What is stock music? A guide to stock music for creators

stock music definition

Music is incredibly important, it sets the scene, helps the audience understand how you want a piece of content to be received and, in many cases, can evoke powerful emotion. This means you need to get the very best music possible for your videos, to make your content stand out and help your viewers understand what you’re trying to achieve with your videos. This is where stock music comes in.

It’s an incredibly powerful tool that lets creators add background music to their content, without having to break the bank.

We’re going to cover everything you need to know about stock music, so you can decide whether it’s the best thing for you.

Stock music definition

stock music definition

Stock music, often referred to in the same breath as royalty-free music, library music or production music is music that’s been specifically recorded to be licensed for mass use in other creative mediums like video.

Basically, stock music is music that’s either been created solely for use in other people’s projects or has been bought by a library for that intention. It’s music you either don’t need to seek permission to use or music that you just need to pay a particular stock library to gain permission. These production music libraries have been created with you in mind. Some of them are free, like YouTube’s Audio Library, although those tend to be quite restrictive and generic and so aren’t used much by creators.

What types of stock music are there?

Stock music falls into two different camps. Both come under the same umbrella, but each has its own characteristics and offers something contrasting.


Licensed stock music is the more limiting and expensive of the two. Usually, this kind of music is licensed for a particular project and could require you to pay royalties on it. Therefore it’s not a very attractive option for creators, but let’s take a look at it anyway.

Its usage limitations and cost varies a lot, depending on:

  • The type of project you are creating. I.e. is it a YouTube video, a TV program or something else?
  • Where your content will be distributed or seen. I.e. is it going online, is it for one event, how many people are going to see it?
  • Whether it’s being promoted. And, if it is, how and where? Radio, TV, display advertising or social media??
  • Who is buying the license? Is it an individual, an SME, an enterprise business?

All of these things can make licensed stock music expensive. You may have certain requirements you have to meet if it’s a larger project, or you want to license something more well-known. Lickd helps creators license chart music for social media videos every day, in an affordable way based on your average views, which is much more affordable and less limiting than many licensed stock music libraries.


Most stock music, however, is classified as royalty-free. This kind comes with significantly fewer limitations and usually for much lower costs.

When you buy a royalty-free stock music track, you have covered all of its ongoing royalties. Generally, this means you can use it however you wish, whether that’s in YouTube videos, on Facebook, Instagram and for brand-sponsored content too.

You do need to keep in mind, however, that the way you can use it will depend on the music library you acquire it from. Some may have conditions or restrictions in place that only allow you to use it for certain projects.

At Lickd, you can get royalty-free stock music for only £10 / $15 / €12 per month and you even get the first 14 days for free! It’s a library of 100,000 high-quality & royalty-free stock tracks that are available globally and for unlimited use across all social platforms and even in brand-sponsored content. What do you have to lose?

Is stock music free to use?

Is stock music free?

The answer to this isn’t as clear-cut as you’d probably like it to be. It’s… maybe, and when it is free, it usually comes with a few drawbacks.

There are a number of stock music libraries that are free to use, like the YouTube Audio Library. They tend to offer a limited selection of tracks of mixed (but generally low) quality. You’ll likely struggle to find something you’ve not heard before and may have to pick from a selection that just isn’t all that good. You’ll usually have to give credit as well.

This is why we are always reluctant to recommend completely free stock music. When you opt for a paid license, you’ll usually find a much larger pool of tracks to pick from. Not only that, but the quality will likely be higher and you won’t have to give credit. The great thing here is that even though they do cost money, they don’t cost all that much, so while it’s not free, it’s not going to break the bank.

Where can you use stock music?

As we’ve mentioned already, depending on where you get your music from, you may only be able to use it in certain ways in certain places.

Some libraries offer music you can use absolutely anywhere, once you’ve paid for the royalties anyway, but most only offer music for specific purposes. Lickd, for instance, only provides music licenses for social media channels like Instagram, YouTube, Twitch and Facebook. Some library music from other sources will only be usable on radio or TV. It completely depends on what your needs are and the source you find your music from.

Is stock music the same as production music?

what is stock music

Stock music and production music are essentially the same thing. They’re often referred to interchangeably. 

While production music is a bit more of an industry term, one thrown around to refer to music that’s specifically created for TV, film and other audiovisual products, the reality is that both are pretty much the same thing.

How much does stock music cost?

Stock music can cost anywhere from absolutely nothing through to hefty numbers with lots of zeros on the end. As we’ve mentioned before, it tends to be pretty generic. So we’ve put together a really affordable library of the highest quality stock music from composers and writers across a range of genres.

Sign up to Lickd Essentials now to get your first 14 days of stock music absolutely free. After that, it’s just a low-cost monthly subscription of £10/ $15 / €12 per month that you can cancel anytime.

Okay, so what is Lickd?

Aside from high-quality stock music, Lickd offers chart-topping mainstream songs for YouTube videos too. Yep, you heard that right, it’s now possible to use big tracks from major artists that your viewers will actually have heard before.

If you’re a new YouTuber, it’s all good. Lickd creates custom pricing that adjusts based on the size of your audience. If you’re not huge yet, you won’t have to pay huge prices.

Lickd lets YouTubers use high-quality stock and mainstream tracks, curated by genre, length, mood, and more. Plus, if you sign up today, you get 25% off your first track!

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