YouTube Audio Library: Download Free Music for Videos

Your guide to the YouTube Audio Library - how the music library works, how to download free music for videos, and other royalty free music sites.

Written By Thematic Team

On October 8, 2023

Are you looking for the best place to get free music for YouTube videos? Maybe you’ve heard of YouTube Audio Library, but aren’t sure if it’s the best option to download free music for YouTube videos.

YouTube Audio Library vs Thematic: How to Download Free Songs for Videos

YouTube creators have many royalty free music licensing options available. From YouTube Audio Library to Epidemic Sound to YouTube Creator Music and Thematic, it can be confusing trying to figure out which free music site is the best option for creators.

How do you know which royalty free music site is the best for you? Let’s break down the differences between YouTube’s Audio Library and Thematic – two of the most popular free music sites where you can get free copyright-free music for YouTube videos and social media:

What is YouTube Audio Library?

YouTube’s Audio Library is a collection of free royalty free production music and sound effects that are copyright-safe for video creators.

The Audio Library is provided to all creators who have a YouTube channel. You can find YouTube Audio Library in YouTube Studio by clicking Audio library from the menu on the left side of the page.

YouTube Audio Library
YouTube creators can access the YouTube Audio Library at

Note that YouTube Audio Library is different than the new YouTube Creator Music library. You can read all about Creator Music and how it compares to Audio Library and Thematic in our Ultimate Guide.

What is Thematic?

Thematic is a community-driven platform where creators can license trending songs from music artists in exchange for promotion. Creators can access free copyright free music from Thematic to help make content creation easier.

Thematic Music
YouTube Creators can sign-up for a free Thematic account at

Thematic’s mission is to bring creatives together and empower them to achieve their full potential through a fair, safe and collaborative exchange.

Thematic believes that all content creators should have fair access to quality music for their videos. That’s why all creators can enjoy Thematic’s core features for free, which include free music for YouTube videos. They also have a subscription business model where creators can access additional trending songs and features on their Premium tier.

How YouTube Audio Library Works

Any YouTube creator can access the YouTube Audio Library by navigating to the Audio Library tab in their Creator Studio:

Creators can browse, download, and save songs from the Audio Library to use in their videos for free. The song files provided by YouTube Audio Library come in MP3 format.

The songs marked as Creative Common require attribution or credit to the artist in your video description, but this can vary by song and license type. YouTube may automatically include a “Music in this Video” section to the bottom of your video when using the music from the Audio Library.

Creators who are part of the YouTube Partner program can monetize their YouTube videos when using music from the YouTube Audio Library.

The use of this music library (including the music files in this library) is subject to the YouTube Terms of Service.

How Thematic Works

Creators can sign-up to Thematic for free using a Google account or email address on Thematic’s site:

On Thematic, creators can browse, download, and playlist songs from Thematic to use in their videos for free. The song files provided by Thematic come in MP3 or WAV (high-quality) formats.

All songs required artist credit in the video description, and Thematic provides you the exact credit to use for each song.

Creators in the YouTube Partner Program can monetize their YouTube videos when using music from Thematic in their videos.

Similarly, the music from Thematic must be used in videos that comply with Thematic’s creator agreement.

Free Music Library & Selection

YouTube Audio Library provides royalty-free production music for videos. Some of the songs are from real music artists. However, the song selection is mostly generic or production music. These songs are best used background music in videos. YouTube adds new music to its Audio Library twice a month.

Meanwhile, Thematic features high-quality songs from trending music artists. When creators use music from Thematic, they are supporting independent music artists and helping them to get discovered by new audiences. Thematic adds the latest songs and music releases from real artists every week. Artists who have uploaded music to Thematic include ODESZA, Fiji Blue, Nicky Youre, Lexy Panterra, and more.

Thematic Trending Music Artists

🏆 Winner of Best Free Music Library & Selection: Thematic because it provides high quality music from trending music artists.

Music Curation for YouTube Creators

YouTube Audio Library provides the same experience for all creators. The songs are not curated to the user. The Audio Library does not provide any curated playlists or songs for its users.

On the other hand, Thematic curates music specific to each creator, based on individual video keywords and a their favorite types of music. 

For example, creators get curated Weekly Matches every Friday on Thematic. Each creator gets their own personalized mix of songs and curated playlists matched to the creator’s aesthetic.

Thematic provides its creators with curated playlists based on video themes, popular genres of music, and creator aesthetics.

Thematic Curated Playlists

🏆 Winner of Best Music Curation: Thematic because it curates music specific to each creator.

Playlists & Saving Songs

YouTube Audio Library allows creators to ‘star’ songs which appear in a Starred songs list.

On Thematic, creators can create and share their own playlists based on their favorite songs, the videos they’re creating, and overall video themes.

🏆 Winner of Best Playlist & Saving Song Features: Thematic because it allows creators to playlist and organize songs in a more shareable way.

Song Filters

Both YouTube Audio Library and Thematic have filters available for creators to sort through the songs.

In YouTube Audio Library, creators can sort songs by 5 categories, including: Artist Name, Song Name, Genre, Mood, and Duration. You can combine the filters to search for a specific sound.

YouTube Audio Library Song Filters

Thematic provides creators with 10+ categories, including: Artist Name, Song Name, Genre, Subgenre, Vibe, Video Keywords, Energy, BPM, Vocal Type, Instrumental Only, Featured Instrument, Explicit, Song Key, and Duration. Moreover, creators can combine an unlimited number of filters in Thematic. This makes it easy to pinpoint the best song for your YouTube video.

Thematic Song Filters

🏆 Winner of Best Song Filtering: Thematic because it provides creators with detailed filters for music.

Is YouTube Audio Library Safe? Is Thematic Safe?

Both YouTube Audio Library and Thematic provide creators with a copyright-free experience.

When using the music from either platform, creators can feel safe from receiving a copyright claim. Keep in mind that creators need to follow the rules and license guidelines to be able to use the music from both platforms copyright free.

🤝 Winner of Best Copyright Claim-Free Experience: Tie: both Thematic and Audio Library provide a safe and copyright-free music licensing experience for creators.

Commercial Use in Branded or Sponsored Videos

Many creators understand the importance of being able to use quality music in branded or sponsored videos. However, many songs are not available for commercial purposes (meaning that you are not allowed to use the music when doing a brand promotion, monetizing your video, or taking a brand sponsorship).

Thankfully, both YouTube Audio Library and Thematic provide music that is OK to use in sponsored, branded, or commercial videos.

🤝 Winner of Best Music Library for Branded or Sponsored Videos: Tie: All of the music provided in both music libraries is safe for creators to use for commercial purposes


Is YouTube Audio Library Free? Is Thematic Free?

Both the YouTube Audio Library and Thematic are free to use.

Any creator can get copyright free tracks and quality music for their videos when using these platforms. You do not need to be a large creator or have a lot of money to get started. All you need is a YouTube channel as both platforms provide music for your YouTube videos and video project.

Additionally, Thematic has a Premium subscription business model available for creators who are looking for additional tools and songs. But all creators can access unlimited downloads and songs for free.

🤝 Winner of Best Free Music Site for Creators: Tie: both Thematic and Audio Library provide free music and sounds for YouTube videos.

Aesthetic User Experience

YouTube Audio Library showcases its songs in a text based format. Everything is in black and white.

YouTube Audio Library Music & Songs

Meanwhile, the Thematic experience is aesthetic. Creators can get inspired by song artwork and videos and playlists from other creators.  

Thematic Music & Songs

🏆 Winner of Best User Experience: Thematic because it is more visually inspiring.

YouTube Creator Community

While many creators use music from the YouTube Audio Library in their videos, there is no community for this music platform.

On the other hand, Thematic has a thriving community of creatives.

Creators can follow other creators and music artists on Thematic. This allows a creator to see all of the songs their favorite influencers feature in their YouTube videos. Likewise, they can see the latest songs from their favorite music artists.

One of the most-loved things from the Thematic community are the creator videos featured on the site. Many creators like to watch these videos to see what songs to use or what types of videos to create.

Thematic Music Artist: Nicky Youre

The creators and music artists have public profiles on Thematic. These profiles feature popular songs, creator achievements, other creators, and shared music playlists. You can also easily find links to the creators and artists across social media. This makes it easy to follow and support your favorite artists everywhere.

Thematic creators also get invite-only access to their creator Discord.

🏆 Winner of Best Creator Community: Thematic as it has a thriving creator community.

Sound Effects

YouTube Audio Library provides lots of free sound effects for creators. Creators are able to search and filter through these SFX directly from the Audio Library dashboard.

Thematic recently launched sound effect packs. These packs are curated based on video type and available for purchase.

🏆 Winner of Best Sound Effects Library: YouTube Audio Library since it has a larger selection of SFX for free.

Comparison between YouTube Audio Library and Thematic

To sum up, let’s review our comparison of features between YouTube’s Audio Library and Thematic:


YouTube Audio Library


Free Music Library & SelectionGeneric royalty-free production music 👎High-quality and royalty-free music from trending music artists ✅
Music Curation for YouTube CreatorsNot curated 👎Curated music and playlists matched to each creator ✅
Playlists & Saving SongsOne way to save songs 👎Shareable playlists to organize songs ✅
Song Filters5 song filters 👎10+ song filters to find the perfect sound ✅
Claims & Copyright Free ExperienceCopyright-free music that is safe to use ✅Copyright-free music that is safe to use ✅
Commercial Use in Sponsored VideosOK to use in branded videos ✅OK to use in branded videos ✅
CostFree to use ✅Free to use with a Premium plan available to unlock additional tools ✅
Aesthetic User ExperienceUninspiring interface 👎Aesthetic and visually inspiring user experience ✅
YouTube Creator CommunityNo community 👎Thriving YouTube creator community with engaged Discord server ✅
Sound EffectsLarge SFX library ✅SFX themed packs ✅

🏆 Clearly, Thematic is the winner and the best place to download free music for YouTube videos

Overall, creators have a better experience when using Thematic to find and download free music for videos.

So if you’re ready to level-up your video soundtrack and join a collaborative and thriving community of creators, sign-up for a free Thematic account today.

We’re excited to see what you create.

Looking for more creator tools and resources? Visit Thematic’s Creator Toolkit for additional resources on creating content – including starting a YouTube channel, thumbnail and channel art templates, best practices, and of course, great royalty free songs to use in your videos for free with Thematic.

Get free music for YouTube videos ✌️

✅ Free to use
✅ No copyright issues
✅ Real music from real artists

Explore more posts about Music for YouTube Videos: