at least 7 days. I would not call this very good percentages.

          Bottom line is if you’re using their tracks on YouTube you really need to look elsewhere. If not, the media is quite good, but just not worth the YouTube copyright nightmare.

  • I tried to get a trial with these guys but it did not take my card info (a well known card company) so clearly not that reliable clearly.. Best look else where (one that is well known as these guys don’t look legit to me)

    • Hey Chris,

      Thanks for expressing your concern. A lot of times this will happen on the credit card companies behalf as they will block what they presume to be a fraudulent charge for your credit’s safety.

      AudioBlocks is a subsidary of the VideoBlocks, a popular online stock video platform which has been around for years and have received over $18.5M in venture capital funding so it’s not some random guy running it from an apartment.

      They also were named 2nd fastest growing company in 2013 and #11 top media company in 2014 by Inc. Magazine so their credentials check out and they are a popular name within the video production industry (they have a booth every year at NAB).

      Hope this helps clear it up a bit better for you.

      -Colt

  • When you tube flags the copyright, does it block the video all together or just add adverts until the issue is resolved? Also what is the ‘extended royalty free’ for on the 999 deal? Thanks in advance

    • Hi Tom,

      From our experience, the video’s advertising was temporarily halted until provided a proper license to use the track. Within 24 hours after submitting this, advertising was back as usual.

      Hope this helps!

    • I wish my experience has been as ‘peaches & cream’ as Colt’s has, but unless you don’t mind the copyright nightmare that is YouTube and Audio Blocks, you probably should look somewhere else.

  • I am a long time user of AudioBlocks and it is a wonderful source of good music. BUT recently every video I have posted to YouTube has been challenged with a copyright warning. I have been able to submit the information needed to clear it but it can take up to 30 days or more to get it cleared. That is lost revenue and is unacceptable. The low cost of Audioblocks is not worth the extra steps needed to be able to use the music. I would stay clear of them and use Pond5. More expensive but no copyright problems…

    • Your experience is more like mine. Jack is spot on about the YouTube copyright nightmare. With 8 out of 11 songs flagged it’s just not worth it for YouTube work.

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