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YouTube shares royalty-free 'Muzak' library to help amateur film-makers

150 tracks of generic white bread manage to pick out all the clichés of background music

YouTube’s Creators program has always offered generous support to amateur and independent film-makers and its latest endeavour might be one the most useful initiatives yet: providing the public with a library of royalty-free music categorised by the emotional pushes they push.

The YouTube Audio Library includes 150 instrumental tracks that can be used “free, forever, for any creative purpose (not just YouTube videos)” and can be downloaded as 320 Kbps MP3 files. 

The songs in the library are intriguing in that they manage to be both completely generic and undeniably appealing.

YouTube's blog suggests that the song below (‘Locally Sourced’) might work for a ‘family video’ and indeed, the track’s jangly, upbeat folkishness is instantly recognisable from any number of comfortable adverts trying to sell you some new healthy snack or a bank account that ‘works for you’.

The new library is undoubtedly doing amateur filmmakers the world over a massive favour – helping them cut costs by not having to pay for music licences and also meaning less video takedowns over copyright disputes.

It’s just irritating how easily a well-timed whistled harmony manages to bypass a listener’s musical judgement and conjure images of trees and sunshine and the like.

The tracks can be sorted by mood, genre and instruments and there’s also a small selection of well-known classical numbers including Les Toreadors from Carmen, the finale of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony and Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries.