Finding Music and Videos for Commercial Use: My Process for The STEEM Engine Express

in #podcast6 years ago (edited)

Sometimes I forget the resources that the Internet and the World Wide Web make available to average people. Then I start working on a project and I remember again.

Yesterday, I began work on a new podcast series entitled, The STEEM Engine Express, in which I verbally curate posts from the new group The STEEM Engine (@thesteemengine). Since the group has established a train theme, I wanted to make a great introduction for each podcast that involved train sounds and sound bytes that talk about trains. I certainly could have recorded some phrases myself, but I knew that there are many resources across the Web for me to take advantage of.

Finding the Music

The first thing I always look for is music. Every good podcast I've heard always has great introduction music, and non-intrusive background music during the bulk of the podcast can be a nice addition as well. I've worked on several mini-documentary video projects since I was an undergraduate student, so I've gathered many Web resources for finding music that is released under Creative Commons licenses for reuse in projects like mine.

One website has set itself apart from the others: Free Music Archive is a collection of Creative Commons licensed music that anyone may use for video projects, podcasts, and other creative undertakings. The website has music from almost any genre which you can search through and filter as you please. I've found the interface to be useful since it allows you to listen to songs from the search results page rather than having to click all the way through.

For the podcast, I ended up using "Biking in the Park" by Lee Rosevere for the introduction, which is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Click the title of the song to see its page on FreeMusicArchive. In addition to these songs, there are countless others that I have used in the past. Just check the descriptions of my video projects on YouTube to find links to the songs I used in each video and their licensing information. For the first episode of The STEEM Engine Express, I used "Crushin'" by Jason Shaw for the background music, which is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. I found it on the musician's personal website, so you can also do a Google search for commercial use music!

Despite most of the music having fairly lenient licensing terms, be sure to check to see if the license allows commercial use. Many of them are licensed non-commercial, so using them on Steemit may not be permitted. Also, be sure to follow the exact terms of the license, especially if it involves linking to the track and linking to the license. I accidentally omitted a link to one of the licenses in a YouTube video and had a copyright claim against the video. It was resolved once I added the link, but keep this in mind when using songs (commercial or non).

Sound Bytes

This one was a bit trickier. However, there's another web resource that offers a huge treasure trove of Creative Commons licensed material. The Internet Archive. I first came across back when I was working on this project for a course in my undergraduate studies. The Archive contains videos, movies, books, and images that are all either public domain or licensed for reuse.

So I headed to the search bar and looked up video clips and audio clips with "train express" in them. Most of the results were classic movies, so I was excited to watch through some of them. I'm amazed at how much I learn about classic movies when I search through their database. Also, it's fascinating to learn about movies from years past that I didn't know existed. For example, I ended up using sound clips from three train-themed movies circa 1930.

First was The Streamline Express from 1935. It's an interesting movie about a man desperately trying to board a train to convince the star of his live show to return. I watched the first few minutes to get the sound clips that I needed, but I think it would be entertaining to watch the whole movie.

Next, I discovered The Phantom Express from 1932, a movie about a phantom train that causes all sorts of trouble for the railroad including several derailed trains. I did grab several of the clips I needed from just the first few minutes, but I don't know how the movie ends, so maybe I'll go watch it to completion eventually.

Finally, my search returned the 1932 movie, The Hurricane Express, which actually features actor John Wayne. I couldn't really get a good idea of the plot of this one, so perhaps I'll go back and check it out, too.

All of these movies about train Express lines helped me find some great sound clips to use for the introduction of my podcast. If you want to hear how it turned out, check out Volume 1 of The STEEM Engine Express! I also encourage you to check out the above movies if you enjoy classics with train themes.

Final Thoughts

So if you are working on a podcast or video project and you need resources for them, start at FreeMusicArchive and the Internet Archive. There are many great free resources that are labeled for reuse.

