Royalty Free Sound Recordings
There are music recordings and MIDI files available which can easily be licensed as "royalty free music". Mainly used by radio, TV, film, and video professionals, a one time license fee is paid and the music can be used repeatedly without further charge. A few royalty free public domain songs can be found, but most royalty free music is original and has been composed for use as background music. License fees can be as high as $150 or more for a 74 minute CD. Licensing terms vary, but once you purchase a license you can usually use the music as many times as you like for any film, video, voice-over, or multimedia project without paying any royalties. Do read all the fine print for there are some very expensive music libraries with an annual fee plus an additional charge for each music use. We offer a large selection of Royalty Free Music Recordings on CD/DVD and Royalty Free Music Recordings for Immediate Download. To find other royalty free recordings, see our Links Page or go to your favorite search engine and search "royalty free music".
Record It Yourself
Professional recordings are extremely expensive to make. It can take 40 hours or more to record, mix, and master just one or two songs. You must pay musicians, a producer, a sound engineer, and the studio. Unless you have a big budget and real experience, you will have to find a sound recording to license if you must have a truly professional sound.
However, "good" music recordings can now be made at reasonable prices. There are many small studios which charge $25 to $50 per hour. Many individuals have personal analog or digital multi-track systems and know how to use them. These recordings should be good enough for school projects, local cable TV, and other local or non-professional needs. Probably the best way to find out about inexpensive recording is to talk with the musicians at your church or go to a club where local rock bands perform. Teenage bands usually know all the "good and cheap" places to record, and local bands often will make made excellent low cost home or studio recordings.
"Good" recordings can also be made using sequencers and synthesizers or samplers. If you hang-out a while in the keyboard section of your local music store (like Guitar Center), you can probably meet a number of musicians with home MIDI studios. Many of these guys are willing to work for quite reasonable prices.
Before you make any agreements, be sure to listen to work previously done by both the musicians and the studio. Generally a good musician and good sound engineer are more important than fancy equipment. We frequently hear recordings done with a midi-keyboard and 2 track digital recorder that are incredibly good, but you must use your judgment on this. Also have "For Hire" contracts signed BEFORE any recording is done. Young musicians frequently do wonderful work, but if any of the musicians are under legal age, make sure you have a parental release.