Are you looking for the best place to get free music for YouTube videos? Maybe you’ve heard of YouTube Audio Library and Thematic, but aren’t sure which one is better to use?
YouTube creators have many royalty free music options available. From YouTube Audio Library to Epidemic Sound to YouTube Creator Music and Thematic, it can be confusing trying to figure out where to start.
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 sites where you can get free copyright-free music for YouTube videos:
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.
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’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: youtube.com/audiolibrary
Creators can browse, download, and save songs from the Audio Library to use in their videos for free. Some songs require attribution or credit to the artist, but this varies by song. 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 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 and linking their YouTube channel on Thematic’s site: app.hellothematic.com
On Thematic, creators can browse, download, and playlist songs from Thematic to use in their videos for free. All songs required artist credit in the description, and Thematic provides you the exact credit to use for each song. Creators 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.
Music Library & Selection
YouTube Audio Library provides royalty-free production music. Some of the songs are from real music artists. However, the song selection is mostly generic. 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 music 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, Ryan Little, ninjoi., and more.
🏆 Winner: 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.
🏆 Winner: 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: Thematic because it allows creators to playlist and organize songs in a more shareable way.
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.
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.
🏆 Winner: Thematic because it provides creators with detailed filters for music.
Claims & Copyright Free Experience
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: Tie: both Thematic and Audio Library provide a safe and copyright-free experience for creators.
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 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.
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: Tie: both Thematic and Audio Library provide free music for YouTube videos.
Aesthetic User Experience
YouTube Audio Library showcases its songs in a text based format. Everything is in black and white.
Meanwhile, the Thematic experience is aesthetic. Creators can get inspired by song artwork and videos and playlists from other creators.
🏆 Winner: 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.
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: Thematic as it has a thriving creator community.
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: 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 YouTube’s Audio Library and Thematic:
YouTube Audio Library
|Music Library & Selection||Generic royalty-free production music 👎||High-quality and royalty-free music from trending music artists ✅|
|Music Curation for YouTube Creators||Not curated 👎||Curated music and playlists matched to each creator ✅|
|Playlists & Saving Songs||One way to save songs 👎||Shareable playlists to organize songs ✅|
|Song Filters||5 song filters 👎||10+ song filters to find the perfect sound ✅|
|Claims & Copyright Free Experience||Copyright-free music that is safe to use ✅||Copyright-free music that is safe to use ✅|
|Cost||Free to use ✅||Free to use with a Premium plan available to unlock additional tools ✅|
|Aesthetic User Experience||Uninspiring interface 👎||Aesthetic and visually inspiring user experience ✅|
|YouTube Creator Community||No community 👎||Thriving YouTube creator community with engaged Discord server ✅|
|Sound Effects||Large SFX library ✅||SFX themed packs ✅|
🏆 Cleary, Thematic is the overall winner here and the best place for free music for YouTube videos. Overall, creators have a better experience when using Thematic to find music for their videos.
Ready to try it out? Sign-up for a free Thematic music account here: