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PremiumBeat vs. AudioJungle


In this detailed comparison, we’ll take a look at PremiumBeat and AudioJungle to see which is the best fit for your video project.

Royalty-free music libraries are fascinating creatures—even if the name doesn’t exactly suggest it. They’ve been around for a good minute now, largely due to the digital revolution that has democratized independent filmmaking and brought the elusive content creation world to people everywhere. As these libraries have grown, the highest-profile among them have developed distinct personalities and specialties based on their varying business models. Some are all about the UX, some are all about the quality of the music tracks, and some are more interested in a broader media offering. The most successful music libraries have determined their place in the ecosystem, and they work within specific parameters to maintain their territory.

There are different ways these libraries target content creators. Sure, they’re all offering similar assets (music, SFX, graphics), but they think about the content creation world differently. One of the easiest ways to see this is by examining music pricing structures. Each platform varies in its prices, but more importantly, they vary according to who’s allowed to see your project featuring their song. Low prices can be attractive to creatives on tight budgets, but those low prices may not cover the uses you had in mind. These models span from unlimited personal and monetized use to scales designed to fit audiences of certain sizes. These tiers are where a great deal of the natural behavior of the music library emerges—fluctuations in prices between tiers and usage-rights can give you a look beyond the plumage to see where you’re really going to pay for the assets you need.

Because royalty free libraries all approach this game from different angles, we feel that it’s important to take a look at what the others are doing to see how we measure up. We pride ourselves on straightforward pricing and easy-to-understand licenses, so we’re fascinated by how that shakes out for everyone else. In this write-up, we’ll take a look at another industry powerhouse, AudioJungle, to see how we measure up and which is the right library for your projects.

PremiumBeat vs. AudioJungle

  1. Music Library
  2. Music Licensing
  3. Music Search
  4. Music Quality
  5. Industry Experience

1. Music Library

So, most royalty-free music platforms have a lot going on. There’s the site experience itself, the branding, the social media profiles, the support content, search functionality, filtering, customizing, licensing, subscribing. These are all important aspects of the platform to consider, as they’ve all risen over the years to positions of prominence in the royalty free music ecosystem. Many users are expecting things from their experience, and failure to meet those expectations can send their potential customers somewhere else.

You could theoretically survive for a little while as a royalty free music library with mediocre music, as long as your prices were low enough and your licenses generous enough. There’s always a market for the bottom-end, and you’d probably see a lot of this music in uninteresting training videos or bland social media videos. To make it long-term, however, the library has to offer best-in-class quality. The bar is pretty high, and the differences in quality between platforms can be subtle. So, it takes those extra efforts to curate a professional library that makes your platform worth the headache of deciding between them all.

PremiumBeat got started back in 2005, when things were starting to shake up in the prosumer video production world. Advances in technology and the slow reduction in the price of professional equipment was expanding the horizons of the content creation world. Brands everywhere now rely on content to sell their products, establish their identities, and create brand loyalty. Organizations of all kinds rely on streaming content to convey their messages.

Our decision back then (which continues to affect our library today) was what our primary focus would be. Naturally, we wanted the best music possible, and we’d need help to get it, but beyond these needs, we knew we wanted to be picky. We wanted exclusive tracks you wouldn’t hear anywhere else, and we wanted only music tracks that people would want—not simply songs to fill out catalog numbers. The plan worked! Today, years later, we have over 20,000 songs in our library. A team of music industry professionals hand-pick each of these tracks, and each track gets vetted three times before it can join our library. There are no algorithms involved—simply the trained ear of people listening for music they’d like to use in their own projects.

AudioJungle has been around since 2008. It’s part of the Envato Marketplace family, which takes a more wholesale approach to asset licensing, with web themes and templates, code, video, graphics, and 3D files. Envato has a large library of total holdings, making it a prime candidate for more generalized projects that need a little bit of everything. Envato was born in 2006 to some creative entrepreneurs, and has since expanded rapidly across a number of available assets.

While the size of the library is important (and the quality is even more important than that), the experience is also a key consideration. If the library is difficult or unpleasant to navigate, then you’re unlikely to stick around to see if the music is worth the time. This is why you see the top royalty free music platforms dedicating time and energy to the look, feel, and experience of their sites. What do we mean by experience? Simple: what’s it like to browse the platform? We’ll talk about search functionality a little later, but first, let’s take a look at our virtual reception area.

When you land at premiumbeat.com, the first thing you’ll see is “Start Your Search,” and if you’re familiar with royalty free music libraries, by all means, dive right in. If, however, you’d like a slightly more relaxed, exploratory approach, scroll down beneath the fold, and you’ll see we’ve laid some things out for you.

The first collection we’ve assembled is the editors’ picks. These are constantly updating, and they come straight from our acquisitions team, unfiltered. Of those tracks that do make the cut, these are the favorites from the pros maintaining our library. After this, you’ll see the list of Trending Tracks, which is a good way for you to see what’s popular in content creation right now—so you can jump on the bandwagon or head in another direction entirely.

Next up are our New Releases—these are the latest and greatest, and you can get them into your projects before they’ve even had a chance to start trending. No matter how you choose to begin your experience, you’ll never have the same one twice. Our library is a living thing, and it’s constantly growing.

But, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Our moods and genres allow you to start taking control of your experience. Both of these pages will allow you to begin aligning tracks with a mood board, a brainstorming sheet, some storyboards, or anything you’re using to keep track of your project’s development. Our genres offer plenty of options, so you can explore the right corner of our library. We’ve got Acid Jazz and Drones and even Holiday songs. Ambient, Disco, Rap, Tango—you name it. If you can think of it, we’ve got tracks for it. And, if the genres aren’t doing it for you, give our moods a whirl. We’ve got Fashion/Lifestyle, Horror/Scary, Action/Sports, and many more.

One of the hallmarks of our ever-growing collection is how we work with the musicians. Once we’ve found someone who we think really has it, our team works with them on developing tracks and expanding the library with their own signature voice. We’re incredibly proud of them, and you can meet some of the faces behind the music over at our Signature Series on our YouTube channel.

Following our genres and moods, we like to draw attention to our PRO-free collection. If you haven’t heard of it, PRO stands for “Performance Rights Organization.” The short version is that if you’re planning on taking your project into broadcast or distribution, you’re going to need to become familiar with PRO-free tracks in a hurry. Essentially, these tracks ensure that you’re completely legally clear to use the tracks in projects designed to earn money. There are other licenses you can buy that give you commercial rights, but many of the people you’ll be collaborating in the broadcast and distro worlds won’t be interested in working with you unless you can guarantee PRO-free tracks. After all, nobody wants a surprise lawsuit. If you’re not quite ready for this league yet, no problem. You will be someday, so take the time to have a look and see what you get when you’re working at this level.

Last, but certainly not least, is our Masterworks Collection. We recognize that some of the most sought-after tracks are also the most difficult to find. If you want an orchestral score for your project, it’s often a struggle to find something other than public domain recordings that everyone has already heard. We all know how soundtracks add scope and depth to movies on the big screen, and you can bring this to your own indie projects with these live recordings of orchestras in action. If you’re looking for swelling strings and big crescendos, you’ll want to spend some time with this collection.

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2. Music Licensing

Licensing is the heart and soul of the royalty free music business. The nature of the license is why this niche market exists at all. Prior to the advent of royalty free music platforms, if you wanted to include some music in your project, you only had a few options. First, you could write, perform, and record it yourself. Second, you could use the same public domain music as everyone else. Third, you could pay someone to score your project. Fourth, you could come to a licensing agreement and pay someone for the rights to their existing songs. Only one of these options was usually cheap, and in a world where production costs were proportionally much higher for the independent filmmaker than they are now, this was just another financial blow to endure. On top of the budgetary concerns, unless you were licensing pre-existing songs or using something from the public domain, you’d need to wait for the creation of the music, which could prolong the production period of your project.

These days, things are a little simpler, and everyone from your neighbor shooting in the backyard to major production studios is using royalty-free music. If you were to strike an agreement directly with a musician, usually, you’d need to keep track of your earnings and pay periodic royalties for the songs in your project. The paperwork can add up, and it’s easy to make mistakes. You wouldn’t be the first filmmaker to wind up in court with a musician for not compensating them according to your agreement. The best royalty free music platforms have struck deals with their musicians that benefit everyone financially. When you’re ready to license those tracks, your arrangement is with the platform, not the artist. That means no royalty payments, no paperwork, no hassle.

Typically, licensing breaks down into two formats: the single purchase or the subscription. There are pros and cons to each, so let’s take a look at the licensing options at PremiumBeat and AudioJungle, beginning with PremiumBeat.

