Home > Kevin MacLeod, King of Royalty-free Music

Kevin MacLeod, King of Royalty-free Music

Photo credit Tomasz Werner / Kickstarter

If you’ve been to an indie film fest, you’ve probably seen Kevin MacLeod in the credits. Or maybe you’ve heard his music in a cute cat video, or a Minecraft video, or in a department store, cab ride, or on hold. By writing an enormous amount of music and giving it away for free, Kevin has built his reputation as the single biggest royalty-free music composer. In this episode of Composer Quest, I ask Kevin about his creative process and business model:

  • How do you balance musical inventiveness with keeping the music palatable and background-y?
  • Would your philosophy of giving away music change if you weren’t on the top of Google searches for “royalty-free music”?
  • When did ukulele and glockenspiel become the go-to instruments for every commercial?
  • How are you able to make 30-minute long tracks in 10 minutes?

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Right click to download Ep. 128, or open in iTunes.

The question of the week is: Is music worthless if no one hears it? Chime in on the forum.

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Episode Soundtrack

Here are Kevin MacLeod’s stock library tracks featured in this episode:

  • 0:00 – The Curtain Rises
  • 0:22 – Monkeys Spinning Monkeys
  • 4:10 – Quirky Dog (humorous)
  • 8:50 – Rumination (Kevin’s “most unpopular” track)
  • 10:42 – Music for Funeral Home – Part 1
  • 12:04 – Meanwhile in Bavaria (polka)
  • 15:13 – Allada (African drumming)
  • 17:38 – Aurea Carmina (funk)
  • 27:41 – Life of Riley (commercial ukulele and glockenspiel)
  • 40:57 – Almost in F (unusual tuning)
  • 53:04 – Hyperfun (ragtime)


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