One of the basic rules of instructional design is to grab the learner’s attention from the start. A musical introduction does just this. It captures attention, sets the mood and adds a professional flair to your work. In addition, sound effects provide a wonderful dimension of realism to scenarios and stories.
Below you will find online providers of stock music and sound effects (SFX). These sites offer pricing and tracks suitable for online learning, videos, presentations and other multimedia projects.
Please check the licensing agreements carefully as some tracks are suitable for internal projects and others for commercial endeavors.
At Audio Jungle you can browse music and sound effects by category. Most of the tunes are reasonably priced and sound effects are inexpensive. You’ll find a good selection. Music and SFX.
This site has a very wide selection of genre music and sound effects. It also offers quite a few free sound effects if you register. The quality of the recordings seems to be consistently good, but the pricing is a higher than what you’ll find at Audio Jungle and a few other sites. The search filters make your time there efficient and it’s design to make it easy to listen to all of your search results by selecting Next Track. Music and SFX.
Although you might wish this site had a makeover, you can find a wide selection of music and sound effects (known as EFX on this site). Choose from single downloads and “virtual CDs.” Search by keyword or category. Music and SFX.
You may know Jamendo as a free radio site, but it also licenses music for public use. In this well-designed site, you can browse music by genre and search by keyword. Pricing is based on your intended use. Multimedia training comes under their “Corporate Use” licensing. Music only.
Chances are you have run across or used istockphoto when looking for stock images. They also provide stock music and sound effects in a similar format. Notice the Audio selection in the menu bar. You can browse by category (small menu option on the right) or by keyword. Music and SFX.
Music Alley focuses on music for podcasts, but I don’t see why this can’t be used for online learning intros and such. You must register to download files. The site requests that you mention it (with a link) as the source of the music. Music only.
This stock media site offers a wide selection of music and sound effects. Your search results will consist of a screen full of audio files. Roll over each one for the cost of each tune. Prices are higher than at many other music sites, but it wasn’t apparent why from the licensing agreement. Music and SFX.
Royalty Free Music Pro
Here you’ll find a decent collection of music with different price points for various licenses. The Personal license (Internet non-commercial use and attribution) will probably cover most of your needs. They provide the music in short clips as well as the full track. Music only.
Soundsmack may be the only sound effects and music site created by and for eLearning designers and developers. With over 2000 sound effects, you’re bound to find what you need. They also have a separate category for ambient background sounds, which add a compelling touch of realism to eLearning scenarios and games. Check their music library too. The prices are very reasonable at Soundsmack. Music and SFX.
Soundsnap is swimming with sound effects. You won’t find anything else here. They have a variety of pricing models, ranging from five sounds to an unlimited subscription service. If you’ve been looking for reasonably priced sound effects, you will be happy with this find. SFX only.
Stockmusic.net provides music for commercial and broadcast purposes and is priced for buyout only. This means you purchase the music for a flat, one time charge and do not pay ongoing fees or royalties. The site provides an efficient way to search: by keyword, genre, mood, instrument and more. Prices are higher than what you’d want to pay for internal training purposes. Music only.
You’ll find a limited selection of free music and sound effects at Brainy Betty. Music and SFX.
Danosongs has a supply of music by one individual musician that is free to download with attribution. A donation is requested with no attribution. Although I applaud the free download approach, you will find more variety at sites where you can purchase individual tunes. Music only.
This is a collaborative database of Creative Commons Licensed sounds. This collection is limited, but it’s free for registration. SFX only.
Similar to the approach above, Incompetech has a supply of music by one individual artist that is free to download. Again, for more depth and breadth in selection, check out the commercial sites. When using this music, you must attribute correctly and adhere to the Creative Commons license or pay for the no-attribution license. Music only.
A public domain library of music from a nonprofit focused on “creating free resources and educational materials.” You can download recordings for free, without copyright restrictions. Music only.
Nicely recorded sound effects. Download individual sounds for free or purchase their set of 3,000 sounds.