Creative Commons

If you're a small business, you know that everything has a budget. Unlike the big companies you cannot afford to buy the copyright to popular music to set as the background of your online video marketing.

Creative Commons refers to a movement of music that is free from copyright for you to use on your videos or promotions. Once you have purchased or downloaded your music it is yours to use as you see fit (royalty free) as long as you follow these rules:

  • BY Attribution (means you give the author credit)
  • BY-SA Attribution - Share Alike (means you give the author credit, and if you alter or build on it, you must distribute your work under the same or similar license)
  • BY-ND (Attribution - No Derivative Works) also allows commercial use, but according to Creative Commons, you cannot use music in a video if it is "licensed under a No Derivative Works license. This means that the musician doesn’t want you to change, transform, or make a derivative work using their music. Under CC licenses, synching the music to images amounts to transforming the music, so you can’t legally use a song under a CC No Derivative Works license in your video." Presumably, this would also apply to music edited for use at the beginning and end of an audio podcast.

E.g. This video features the song “Desaprendere (Treatment)” by fourstones, available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license.

Must appear somewhere on your video or in the video description.

For more information on the terms and conditions of your creative common licensed music refer to this website It shows you what the creative common license will look like for each rule.

Here's where you can find some CC licensed music:


Here are some tips for adding music to your online videos.

  • If you're going to use music the whole way through make sure it is kept to a minimum during voice over so that it doesn't confuse the viewer.
  • Use music as "bookends" for your video i.e. at the beginning and end of your videos.
  • Use music to create emotion or build tension
  • Use music to set the overall tone for your company, for example a light high pitched tone will create a relaxed image for the company, while lower tones create a more serious image.


Kixeye: Kixeye games uses music to build tension and create a solid story line. Combining humour and music is an excellent way to attract and maintain customers.

Corning: This video called "a day made of glass" is completely revolutionary. Not only is it based on a futuristic design but solely uses music to tell its story.

Fidelity: Fidelity's commercial "saving for skydiving" is amazing because not only is it personal it also uses exactly the right music for its story line, which is a hard task to meet especially when using creative commons licensing.