How to Find Music With No Lyrics (Instrumental Music)

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Music without lyrics does not contain any words and is commonly called instrumental music. It can still have vocals, just no words.

Music can help elicit emotions and set the tone for a project. Background music can also help enhance learning, memory, and cognitive performance while reducing stress.

Instrumental music can add to a project without becoming a distraction. It is important to use music that you have a license for, which can be purchased or obtained through online services. Instrumental music can help to enhance your project without taking away from the main focus or message.

Why Does Where I Get the Music Matter?

When using music for commercial purposes or even when uploading personal social media content, you will need to ensure that you are doing so legally.

Most music is copyrighted, which means that you must have a license to use it in your project. Even instrumental music will be copyrighted most of the time.

Two types of copyright exist. The first protects the song’s underlying composition, including lyrics. The second protects the recording of the song. You could violate copyright if you play a recorded piece of music or if you perform a copyrighted song without permission from the copyright holder.

To use copyrighted music, you will need to contact the holder of the license directly, which can be the artist, composer, music producer, or record label. What happens if you don’t? The consequences can be severe.

For example, the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) sued San Antonio bar owners for playing just two songs without a license to do so. ASCAP representatives claimed they were entitled to up to $30,000 for each work played without a license. The fees could be catastrophic for some small businesses.

Reputation problems can also occur after a public lawsuit like this. If your potential clients and customers believe you like to steal work from a beloved artist, they might be less likely to do business with you.

How Does Licensing Work?

If you want songs without lyrics for your project, you must learn a little about licensing terminology. The words and phrases industry people use are more than just lingo. They can help you understand your rights and obligations before you start playing your first song.

The term copyright applies to songs that are somehow owned by musicians, producers, record companies, and other entities. Unless the song is explicitly removed from these rules, it’s protected. In general, it’s best to assume that every song you want to play is protected until you’re told otherwise.

The term synch license refers to an agreement between a copyright holder and someone who wants to reproduce the song in something like a YouTube video or a DVD.

The term music licensing typically refers to an agreement between a copyright holder and someone who wants to play music in a facility like a bar or retail shop. If you want to stream music from a player, you typically need music licensing. (Just to make things more confusing, some people call this type of license a synch license too.)

The term royalty free refers to songs you can purchase for a one-time fee without making further payments to the person who made it. Once you purchase the item, it’s yours to keep using. You don’t have to renew a license or otherwise keep paying for the right to keep the sounds playing.

The term stock music refers to songs that have been recorded specifically for use in another project. Typically, you purchase a large library of songs like this, and they can be used in projects like videos, social media posts, and websites.

How to Buy Music Without Lyrics

You’ve decided to use music without lyrics for your business. How can you get started? The process is slightly different, depending on the type of music you’ve chosen and where you want to use it.

Where to Buy Instrumental Music (Music Without Lyrics)

The service you need will vary according to the specific type of license you’re looking for. Here are some options:

Copyright-Protected Music for Public Spaces

If you’d like a large library of instrumental music you can play in a venue like a restaurant or medical office, consider working with a music streaming service. Companies like this have contracts with most major copyright holders, and they can give you access to a large streaming library for one small fee.

Companies like this include the following:

·   Pandora CloudCover

·   Sirius XM for Business

·   Soundtrack Your Brand

·   Mood Media

Choose the company that seems right for your business, and sign up with a credit card. It’s a quick and easy way to get started.

Royalty-Free or Stock Music for Projects

Instrumental music can be purchased from an online music provider. Many of these services charge monthly or annual fees for access to their entire stock library. Some will have one-time fees for use of a specific track.

Here are some examples of places to buy instrumental music:

  • Artlist: This source has a stock library of royalty-free music for as low as $9.99 per month.
  • Bensound: This source contains a large library of royalty-free music for a license of about $11 per month. Pay a little more, and you can use these songs as hold music or background for your live events.
  • Dig ccMixter: Some tracks on this site are available royalty-free. Some require you to give credit to the musician when you use the work.
  • Pond5: This source hosts a wide variety of royalty-free music tracks, starting at $5 per track. You can also subscribe to a music library and have even more songs to play.

Once again, it’s easy to get started. Find the company that seems right to you, and tap into a library of songs.

One Copyright-Protected Song

You’ve heard a song and are convinced it’s absolutely right for your project. You can find the copyright holder for that specific tune and ask for permission to use it.

If you have a recording of the piece (like a record or CD), the holder of the copyright should be clearly listed on the packaging. If you don’t have any kind of packaging, you can use the public catalog of the United States Copyright Office to find out.

Once you’ve identified who owns the copyright, reach out via certified mail. Outline the song you want to use, how you will use it, and how many people will be exposed to the music via your method. Ask how much the copyright holder wants as a payment.

Know that people who hold copyrights aren’t required to respond to letters like this. Owners can also charge you almost anything they want for their songs. However, if you’re certain a specific tune is just right and nothing else will work, this is a good option.

Why Use Music Without Lyrics?

Instrumental music can help the audience to feel specific emotions, taking a more creative approach than using songs with lyrics. Music without words can let the viewer give their own personal meaning to the story without being told directly.

If your project contains narration, using music without lyrics can be more practical as well. Songs with lyrics can be more distracting than instrumental tracks. They can potentially take away from the message you are trying to convey.

Types of Music Without Lyrics

Any music that does not have words is considered instrumental. This can include the use of many different instruments or primarily one, such as:

  • Piano
  • Guitar
  • Drums
  • Violin

Music without lyrics can also use synthesizers, commonly referred to as a “beat.” This is also known as electronic music.

These are popular genres of instrumental music:

  • Classical
  • Jazz
  • Post-rock
  • Bluegrass
  • Electronic dance music

How to Choose the Right Instrumental Track for Your Project

Here are some tips for choosing the right instrumental track:

  1. Consider the role the music is to play in your project.
  2. Determine what genre or type of music will best fit the image you are trying to portray.
  3. Choose music that helps drive the project and sets the pace.
  4. Use music that helps to set the mood and can invoke an emotional response when needed.
  5. Ensure that the music is not distracting and does not take away from the project or message.
  6. Know your budget and obtain your music legally.

What Type of Projects Suit Instrumental Music?

If your project contains narration, music without lyrics is often optimal, so the viewer is not distracted or confused.

Viewers are often drawn to music with words, so using instrumental music can help to keep the focus on your narrator and the words being spoken or viewed.

Instrumental music can help to keep the focus solely on your message without distracting viewers with additional words in the background.

Instrumental music can add value to nearly any project. It works great in the following:

  • Video games
  • Commercials
  • Films
  • Audiobooks
  • Corporate videos
  • Social media posts
  • Vlogs
  • Training videos

What Else Should You Consider When Working With Music Without Lyrics?

Unless your purpose is to use the lyrics of a song to drive the emotions and minds of your audience, and the lyrics fit this purpose directly, music without lyrics is almost always a good fit for any project. Music without lyrics can be used in the background to help draw in viewers, make your brand or message more memorable, help to keep viewers’ attention, and increase the number of shares your project receives. Just be sure to have the correct license for the music you are using before you plug it into your project.


The Benefits of Studying With Music. (August 2019). Florida National University (FNU).

Get Royalty Free Music and SFX for Your Videos. Artlist.

Quality Music for Creators. (2022). Shutterstock Canada, ULC.

Royalty Free Music by Bensound. (2022). Bensound’s Royalty Free Music.

You Already Have Permission. Dig ccMixter.

Music for Every Project. (2022). Pond5, Inc.

The Influence of Background Music on Learning in the Light of Different Theoretical Perspectives and the Role of Working Memory Capacity. (October 2017). Frontiers in Psychology.

What Musicians Should Know About Copyright.

San Antonio’s Stetson Bar Owners in Legal Trouble Over Hip-Hop Song ‘Jump Around.’ (October 2023). San Antonio Express News.

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