Music and sound effects are one of the most important aspects of any iOS game. Without solid music and creative sound effects, a game will fall flat. More and more today mobile gamers are playing their games with headphones on or with the volume turned up. This means your game needs to have a great soundtrack and an even better SFX track.
You don’t need to pay a fortune to get great audio in your iOS game. There are more than enough free sites out there to get music that isn’t only royalty-free, but is all around free, too!
As always, make sure to read the disclaimers on all the sites listed below to see exactly how the music and sound effects can be used. Some sites allow for full use if the game is free, while others allow free use no matter what. Many sites that allow free use require attribution, meaning you have to credit the artist somewhere in your game. Remember to give credit where credit is due! At any rate, no matter what it is that you’re looking for in music or sound effects, you should be able to find it for free in at least one of the top 20 best free music and sound effect resources for games listed below.
Click the images to visit each site.
This site offers a variety of automotive sounds. While their library is not huge, the specificity of the sounds is great. If you're looking for anything automotive sound-related, this is definitely the first site you should visit.
2. Indie Game Music
This site is all about helping out indie game developers. Roald Strauss, the site’s creator, wants to help indie game designers out by offering free music for games with no strings attached.
3. Free Sound Project
The Free Sound Project is pretty much what the title says. With tons of free sound effects and ambiance sounds, this is a huge help to anyone trying to find just the right background sound to help set a mood.
Audacity isn’t a place to find music and sound effects, but rather it is a superb free, open source and cross-platform audio editor and sound recorder. With many of the features of a much more expensive piece of software, Audacity can help you edit the sound files you find, and possibly even record your own.
With over 400,000 tracks, Jamendo boasts one of the largest online repositories of free music and sound effects. Free, legal music and sound effects to download and use as you see fit, Jamendo is a lifesaver when you can’t seem to find the sound you’re looking for.
6. Flash Kit
This site has more than just audio files to offer, but click on the Sound FX category and you’ll find tons of free sounds to download and use as you want to. With categories like Ambience, Cartoon, Domestic, and Nature, the variety of sounds on this site is pretty outstanding.
7. Super Flash Bros
The Super Flash Bros website is similar to an online Theremin. With a little practice you can use this site to create your own sounds and export them as WAV files to use in your game.
8. Media College
Media College offers a mix of sounds recorded by their staff which are fully free to use in any game in any way, as long as you don’t specifically try to resell the sound itself, and user-submitted files. Check out the permissions for the user files, as only the Full Permission audio clips can be used however you want.
9. Free Sound Effects
For a site that is totally free, the organization and breadth of this site is outstanding. Sounds on this site range from war and weapons, to city sounds, to electronics, to an entire section specifically for footsteps! Free Sound Effects offers a huge library with tons of variety; great for any indie game designer looking for multiple sound clips.
10. Partners In Rhyme
The Partners in Rhyme site is split between audio clips for purchase and their free section. The free section compiles files from across the web, so make sure to pay attention to any licenses you find.
SoundCloud is a great, free website where audio creators can post their work. Depending on the license the creator places on the work, many songs can be used for free. This site does require a little attention to detail to make sure you are using the audio as the creator intended, but with the vastness of the content on SoundCloud, you should be able to find what you’re looking for. To search for Creative Commons tracks (tracks you can use for free in your games), perform a basic search on SoundCloud, and then filter the results by Sounds only. Then, filter the results again so that you can find sounds to use or modify commercially.
The audio files on SoundJay are 100% free to use as long as you don’t try to resell the audio files. The site is meant to be a resource for downloading and using the sounds found here. Categories include button sounds, human sound effects, and music tracks.
13. Special Operations
This site is all about military sound effects. With such a tight focus, Special Operations is able to offer a wide assortment of explosions, battles, gun sounds, and sirens. If you’re creating a game with a military theme, this site is for you.
With hundreds of thousands of sound clips, FreeSFX should have just the sound files you’re looking for. Make sure to check out any licenses that may be attached to files here, as some require citation to show the creator’s information.
Soundgator is a site with nice, simple sound effects. No special licenses or citations needed. Simply download the files you need and use them as you need to.
AudioMicro has over 2,000 free sound effects split into multiple categories. With a robust search feature and clickable categories, what AudioMicro lacks in library size, it gains in an ability to be searched.
17. Free Stock Music
Free Stock Music is just what the site’s name states. With thousands of free pieces of stock music, you can find just about any style you need for your game. Like many of the other sites listed, make sure to check out the licenses for any file you want to use to make sure commercial use is OK with the creator.
Soungle is a search engine for audio clips. The site only searches its own huge database of clips, so no outside sources are used. A simple, clean interface is easy to use and all files can be sampled before downloading.
With over half a million sound files as well as mobile apps for searching sound files, SoundBoard is an amazing resource that is surprisingly free. With detailed categories, a clean interface, and a desktop soundboard builder, SoundBoard is a must-have resource.
Much like many of the other sites listed, Acoustica offers 100% free sound clips. Categorized sound files are all in WAV format for a clean, uncompressed sound quality.
The resources listed above are a great place to start when trying to source music and sound effects. When you listen to TV or play a game you might notice some things like sirens and screams tend to sound the same. This is because those are free files that are available in some of the sites listed above.
Serious game designers, TV producers, and even movie sound effect crews are not against using free audio files. These sites should be the first place you look for sounds and only when you exhaust them should you try to pay for them. Use your budget wisely and your game will be able to use it in areas that are needed and not wasted where something can be found for free.