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Sound effects can add a lot of excitement to your videos. Sometimes they are even used for comedic effect. For example, you might use a fake slap sound in a slapstick comedy sketch. Other times sound effects can be more subtle. You might want to add city noises to the background of your video to help set your scene, or a droning sound to build suspense. A lot of the most popular sound effects are related to the genres of science fiction or action.
Besides royalty free music the YouTube Audio Library also has sound effects which you can download for free. The sound effects in YouTube’s library are organized into categories. You can select a category, i.e ‘sci fi’, from the drop down menu next to the search bar and browse through just the types of sounds you are interested in. You can also favorite sounds you like so you can find them again easily.
The sound effects you download from YouTube’s library can be used as many times as you like, and in as many different projects. Monetizing your videos will not impact your ability to use these sound effects either. Some other sources of sound effects have different rules about monetizing or using sound effects in multiple projects.
Freesound.org is a huge database of royalty free sound effects and other audio files. All downloads are free, but there are conditions for using some of the sounds on Freesound. There are three different Creative Commons licenses uses on Freesound and which one applies to the sound effect you want depends on the user who posted it.
The three licenses used on Freesound are Zero, Attribution, and Attribution Noncommercial.
Zero (cc0): you can do anything you want with these sound effects except claim that you created them. You can make money off of them and you do not have to credit the original creator.
Attribution (by): make sure you credit the creator of the sound. Usually this means adding a ‘Sound effect by Username on Freesound’ line in the description of your video. So long as you credit the artists you can do anything with this these sounds, even monetize the videos you use them in.
Attribution Noncommercial (by –nc): you must credit the creators of these sound effects and you cannot make money off of them. This means that you cannot monetize a video in which you used these sound effects.
Freesound is a social site where you can talk to the creators of the sounds you want to download. If you are planning to monetize a video which uses an Attribution Noncommercial sound effect you can always ask the artist for permission.
AudioJungle.net has a wide selection of royalty free sound effects available for prices as low as $1. Sound effects costing more than $10 tend to either be longer or include whole sets of sounds. You can filter the sounds on AudioJungle by category, tags, and price while you browse.
There are two different licenses you can purchase on AudioJungle, SFX Single Use and SFX Multi-Use. The prices displayed are all for the Single Use license. The Multi-Use license costs more.
The main difference between the two licenses on AudioJungle is how many projects you can use your sound effect in. If you purchase a sound under a Single Use license you can only use it in one project. You can use it as many times as you want within that project, and you can even make money off of that project, but you cannot use it again in a second project unless you repurchase it. While it is more expensive, the Multi-Use license gives you unlimited use of your download.
If you decide to use sound effects from any of these sites then please make sure to read their more detailed legal information.
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