Royalty Free vs Creative Commons Licenses

Why buy music on stocks or other sites if I can download and use them for free under the Creative Commons license? Perhaps many of you have asked yourself this question and the answer in favor of the second option would seem obvious. But let’s try to deal with this and pay attention to the “pitfalls”.


For those who first hear about these types of licenses, I will give here a couple of quotes from Wikipedia. So what are these licenses? In short, then:

Royalty-free is a type of license in which payment for a purchased product is made only at the time of purchase. Under this license, there are no additional payments from the buyer for each use of the product.

From myself I will add that often drains allocate subspecies from this license, depending on the size of the audience for which the final product is created. For example, Pond5 offers 3 subspecies of licenses, Audiojungle 5 subspecies.

Creative Commons licenses are a group of texts describing the terms of use of the works to which they are attached. Currently, there are 6 Creative Commons licenses, they can be divided into free and non-free. The most popular license type at the moment is CC Attribution – Share Alike. This license allows others to process, correct and develop the work even for commercial purposes, provided that authorship and licensing of derivative works under similar conditions are indicated.

For more information about these licenses, you can read on the official site

Now I want to draw your attention to some of the disadvantages of using the Creative Commons license.


In my opinion, one of the main disadvantages of CC licenses is the lack of a 100% guarantee that the work you use under one of these licenses will not change its legal status in the future. If this happens, it can backfire for you.

For example: you use in your video on YouTube a music track with the license CC Attribution (allowed for commercial use, subject to indication of authorship). You make efforts to popularize your video, it gains a large number of views and begins to bring you income (when you use the channel monetization). But suddenly, after some time, the author of the track decides to register his track in the Content ID system. This way you will lose some of the advertising revenue in your video, as it will be sent to the author of the music track. In the worst case, the author of the music may simply prohibit you from using his music, or even you can get a strike.

In the case of buying a track, you get a contract confirming your right to use this track.


Another advantage of buying music on audio stocks is often a huge number of available tracks. For example, at the time of this writing, there were 456,000 tracks on the Audiojungle. Some audio stocks provide exclusive tracks that you cannot buy on other sites. I think it’s unlikely the number of tracks available under the CC license is equally impressive.

Also, some audio streams and websites provide several versions of one track of different lengths or even the opportunity for you to compose a track of the required length (I will tell about this in one of the following articles). Tracks are available under license CCs are usually presented in only one version.


In conclusion, I would like to mention such an important point as uniqueness. When you buy a music track or download music under a Creative Commons license, remember that there are many more people who use this track (or can use it) in their projects.

To make your project truly unique, make music creation especially for your project with the purchase of all rights to the track. It will cost more, but you will receive music that will be written in full accordance with your wishes and will make your project unique. By the way, this can be done on our website by filling out the feedback form.

Which of the options to choose – you decide. I hope this article was useful to you and I will be glad to your comments about it.


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