Once again, be sure to check the licenses to make sure you can use them on Steemit, since you're technically going to make money from the posts. I don't know if any of the copyright holders will be coming after people on Steemit yet, but it's always a good idea to cover your bases.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask! I have been able to make the most of Creative Commons resources across the Web, and I'm more than happy to share my experiences with you!

I hope you've enjoyed this look at the making of The STEEM Engine Express. I look forward to making many more episodes of the podcast!


The STEEM Engine



Great ideas for adding sound to your podcast. Glad it got worked out for the YouTube video you forgot to link to. I used to be on a website called Squidoo which is very similar to Steemit, but you were paid with real live money (paypal). Toward the end of the site, they started pulling a lot of "lenses" off because of copyright issues. I have noticed a lot of people on Steemit also do not cite where the got their pics or videos from (if not their own). Hopefully something like this doesn't happen to Steemit... The videos you mention do sound interesting. My grandad loved John Wayne, so I'm betting he had seen the one you said he was in. I'm just wondering if you can convince your wife to watch those old train movies with you. ;)

Ah yes. I feel like I've heard of that website, but I never really looked into it. Copyright issues on the Web are widespread. I hope that Steemians will pay attention, because most of the time it's ignorance instead of maliciousness that causes the issues.

I don't know if my wife will watch the movies with me. I got the entire series of the 1960s Batman TV show for Christmas from her brother, and I can barely get her to watch that with me. haha

I can't say I've watched too many old movies with my husband. ;) Lol. Yes, squidoo shut down. I tried to look it up recently and it was sold to some other company. You could make lenses about anything and then link amazon, ebay, etc. to it and get the profit off of purchases made from that linked lens. It wasn't as social as Steemit, but you could comment, upvote, etc.

Thank you for the detailed post and explanation of the process of finding free music resources. Whilst I have no particular need for these right this moment, I operate on the basis that who knows what the future holds. And learning new things is never a bad thing.

Well it never hurts to know what's out there! You may need it sometime in the future!

I think that's a good attitude to approach interactions here on Steemit. Glad you're a part of The STEEM Engine. I'll be looking forward to some more great posts and comments from you.

I'm happy to be a part of the SteemEngine. Great opportunity to find new and interesting blogs and bloggers. Interaction is the fuel that makes Steem great.

I agree! Thanks again for stopping by.

Really respect the work and effort that went into the creation of your show.

It has a.....freakonomics podcast feel to it. I think that's the show I'm thinking of.

I appreciate the compliments! I really enjoyed putting this together, so I hope you'll keep coming back for more. I hope my podcasting skills will improve!

Thank you soooo much for this article! A wealth of resources and great advice. Really appreciate it. :)

You are very welcome!

I'm curious about your goals with your account. It looks like you've been around for several months, but you only resteem other users' posts. I would encourage you to do a proper introduction post if you haven't already in order to let everyone know who you are and what your goals are for using Steemit.

Sharing original content will also help raise your reputation score, which will make other people more likely to interact with you.

I'm also curious. How did you find this post?

Thank you for your reply :)

So far I've I have posted a couple articles and a couple videos on Dtube (of my original content). It ranges topically, though. I asked around about the introduction post when I joined and no one thought it was necessary (maybe I got bad advice?) If you think it would be of value to still do one, then I will gladly make one :)

Honestly, I'm finding it confusing and a bit overwhelming on here, but I love the opportunity to find like-minded communities of people. My interests include growing food, world travel (especially ancient sites) and alternative news... If you have any suggestions for how that hodgepodge could be succinctly introduced, I would appreciate it very much.

Finally, your post was probably resteemed by someone I follow and then I started following because I liked you. Maybe goldendawn? Does that sound familiar? She resteems a lot of great stuff I enjoy.

Take care and thanks, again for the message!

You're very welcome!

I personally believe that an introduction post is key to your Steemit success. People enjoy being able to reference it to see what you're all about, what you plan to get out of the platform, and what your interests are. It also helps if you verify that you are indeed who you say you are.

My second piece of advice would be to slow down on your resteems until you generate some original content. When people go to a user's profile and all they see are resteems, they might think you're just a spam account that's trying to just get rewards. A few resteems are fine, but remember that once you do so, it's on your blog page forever.

I'm very glad you found my content. I hope that my advice will help you start to make more sense of the platform. Usually when I interact with new users on their introduction posts, I leave them these bits of advice, so I hope you'll be able to use them as well:

  • Familiarize yourself with the way the platform works by browsing the FAQs.

  • Check out the Steemit Etiquette Guide for tips on how to interact with others in the community and how to introduce yourself to everyone.

  • If you'd like some advice on how to make your posts great, take a look at this guide I posted about polishing your posts.

  • Finally, when it comes to commenting, check out this guide that will get you on the road to becoming a comment expert!

Once you take these things into consideration and get some new content up, if you're interested in plugging into a community that focuses on supporting its members and curating great content, look no further than The STEEM Engine. Come check us out!

The rest is up to you, but if you have any questions, I'd be happy to answer them!

What a wealth of valuable advice and tips! Thank you, thank you for taking the time to share all of this information with me. I am beyond grateful. I'll get to that introduction post :) I appreciate all the resources and will certainly make use of each one. Take good care!

You are very welcome! Be sure to let me know when you get an introduction post up. I'd love to read it!

That’s interesting to read I do not often if ever do video or podcasts but did make some notes Incase I ever need or am asked about it

Yes. It never hurts to be aware of resources that exist across the Web. I appreciate you stopping by to read this post!


I know there is so much out there, hard to keep track of all the resources we can utilize. Great job so far on Steem Engine! I need to get caught up with everything in the chat.

Thanks for checking out this post. I hope you've gotten the chance to listen to the podcast I shared yesterday! Glad you're part of the STEEM Engine community!

Not yet but will do so. So glad to hear there are podcasts and everything here.. We are growing so fast!

It's hard to go wrong with John Wayne films! Can't wait for the next episode of the podcast!

That's true. I think most people don't realize just how many movies he was in, since he's most recognized for his later career in Western movies. My grandpa loves John Wayne movies, so I've seen most of the big hits. I will be working on another episode of the podcast soon!

I have an advice to you, there is a web that have many free music that you can use. Great post. Steem Engine is a nice community :)

Hey there. Thanks for the kind words and for taking the time to read the post. I checked out that website and it looks like you still have to pay for a license for these songs. Many Steemians don't have the resources to do so, which means that Creative Commons licenses are much more helpful. Have you ever done any projects with video or music?

Oh sorry. I had not realized that the page had changed. Well, there is Jamendo (, which is a network that I liked for many years. I also know Audionautix ( and BumpFoot (

I have done small projects as a member of a rock and roll band 5 years ago. It was not a big deal, but I have a couple of songs that I could give you if you like.

I think I actually used a track from Audionautix. I like that website a lot. Thanks for the other suggestions. I'd love to hear your original music, too. I'm in a band, so I always appreciate hearing music from other musicians across Steemit!

I always try to have decent original sounds when I'm filming our travel videos but for compilations I really have a hard time to find something fitting and I'm growing tired of the music library I can use on Youtube. Going to take a look at ... it looks very promising.

It certainly is. Especially if you aren't monetizing your videos on YouTube. Many of the tracks on Free Music Archive are licensed for non-commercial use, so they're great for travel videos and such!

Let me know if you find anything you like. If you want to see how I've used some of the tracks, be sure to check out my video projects that I linked to in the post. They fit in very nicely.

Thanks for taking the time to come check out my post!

I'm glad I did .. looking forward to see more videos from you.

I always wondered about those also for images as well... Do the same rules apply? I don't really see that much attention being paid to that though.

You're right. Many people don't pay attention to the licenses of images, even ones licensed via Creative Commons standards. I encourage everyone to use Pixabay for images since all of them are public domain and do not require any attribution. My second recommendation is to visit the Wikimedia Commons, since all images there have licensing information. If you do choose to use such resources, be sure to abide by the terms of the license.

Thanks for your comment. I appreciate you stopping by to read this post!

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