Royalty-free music is a great resource when you’re streaming. If you want to avoid copyright strikes on your streams and VODs, you need access to a stream-safe royalty-free music and sound effects library.
Let’s dive into a comparison of 3 popular royalty-free music platforms to see which one is best for streamers.
Epidemic Sound is probably the platform you hear about the most. The platform has around 5 million users, with more than 35,000 royalty-free tracks available for streaming and digital media.
You can use them for streams, videos, websites, podcasts, or any other purpose, as long as you’re a license holder. Even if your subscription expires, the content you made while you had an active subscription is still covered.
Cost: $15/month OR $108/year
Under this subscription, you can monetize one channel on every platform, including Twitch and Youtube live streams, social media channels, video content, and podcast platforms.
This subscription is only for your accounts and content channels. If you’re a creator making any content for yourself that requires royalty-free sound effects or music, this plan applies to you. Sponsored content is also covered under this subscription.
Cost: $49/month OR $228/year
Under a commercial subscription, you can monetize up to 5 channels on every online platform. The other main benefit of this subscription is that you can use it on the content you’re creating for third-party clients, regardless of whether they have their own subscriptions.
Cost: Quote required
This subscription is for TV shows, movies, ads, and other primarily non-digital content. There are not many situations where a streamer might need this plan, but it’s always available in case you expand into other content later.
As a streamer-focused music platform, Pretzel offers stream-safe music for Twitch and Youtube. Instead of calling their music “royalty-free,” they prefer stream-safe because each artist who submits music gets paid when their music is played.
The Pretzel catalog includes more than 500,000 tracks for Twitch streams and more than 75,000 tracks safe for Youtube streams. While their whole catalog is safe for Twitch, you have to toggle an option to filter for Youtube-safe stream music.
Music is arranged via genres or stations, which play a curated music collection you choose. Pretzel Rocks integrates into your stream deck, allowing you to make changes or adjustments quickly.
If you’re starting out, this can be a good option. It’s limited to only ten different stations and a handful of stream-safe tracks for Twitch and Youtube, but it’s free. Unlike a trial version, this plan doesn’t expire.
Cost: $9.99/month OR $59.99/year
This plan is aimed at Twitch and Youtube streamers. You’ll get access to the entire streaming catalog and more than 60 stations for curated music selections. Play tracks during streams or VODs, but not for other digital content.
Cost: $25/month OR $250/year
If you make digital content outside of streams, you can use this plan to access music for your videos and the usual streaming catalog. Downloadable tracks are available separately, so you may not have full access to all music for videos.
Envato Elements is a sort of wildcard for streamers. While it isn’t specifically for royalty-free streaming music, it has a library of more than 116,000 tracks for streaming, videos, podcasts, and other content. Envato provides commercial licensing for all their resources, so you can use them without getting DMCA strikes on your content.
The advantage of Envato Elements is that, along with the music library, your subscription gives you access to stock images, videos, graphic templates, website themes, and more. It’s an all-access subscription model that could help you reduce the subscription services you need to stream and produce other content.
You can sort their royalty-free music by genre, category, or style and download any tracks for your streams or content.
Under this license, you get unlimited downloads of all resources, including royalty-free music for streams. With your subscription, you get a license for everything you download and use in case you want to use their music in Youtube videos, VODs, podcasts, and other video/audio content.
Although this plan is for individuals, you can use the resources for third-party client projects, sponsored content, and other commercial use.
Students are eligible for a 30% discount.
Cost: $10.75 – $14.50/member per month
This plan is for businesses or anyone with multiple people working under them that need to access the same assets. One example could be if you’re posting your content to Youtube or on social media and you want to provide an editor with the resources you use or extra media resources. A central location also shows you what resources have been downloaded so that you can reference them at any point.
Cost: Quote required
If you have more than six people working with you, you must go for an enterprise plan. This comes with more tracking features and an advanced licensing agreement, but it may be more than you need unless you have a large team and multiple content channels you manage.
Which Platform Is Best for You?
As similar as these three platforms are, there are a few distinct differences between them. Let’s look at how they compare on price, catalogs, and practical use for streamers.
Pretzel Rocks is the most affordable music platform for streamers. It’s a great option if you only need music for streams and VODs, especially since the basic free tier is available.
Epidemic Sound has the best value for royalty-free music for both streams and digital content. Their subscription allows you to use their catalog in other types of video and audio content, not just streams or VODs, giving you more flexibility. However, it comes at a higher cost than Pretzel Rocks.
Envato is the most expensive option for an individual plan, but it also provides excellent value for money since it’s a bundle of different services. This subscription is great if you need stock images, templates, and other digital resources.
Pretzel Rocks has one of the largest music catalogs for Twitch, but their Youtube-safe streaming tracks are more limited. Epidemic Sound has a better selection for Youtube streamers since all their music can be used for both Twitch and Youtube.
Envato Elements has a decent library for streamers. It’s just not as convenient because they don’t have a web or desktop player, so you must download the music you plan to use on stream.
Envato Elements is the most flexible subscription since it accesses many digital assets. No matter what you’re doing alongside your streaming, you’ll be able to access their content libraries for your content.
Epidemic Sound is the second-best option for flexible use since their individual plan lets you use their music and sound effects for both streams and other digital content.
Pretzel Rocks is the least flexible of these three platforms unless you’re willing to upgrade to their pro plan. Their plan is only for streaming and VODs, limiting your ability to use their music and sounds in any other digital content.
Envato Elements and Pretzel Rocks have no restrictions on how many streaming or digital content accounts you can have per platform, but Epidemic Sound does restrict this.
Epidemic Sound’s basic plan only allows you to use their tracks on one monetized account per platform, meaning you’d need to upgrade to a higher plan if you want more channels using the same resources.
Ease of Use
Pretzel Rocks is one of the simpler platforms to use while streaming, especially with their desktop player. You can integrate the desktop player with your stream deck, so you have more options for controlling your music and sound effects during your live streams.
Epidemic Sound has a web player for streaming music, which is much easier than Envato Elements, where you have to download the music you want to use. Then again, downloading your streaming does give you more options for using your own music player that might integrate into your streaming equipment more efficiently.
None of these services will likely cause copyright claims issues during your streams. However, they differ in handling copyright issues, especially in video content and VODs.
Epidemic Sound and Pretzel Rocks allow you to whitelist your specific channels through your account on their website. If claims come up, you can appeal with your license information, and it will be allowed.
Envato Elements is a bit different since they don’t have a system for whitelisting your specific channels. Instead, you’re given licensing information to appeal any copyright claims that might come up. Unfortunately, there can be issues with this system at times that might be problematic, primarily for video content on Youtube.
Which platform do you use for music while you’re streaming? Let us know in the comments below!