Top 9 Sites For FREE eLearning Music And Sound Effects
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Top 9 Sites For FREE eLearning Music And Sound Effects

Finding the right music and sound effects for your eLearning course shouldn't be an afterthought. In fact, the search for pitch perfect audio elements can be an ongoing process that involves hours of listening time. Fortunately, you can start compiling your eLearning course even before the funding rolls on, thanks to free eLearning music and sound effects sites that feature copyright-free audio. All of these sites provide high quality, royalty free music that will motivate and inspire your online learners.

1. Freesound.org

One of the largest collections of sound effects online today. It boasts thousands of free sounds that are uploaded by registered users. You can find anything from office ambient noises to relaxing rain recordings. All sounds fall under a Creative Commons license. Search the site using keywords to find the best effects for your eLearning course design.

2. Incompetech

High quality musical recordings created by Kevin MacLeod. The site boasts a broad range of categories, including electronic and rock, film scores, and world music. All of the tracks are free to download, but you will have to include an attribution. The site allows you to search by genre, feel, tempo, or length, which makes it easy to find the perfect tune for your serious games or eLearning branching scenarios. If you don't want to attribute the source you can also purchase a standard license.

3. FreeSFX

Alan McKinney is behind FreeSFX, which offers a wide assortment of free music tracks and sound effects. Alan actually reached out professional artists and musicians around the globe to build the collection. Categories include: folk, jazz, mysterious, and world music. There is a large selection of sound effects available to download, as well. All of the audio is free to use in any production you like, including commercial and multimedia projects. The site includes an End User License Agreement that highlights all of the terms and conditions.

4. FreeSoundtrackMusic

Royalty free soundtrack music that is ideal for eLearning videos, serious games, and immersive simulations. You will need to credit the creator and provide a link to their URL if you use the music in your eLearning course. The site features "demonstration pages" that include a variety of different categories, such as genres, lead instruments, and composer. It also filters the music by emotion, like calm, cheerful, and relaxing styles. Certain tracks do require a fee, but most are available for free.

5. Public Domain 4U

As its name suggests, this royalty free site features public domain music. The original copyright has expired or lapsed. In some cases, the artist may have even "forfeited" their intellectual rights to the song. There are also more updated tracks that you can use with the artist's consent. The genres include: string bands, choir, folk, instrumental, and piano, just to name a few.

6. Josh Woodward

All of the music on this free site is created by Josh Woodward, who provides both vocal and instrumental tracks. The music is free to use, but donations are accepted. You can also purchase an "Epic Bundle" that includes his entire collection. Songs can be sorted by mood, rating, theme, or playlist. There are even 12 albums that you can download to create a cohesive soundtrack for your eLearning course.

7. Sound Bible

Offers thousands of royalty free sound effects, and new audio is uploaded every week. SoundBible features clips that are in the public domain or issued under a Creative Commons license. However, there are also some selections that cannot be used for commercial projects so make sure to read the fine print. You can find anything from a tea pot whistle to a round of applause to add to your serious game or simulation.

8. Jamendo

Features close to 400,000 tracks by over 40,000 artists. Keep in mind that some of the tracks may be copyrighted, in which case you may have to reach out to the creator for written permission to use their audio. You can sort by the amount of downloads, popularity, and the release date to find the perfect music for your eLearning course. The site also features a catalog with 200,000 royalty free tracks that can be used for any eLearning project, as well as licensed tracks that you can download for a small fee.

9. Musopen

A royalty free site that has an extensive collection of public domain music. In many cases, the copyright license has expired and the original creator no longer holds the intellectual property rights. There are five categories to choose from, which are each broken down into subcategories or alphabetical listings: composer, instrument, period, form, or performer.

It's important to mention that some sites may claim to be free, but there are a variety of strings attached. In some cases, downloading the music might even be outright illegal. So, take the time to read their terms and conditions and figure out what you need to do on your end, such as including an attribution or link to the artist's webpage.

Now that you know where to find high quality music and sound effects for your eLearning course, you may also want to read the article The Use Of Music In eLearning: 4 Tips For eLearning Professionals to discover whether music really improves the immersion of your online learners into the eLearning course or just distracts them.

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