Single-Purchase Standard License

The amount you’ll pay for a single purchase will depend on what you want to do with it—and, at some platforms, how many people are on your team and how many people will view your project. Projects with greater exposure are worth more money in the grand scheme of things, so these models aim to make the licensing model fair to the musicians whose work you’re using. If you plan to make money with your project, the license will cost more because it costs the music platform more to license it from the musician.

The single purchase model is perfect for people working on only one project at a time who need only one track at a time, such as a school project. If you’re working on multiple projects, you’ll end up wasting money by licensing songs one at a time, so a subscription model will be to your benefit.

The Single Purchase Standard License at PremiumBeat is $49 per track, and you’re free to use the song in as many projects as you want, in perpetuity—the license never expires. This license doesn’t cover commercial projects, so you can’t use the songs if you intend to monetize your work via advertising. Your download will include the full track, as well as shorts, loops, and stems—that means you can actually customize the song however you like and create something truly unique that no one has ever heard before. The Single Purchase Standard License is a fast-and-easy way to get in and out with a single track and get back to work.

Monthly Subscription

The monthly subscription plan is by far the most popular model among content creators. This is why you’ll see variations of the subscription plan at pretty much every top-notch royalty free music platform. Licensing tracks one at a time adds up quickly, and you have to stop and process the transaction every time. Downloading several at a time will allow you to dive back into your project without stopping for paperwork. Subscriptions mean you’ll pay less per track for your license compared to a Single Purchase Standard License.

The Monthly Subscription at PremiumBeat is a modified version of the Single Purchase Standard License. You’re getting the same usage rights (non-commercial, non-monetized), and you can still use the tracks in as many projects as you want for all time—the only difference is that you’re getting several at a time. Our model offers five songs per month, complete with shorts, loops, and stems, at a price of $12.99 per song.

One caveat with the subscription model is that this is where many platforms like to fleece you for your money. The subscription often has a guaranteed term, usually a year, so you have to make these payments every month for a year (or pay a lump sum up front) before you can cancel your subscription. If, for whatever reason, you find yourself between projects a few times a year, you’re wasting money. Our term is different. We only ask for a three-month commitment at a time—just long enough to do serious work on an indie project. After that, if you’re between projects or jobs, no problem—you can cancel your subscription and come back when it makes sense for you. We want you to want to come back—we don’t want to force you to.

The Premium License

When you’re ready to start earning some money with your projects, we’ve got the Premium License. This license will allow you to monetize your work through advertising, sponsorships, access fees, or any other model you can think of. Because you’ll be making money off the music, the license is a little more expensive to make sure the artist gets a fair shake. The Premium License is $199 per track, and you can do anything in the world you want with it—no strings attached.

AudioJungle Licensing

AudioJungle is part of the Envato Marketplace, so it’s connecting buyers and artists to reach licensing deals—that means your total price for each track will combine an item price and a buyer’s fee. There are five licensing models, based on what you plan on doing with the track:

  • Music standard license
  • Music broadcast (1 million)
  • Music mass reproduction
  • Music broadcast (10 million)
  • Music broadcast & film

The music standard license is for one end project only, and it’s good for most web uses. From there, the price scales based on your needs and the starting price of the track. So, for example, a $25 single-project, single-use license will then scale to $40, then $80, then $160, and finally $320, so you’ll need to make sure you’re signing up for the right license to cover your needs. If you prefer a subscription model, The Envato Elements subscription can give you access to more songs and sound effects for projects of a larger scope.

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All other things being equal, a royalty free library’s searchability is what can set it apart from the competition. Any platform worth its weight that’s been around for a while is going to offer some degree of professional quality, similar browsing experiences, and slight variations in licenses. However, if one platform is easier to search than the others, it’ll see the most traffic. Users don’t always want to browse through collections for hours at a time.

We get that. That’s why we’re working on improving our search functionality behind-the-scenes every day. We’re obsessed with it, even if it is the most invisible feature of the PremiumBeat experience. When search is optimized correctly, our users may never know it—they’ll just know it’s a bit easier to find what you need in the PremiumBeat library.

Getting started is easy. On the PremiumBeat homepage, click the big gold “Start Your Search” button, and you’ll go straight to the library. Once you’re there, you can begin filtering our tracks without even supplying a search keyword. Just look at the filters on the left side of the page, and turn them off and on as it suits you. Looking for a particular mood? With vocals? You’re three clicks away from your perfect track.

