Your Complete Guide to the YouTube Audio Library

Tara Parachuk | April 8, 2022

Laptop screen with YouTube library open

Finding quality audio for your projects can be extremely cost-prohibitive. Luckily, several free audio and sound effect databases are available online. One of the more popular audio sites is the Youtube Audio Library.

The Youtube Audio Library can be accessed within the platform directly for Youtube creative projects or used separately for projects external to the platform. The Youtube sound library is free to use and intuitive enough for even beginner content producers. 

In this article

  1. What Is the YouTube Audio Library?
  2. Types of Audio Tracks in the YouTube Sound Library
  3. Free Music
  4. Sound Effects
  5. Pros and Cons of the YouTube Audio Library
  6. Comparing the YouTube Audio Library To Other Free Audio Resources
  7. How To Make the Most of the YouTube Audio Library
  8. Final Thoughts on the YouTube Audio Library

With such an extensive collection of free audio tracks, you may be wondering how best to utilize the site. Read on for a comprehensive guide on how the YouTube Audio Library works and how you can use it to enhance your audio projects. 

What Is the YouTube Audio Library?

The library is a large database of music and audio tracks that you can download for free.

Users can listen to samples of the tracks and can choose to download quality MP3 files of the complete tracks. While some of the available audio has copyright protections, the YouTube Audio Library conveniently provides helpful guidelines on how copyright regulations work for those particular tracks.

Types of Audio Tracks in the YouTube Sound Library

The YouTube Audio Library divides its collection into two main categories: free music and sound effects.

Free Music

The free music section contains all of the music tracks available in the YouTube Audio Library. The library’s music section is quite large, so there are several filters for narrowing down your options, as well as a search tool for finding specific songs or musical artists. 

Some of the filters include genre, mood, and musical instrument. Naturally, the genre and mood filters are particularly helpful if you don’t have a specific piece of music in mind but are instead looking for a certain aesthetic or style. The musical instrument filter is best used if you want a specific sound, such as a synthesizer or brass instrument. 

The YouTube Audio Library is designed to help users ethically navigate copyright and licensing regulations, so there is also a filter for attributions. This filter will allow you to sort through which audio tracks require artist credits if you use them in your work. 

Sound Effects

The sound effects section features all of the YouTube Audio Library’s special sound effects. While there are less comprehensive filters in this section of the library compared to the music section, there are several subcategories full of sound effects to assist you in searching through the available tracks. 

Pros and Cons of the YouTube Audio Library

The YouTube Audio Library is easy to use and is a great resource for free music and audio tracks. However, there are some drawbacks to the sound database that are worth considering before diving in.

While the YouTube Audio Library free download feature is a cost-effective tool for creative projects, using free audio requires careful adherence to copyright regulations. YouTube provides a ton of free audio but makes it very clear when artists need to be credited for the free tracks and how the content can be used. 

Copyright regulations are particularly relevant if you intend to use the audio on a platform other than YouTube. If you have a specific project in mind, be sure to confirm the audio track’s copyright protections are a good fit before downloading and using the track. 

Despite the restrictions of copyright licenses—many of the YouTube audio tracks are categorized under a Creative Commons license, which requires artist attribution but are still free to use—the vast selection of audio is worth it. 

The Youtube sound library has over 150,000 free music and sound effect audio tracks to choose from. While it can take some time to sort through them all to find the best audio for your project, it is an impressive resource and one of the largest free audio libraries currently available. 

Comparing the YouTube Audio Library To Other Free Audio Resources

If you are considering using the YouTube Audio Library for your project, it’s a good idea to compare it to other audio databases to determine if the Youtube sound library is the best fit for you.

For creators focused on sound effect audio tracks more than music, you may be interested in RØDE Ambisonic Library. This database consists mostly of ambient noise tracks recorded with a 360-degree microphone. Another similar sound effects library is SoundBible, which has a mix of free and premium sound effects to choose from. 

Compared to the RØDE Ambisonic Library, the YouTube Audio Library probably has a smaller selection of high-quality ambient noise tracks. However, YouTube does have a wide variety of general sound effects to choose from, so its sound library is still a good sound effect resource. Furthermore, unlike libraries like SoundBible, all of the sound effects on the YouTube Audio Library are free.

YouTube Audio Library also stands out when compared to popular sound databases that require paid subscriptions. For instance, EpidemicSound is a monthly subscription audio library with a great selection of music and audio tracks, but still has a slightly smaller collection than YouTube’s free library.

For a comprehensive paid database, StoryBlocks is a decent option: a membership will give you access to stock images, audio, and b-roll footage libraries. This can get pricey, and if you only need audio tracks, you might be better off utilizing a free resource like YouTube. 

Of course, creators can probably get the largest selection of audio tracks from databases with pay per download models, such as AudioJungle, which has over a million tracks to choose from. However, with a rate of a dollar per track, costs can start to add up if you are regularly using sound effects in your work.

Overall, YouTube Audio Library is one of the largest free audio libraries available, with sizable selections of both music and general sound effect tracks. 

How To Make the Most of the YouTube Audio Library

The YouTube Audio Library is a useful resource, but it’s important to prioritize originality and innovation when using a free database.

Since the YouTube Audio Library is quite popular, it’s likely that the music or sound effect track you download will have already been used in another project. To make your sound more unique, you might want to incorporate additional audio or apply editing techniques that make your project more distinctive. 

Audio editing and original audio or voice over work can often require more advanced technical skills than simply downloading an audio track. Fortunately, when you make the cost-effective choice to use audio from a free database, you can use more of your time and resources collaborating with professionals to enhance the audio. 

Voices can connect you with experienced freelance talent to help you personalize and further polish your acquired audio tracks. 

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Final Thoughts on the YouTube Audio Library

The YouTube Audio Library is a convenient and accessible resource for downloading free, high-quality MP3 audio tracks. The library has an extremely large selection to choose from, with advanced filters and a search tool to improve your user experience.

If using artist attributions works for your project, then the YouTube Audio Library is probably one of the best free music and audio resources you can utilize. 

Although free audio tracks can risk becoming repetitive and overused, some skilled sound mixing or voiceover work can easily enhance and personalize any audio downloaded from the YouTube Library. 

Not finding what you need in the YouTube Audio Library? Create a Voices account to see how our talented audio production freelancers can help you with your next project. 

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