As a small business owner starting out, you want to create a soothing or vibrant atmosphere to engage your customers and keep them happy.
You’ve even researched the best ways to get music into your business, so you’re familiar with performing rights organizations (PROs) and how they manage catalogues of music, so composers, musicians, artists, and rights holders can receive appropriate royalty payments.
Since your business is still small, how do you afford these catalogues of music? What about finding music that you can easily stream through a computer without having to worry about purchasing a fancy sound system? There are some free music streaming options whose catalogues focus on business and commercial spaces, which is great for small business owners trying to save money; however, there are some downsides to these options, which a subscription-based music streaming service can fix.
Free Business Music Streaming Options Online
When you’re just getting your business started, you can use some free music options.
- Free Music Archive: Albums like “Corporate & Motivational Music” allow you to stream music from a webpage-based music player, which is found on each artist page. You can also download the whole album, embed it in your own webpage or presentation if you need music, and leave comments about the quality of the tracks. Best of all, you can tip the artist through the site, essentially paying “royalties” the way that PROs do when you work with them.
- DL Sounds: This site offers a range of music and sounds, which may be free, paid, or subscription-based. Several of them are either copyright-free, meaning they are completely free to the public for anything, and others may be royalty-free, meaning there is still a license for some applications, but no applicable payment to the artist. DL Sounds is very clear which tracks in their catalogue are free, so you can start there, and if you like the service, you can choose pay versions later.
- SoundCloud: This online streaming music service offers a wide range of music and podcast options, some of which are royalty free for any use. Other tracks or artists will specify that you can contact them individually to pay a small royalty to use their music if you want.
- Audioblocks: An offering through Storyblocks, this audio-focused website offers all kinds of audio options, including royalty-free music for you to download and use in any playlist you want.
- 8Tracks: This site has free streaming music for any occasion, including retail-focused business playlists that can create different moods in your store. There are 28 playlists currently available on the site that are geared toward shoppers in stores.
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The Limitations of Free Options
While these sites can offer you some great, copyright-free or royalty-free options for your business as you start out, there are many ways in which they are not ideal for long-term solutions.
Knowing how to compare quality free music with quality commercial music streaming services can help you make the best decision for your organization.
First, the quality of the music is not as good, even if the music was professionally produced, because of how it is compressed through the internet as it is uploaded. This also has to do with the lower quality of website-based players. While not all of the free music archives online have these players, many of them do offer online streaming as an option. It can be useful, but it can actually degrade the quality of the sound.
Then, these players are not as convenient as they should be. A small coding error can cause them not to function properly, or an internet service interruption could cause them to be unavailable. Songs may not load very quickly, so there could be interruptions or starting and stopping in the middle of the playlist.
Finally, none of the free archives coordinate with hardware options, like music players and speakers, to create the best sound. You may have control over creating the playlists, but commercial music streaming services, which have a monthly fee, often offer a hardware music player for you to install in your business. Customer service representatives from these companies can also recommend speakers, amplifiers, installing techniques, and other options. You just don’t get that level of customer service with free music.
While free online music gives you several options, so you do not have to go over your budget when you are just opening your business, consider long-term planning with a subscription music service specializing in business, restaurant, retail, and commercial needs. You can create a better aural environment for your customers.
- What Is a Performing Rights Organization? (April 29, 2013). DIY Musician.
- Corporate & Motivational Music, by Scott Holmes. (March 6, 2017). Free Music Archive.
- Corporate. (2018). DL Sounds.
- Corporate Upbeat. (2017). SoundCloud.
- Royalty-Free Music. Storyblocks: Audioblocks.
- Retail Music Playlists. 8Tracks.