Epidemic Sound is an online streaming platform devoted to royalty-free music.
In other words, the service does not negotiate rights with any performing rights organization (PRO) and instead manages intellectual property rights, copyright licensing, and distribution of money itself. This means that Epidemic Sound can get exciting new artists, provide a wider range of licensing options for users, and integrate better with social media platforms for content creators of all types.
Through its streaming platform, Epidemic Sound curates several playlists that are constantly updated as new composers and musicians submit music. Basic users can listen to this music for free, but other subscription levels allow users to download songs and integrate them with online content.
Epidemic Sound takes upfront fees for the content, which are distributed to artists; then, artists are also paid 50 percent of the streaming revenue fee. This allows new and less famous musicians and composers to build an audience while receiving fair income.
Epidemic Sound’s Music Licenses: Helping Content Creators Make Great Work
Epidemic Sound specializes in royalty-free music and sounds, meaning that you as the user only pay once to use a particular piece of music however you want, forever. For content creators, this is especially useful as it avoids the complication of accidentally using a copyrighted piece of music in an online post, and then having the platform mute, demonetize, or remove the content for violating copyright law.
Epidemic Sound specializes in offering music for online content creators, but many people subscribe to the platform simply to listen to the playlists.
Since Epidemic Sound gears their platform toward content creators, they also specialize in sync licenses. This is a type of music license that allows the user to take an existing piece of music and add it to an original audio-visual composition.
Filmmakers, television producers, video game creators, and even some corporate presentation makers get sync licenses so they can use a song alongside the visuals they create. For many online content creators, the sync license is exactly what you need, so you can use a song with your TikTok or YouTube video, Twitch streaming channel, Instagram story, or Facebook Live stream.
Currently, setting up an account with Epidemic Sound involves three steps:
- Take advantage of the free 30-day trial period, so you can find playlists you love.
- Pick a subscription — either personal or professional — which allows unlimited downloads and use for a lot of the audio content.
- Connect your social media channels so you can easily publish content that uses Epidemic Sound’s music or sound effects.
The Largest Online Royalty-Free Music Library With Licensing Limitations
Epidemic Sound’s library is one of the largest royalty-free music and sound effects libraries online. Not only does the platform provide 35,000 royalty-free songs (as of 2021), they also offer 90,000 royalty-free sound effects.
Many content creators may know that using popular songs in their content can get them in trouble, but they may not realize that something as simple as Halloween sound effects are also subject to copyright laws and can lead to demonetized or removed content.
Epidemic Sound aims to continue developing tools specifically for online content creators to help them match up great music with their videos, slideshows, and other creations.
Although you have access to tens of thousands of songs and sound effects with an Epidemic Sound subscription, there are some things you cannot do. For example, you cannot use their royalty-free songs to make your own music, like covers or remixes, which are then re-published on another platform. While you can do this with some royalty-free songs available online, Epidemic Sound offers specific sync licenses, and sometimes public performance licenses, to content creators and business owners.
Epidemic Sound functions, in many ways, like a PRO for royalty-free music. This means that they manage specific licenses for their content, so you cannot use a song or sound effect in a way that you do not have a license for. While Epidemic Sound’s platform gears you toward appropriate use, you may wonder why you cannot simply take the song for your own purposes, which can get frustrating.
Epidemic Sound’s Subscription Plans
Epidemic Sound offers one of the largest royalty-free streaming libraries online for an excellent price, with customer service to match. However, the platform is clear that you cannot use their content without paying for the service.
When you get your free 30-day trial, you receive three downloads to try in pre-production, but you cannot use every aspect of the service as a paying user would. If you decide to stop paying for your Epidemic Sound subscription, you must make sure to take all your content with you before it expires. After that, you will no longer have access to your previous work.
- Personal Plan: This plan is just $12 per month ($144 total) when you pay for an entire year upfront, or $15 per month for a monthly subscription. This option allows you to incorporate Epidemic Sound’s library into your online videos, podcasts, or other posts when they are created for your personal use.
- Commercial Plan: This plan is $25 per month ($299 total) when you sign up for one full year, or $49 monthly for this type of recurring subscription. This plan is designed for content creators making work for their business, monetizing videos, getting subscriptions, and taking sponsors.
- Enterprise Plan: Publishers, broadcasters, and other larger businesses can also use Epidemic Sound. The company wants to offer fair pricing to all companies, so the enterprise plan requires individual negotiation. However, you can easily contact Epidemic Sound for a quote through their website.
- Spaces: Epidemic Sound has focused on content creators who need sync licenses since their founding in 2009, but the company has also noted the need for great background music for physical locations. If you are a business owner, you can sign up for Spaces with a 14-Day free trial; it’s then $16.99 per month after that. You get access to Epidemic Sound’s playlists, but you can use them with a public performance license rather than a sync license.
If you are not creating content and are a casual listener curious about new music, you can use Epidemic Sound’s platform for free. You can also purchase songs or sound effects on an individual basis with a single track license.
What if You Want Popular or Famous Songs?
Although Epidemic Sound offers a fantastic service for content creators, it still takes hours of work to find the right music for your projects. Since the platform’s royalty-free options focus on new, unfamiliar talent, you as the content creator must sift through playlists to find music that fits your project.
Sometimes, nothing but the hottest pop song will suit your needs, and that is simply not replaceable. While a subscription to Epidemic Sound can fit a lot of your needs, you may need a different service to cover licensing for major recording artists.
What Is Royalty-Free Music? (May 2020). Epidemic Sound Blog.
10 Best Music Sync Licensing Companies That Actually Deliver for Artists. Omari MC.
Types of Copyright. BMI.
Homepage. Epidemic Sound.
Epidemic Sound Raises $450M at a $1.4B Valuation to “Soundtrack the Internet.” (March 2021). Tech Crunch.
Can I Distribute Covers or Remixes of Epidemic Sound Music? Epidemic Sound.
Epidemic Sound Review 2021 | Is it Worth It for Creators? IMHO Reviews.
Spaces. Epidemic Sound.
Can I Use Epidemic Sound's Music for Free? Epidemic Sound.