Here’s the full list of the available search filters at PremiumBeat:

  • Genre
  • Mood
  • Beats per minute
  • Duration
  • Artist
  • Instruments
  • Advanced (surround, stems, shorts, loops, PRO-free, available with subscription, instrumental-only)

And while you’re there, check out our newest filter: Vocals.

At AudioJungle, you can also filter by genre or mood, and they include several other filters you can access once you’ve entered a search term on the main page.

  • Tags
  • Price
  • Sales
  • Date
  • Length
  • Vocals
  • Tempo

Filters are incredibly useful, which is why you see the different royalty free music platforms experimenting with which filters they offer. Only trial-and-error will help you determine which set works best for you, so start searching, and try out a few filters you weren’t considering. Who knows, but you may find something that surprises you.

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4. Music Quality

Quality means different things to different people, so how can it help you compare one royalty free music platform to another? Learning how these platforms define quality and how they try to bring it to their libraries can give you a sense, not only of how they like to do business, but also what kind of relationships they want to cultivate with their users.

For us, at PremiumBeat, quality refers to the lifecycle of a track in our music library, and what we’re willing to do behind-the-scenes to actually curate music that real creators want to use in their work. For us, quality is an issue of relevance—is our work relevant to your work in such a way that we can partner up for the long term? Obviously, we’re a business, so we’re always looking for long-term user relationships. But, beyond that, this is what we do, and we want to do it right. Otherwise, why bother? There are plenty of other things to do.

Like we said earlier, our thing is exclusivity. We’re picky. That was the decision we made back in 2005, and we’ve stuck to it. The size and popularity of our library after all this time speaks for itself. We don’t let songs in that we wouldn’t use ourselves, and by “we,” we’re referring to the music industry professionals that we recruited back when we were first getting started.

To this day, our acquisitions team listens to every track that comes through our doors. Naturally, we reject more than we accept, but those tracks that show potential have to go through additional checks. Three different team members must agree on each track before we’ll consider acquiring it for the library. Once we do, the team begins working with the artist to optimize the shorts, loops, and stems so you can customize your music and create something true to your vision. We start carefully considering and researching the metadata that we apply to the track, so it’s easier for you to find it in the library, and then we make sure you get a chance to see the newest tracks on our landing pages.

As our library grows, we create more and more collections to bring you related options with only a simple click. Our World Music genre is a good example. It features tracks from twenty different countries, meaning you can hear music you might never have considered and bring a global perspective to your projects.

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5. Industry Expertise

The last thing we think you should consider when choosing which royalty free music platform to use is who’s running it? We’ve already talked about the meteoric rise of royalty free music as a niche market in the content creation world, and with more and more content appearing every day, the storm shows no sign of abating. A great deal of content on the web is instructional—it’s about how to make your own content. This just goes to show you that the content community is developing sub-trends that have grown out of the larger content trend. Layers upon layers.

In a developing content world as complex as this, you want to know that your equipment, your applications, your crew, your talent, and (yes) even your music all come from the industry. Inauthentic assets mean inauthentic content. Do the curators behind your library of choice know what sounds cheesy? Do they know when a track will overpower a scene? Have they ever been up all night getting one scene in a crowded apartment with little space to move and only the barest equipment?

At PremiumBeat, we’re content creators, too. You can see for yourself—we’ve put the time in, capturing shots in a backyard with creative solutions to bring tutorials to our YouTube channel. Click through any of our videos, and you’ll see in the metadata that we use our own tracks. If you hear something you like, go grab it! Part of what we’re doing is showing what you can do with our music.

Beyond this, you can see our passion for content creation over at our popular blog The Beat. Whether it’s gear, tutorials, interviews, reviews, audio, screenwriting, film theory, or even just rumors, we’re working in the content trenches every day, and we have been for years. There are thousands of posts archived on the blog, so whatever you need help with, we’ve covered it. Even if you never license a single track, we still want to offer tips, tricks, and advice to help you navigate the ever-developing world of digital video creation.

Go have a look. You never know what you’re going to find, but you know you’ll find it by some fellow creators. And, when you’re finished, go listen to some tunes at PremiumBeat. If you don’t need any right now, that’s cool—we’d just love the chance to prove that we can walk the walk.

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Check out our favorite curated music collections for your next creative project:

And, visit The Beat for some truly inspiring music and filmmaking tips and advice: