Best Royalty-Free Stock Video, Photo, and Music Library (2021)
As a content creator, you may want to incorporate stock videos, images, or music into your projects. Using stock media is often the perfect solution to convey a narrative, give your project a professional edge, or establish a specific mood. Even better, downloading stock footage or music can save you time and money, as you don't have to create the content yourself.
Whether you want to create a multimedia project for your business, social media platforms, or personal use, using the correct library is vital. Not many websites offer free and high-quality videos, photos, and music all in one place. If you want to include images, sound clips, and footage but don't have a trusted source of stock elements, you may find yourself subscribing to multiple plans.
Understanding the difference between public domain (free) and royalty-free content is also essential when selecting a stock media platform. After creating videos, music, or images, creators often upload the content to a hosting platform, where the public can use it for free.
In this case, the content is free, but a Creative Commons license applies, which means that the stock footage, music, or image is not available for commercial use. On the other hand, royalty-free stock photos, videos, and music are available for commercial use, but you need to pay to access these assets.
Depending on the platform, you may need to make a one-off or monthly payment to access the royalty-free stock music or video. In this case, music license or per-view payments to the original owner are not necessary.
Avoid free stock asset sites if you want to create monetizable content, such as an advertisement for your business or a video for your YouTube channel. Using this media can result in copyright infringement and unnecessary costs.
Let's take an in-depth look at the best free stock video, music, and photo libraries.
- 5 Best Stock Music, Photo, and Video Websites
- Best Source for Stock Libraries - PowerDirector
- Getty Images
- CyberLink PowerDirector
- Get the Best Royalty-Free Stock Photos, Videos, and Music
5 Best Stock Music, Photo, and Video Websites
Best Source for Stock Libraries - PowerDirector
CyberLink PowerDirector is a full-feature video creator and editor you can use to create high-quality video content. Along with professional video editing features, this software also offers access to content from two top-tier royalty-free stock media libraries: Shutterstock and iStock by Getty Images. At $5.83 per month, a PowerDirector subscription offers unbeatable value.
Unlock access to over 8,000,000 videos, photos, and music tracks with unlimited downloads.
Do you need a photo and audio editor? Get CyberLink Director Suite 365 for $10.83 per month. It's the complete package for all your creative projects.
Reasons to Use
- Wide range of stock music, videos, and images
- Search bar with filter function
- Licensing that meets most platforms' guidelines
Shutterstock is a website that sells images, video footage, and sound clips for creative and commercial use. Artists and content creators looking to sell their creations upload their stock media to the website, where people like you can find, buy, and download it for commercial use.
The site also offers free samples of video clips, images, and audio clips, but you need to pay for higher quality stock media to use it. Fees vary significantly, and Shutterstock has various pricing plans with options ranging from a one-off payment for single users to ongoing team access.
A vast array of royalty-free content is the most significant advantage of Shutterstock over most other stock libraries, and their search tool and filter function make it easy to browse thousands of files to find the perfect media for your project.
All Shutterstock images, videos, and music come with licensing that meets most creative hosting platform and website guidelines. For example, if you create videos for YouTube, your content will pass the scans for copyrighted tracks and videos.
If you are interested in using Shutterstock media, you can save on fees via PowerDirector 365. You'll gain access to iStock content for just $5.83 per month.
Reasons to Use
- Straightforward pricing and licensing
- User-friendly website with search function
- High-quality stock assets
iStock ranks among the top stock libraries when it comes to content variety and exclusivity. You can choose from millions of stock media files, including images, videos, and sounds produced by professional content creators that work exclusively with iStock.
Every stock asset on the website has multiple resolution options, which lets you optimize the quality of your project. Licensing is simple, and you can legally and commercially use stock assets multiple times and in any project for as long as you live.
iStock offers straightforward pricing with only two price points per media category, but you can also get access to iStock content with PowerDirector 365 for $5.83 per month. It is the best and least expensive way to get your hands on iStock images, videos, and sound clips.
3. Getty Images
Reasons to Use
- User-friendly interface
- Great reputation
- High-quality stock media
Getty Images is one of the most popular platforms for stock images, but the site offers royalty-free music and video collections, too. Choose from editorial and creative libraries to find the perfect stock asset for your project.
Under editorial videos, you can choose from the latest news footage, entertainment video clips, unique videos from users, and fashion footage. This section also features iconic video clips from the Getty Images editorial archive. The creative footage collection includes inclusive sports clips, virtual healthcare videos, and content from featured partners, including BBC, Universal, and Paramount.
The editorial image collections include editorial coverage photos from news, sports, and entertainment events. You can also search the creative image section using keywords to find a stock image that will enhance your project's narrative.
Getty Images music is only available with the Premium Access plans. They partnered with Epidemic Sound to create over 30,000 music tracks and around 60,000 sound effects. All Epidemic Sound music tracks have copyright clearance, but you need to subscribe to access these audio collections.
Reasons to Use
- Unlimited downloads with $30 per month membership
- Wide stock media variety
- Affordable pricing
StoryBlocks is a leading stock solution for businesses and creators. The site offers over 1.5 million high-quality royalty-free music files, images, and videos, and each media category includes several subcategories, providing a massive range of options for your project.
Under the stock video category, you can access stock footage, after-effects templates, and motion backgrounds. The stock audio section features royalty-free music for marketing, social media, and YouTube. You can also download loops and various sound effects to bring your project to life. Stock image options on StoryBlocks include high-resolution photographs, vectors, and illustrations.
The option for unlimited downloads is the most notable advantage of StoryBlocks over most other stock libraries. After subscribing to the unlimited plan, you can download as many videos, audio files, and images as you want, including HD and 4K footage. You can also download music, sound effects, illustrations, and vectors.
StoryBlocks has a basic plan as well that lets you download five HD videos per month. While this plan is not as comprehensive as the unlimited plan, it offers decent value for money, especially if you don't regularly need stock media.
Reasons to Buy
- High-quality images, videos, and sound clips
- Intuitive search engine and filter function
- Extensive stock library
Depositphotos is primarily a royalty-free image library, but you can use this platform to download high-resolution videos, editorial content, music, and special effects. The image category includes photos, vectors, and illustrations and does include a section of free pictures. However, their free images aren't exclusive, meaning any user can access them.
Depositphotos requires contributors to meet rigorous standards. For example, before a contributor can upload and sell their content, they must pass an exam and submit their files for quality checks.
Depositphotos also has impressive search functions compared to other stock libraries. While you can search stock assets by filters and keywords, which is fairly standard, you can also use picture recognition to do a reverse picture search. It's a really handy feature.
CyberLink PowerDirector 365
CyberLink PowerDirector is the video editing software of choice for thousands of professional content creators. It offers all the professional video creation and editing tools you need, including an intuitive user interface, motion graphic titles, theme templates, and video effects.
PowerDirector also gives you access to Shutterstock and iStock royalty-free content with no attribution requirements. You can download royalty-free stock media and edit it directly in the software, streamlining your workflow while saving valuable time and money.
Whether you need cinema-style visuals, music, or images, the PowerDirector stock library offers everything you need. After selecting the right media for your project, you can easily incorporate it into your project using the editor, even if you have no editing experience.
Get the Best Royalty-Free Stock Photos, Videos, and Music
When creating marketing, instructional, social media, or entertainment content, stock media can contribute significantly to your project's information or entertainment value. Adding stock music, footage, or images can help engage your audience and give your project a professional appearance.
Finding a good stock library will ensure that you can legally use the content for commercial purposes. The best platforms also provide you with a full range of media types in one place, so you don't have to waste money on multiple subscriptions.
CyberLink PowerDirector features extensive stock libraries from iStock and Shutterstock in one convenient location. This software also combines royalty-free stock media with professional video editing tools, providing you with an all-in-one video creation and editing solution.
The video editing features you get with PowerDirector include masking and blending, keyframing, background removal, motion tracking, AI object detection, AI sky replacement, and much more.
Combine these editing tools with the stock footage, photos, and music, and you have everything you need to create high-quality, engaging, and professional projects.
Download CyberLink PowerDirector today.