Are you shopping around for the right music licensing partner? There’s a lot of options out there, and different users have different needs.
Here at Marmoset, we’d like to be everything to everyone. Our customers range from ad agencies and film studios to YouTubers and podcasters who are using our new Track Club music licensing subscription platform for high-volume video and audio content creators.
Nevertheless, we know you might have different needs or priorities, and we want to make sure you have all you need to make an informed choice, so we’ve put together a list of the top Marmoset competitors. We’re comparing key variables like music selection, amount of quality music, licensing options, transparency and customization features.
You’re reading this on the Marmoset Journal, and while we’ll try to be objective, these comparisons are obviously bound to be a bit biased. If you’re looking for a non-biased list, check out Filmmaker Freedom’s list of music licensing partners.
Without further ado, let’s take a look!
The amount of music and quality of music are two of the most important things to consider when choosing a music licensing partner. Here we’re looking at the size, quality, and ease of navigation through these catalogs.
- Marmoset and Track Club
- Marmoset has over 35,000 songs in our catalog, which are meticulously curated and perpetually refined. It might surprise you, but we believe a higher quality catalog is better than a bigger catalog.
- Marmoset and Track Club both use the same Smart Filter system, which allows users to sort songs by vocals, mood, energy, length, instruments, genres and if the song is customizable or not. We also famously use our trademarked ARC filter, which shows the crescendo or build throughout the song, visually represented by a line graph. This allows you to find the right song for your project quickly.
- As detailed in this Marmoset Journal article written by our CEO and Founder Ryan Wines, at both Marmoset and Track Club, we spend significant internal time and resources twice a year doing something we call “The 10% Curation Event.” In this, we carefully evaluate the performance of every song in our catalog, removing the worst performing 10%. That’s right – we strategically reduce the size of our catalog twice a year, purely to make it a better experience for our users, who are looking for the best music they can find. We’re also very selective about the new music we add to our roster.
- Musicbed doesn’t report the size of their library, but as an older music licensing site that’s been updating it’s library for over a decade, they likely have at least 10k songs. While we haven’t had a chance to listen to their entire library, they have a variety of genres represented.
- Musicbed has filters for genre, mood, attributes and instrument, so you can get pretty specific with the kind of music you want.
- Artlist has over 12,000 songs in their catalog, adding about 150 new songs each month. They have fewer genres represented than Musicbed, but of their top downloaded content (mostly pop, rock and cinematic music), we liked what we heard.
- Artlist.io has filters for mood, video theme, genre, instrument, vocal & instrument, BMP and duration. We were a bit confused by the two “instrument” filters, and aren’t sure why the second isn’t just called “vocals.”
- Epidemic Sound
- Founded in 2009, Epidemic Sound has one of the largest libraries of any of the music licensing companies we looked at, with over 30,000 songs to choose from.
- Epidemic Sound sorts their library by featured, genres, moods and themes, with a heavy emphasis on playlists.
- With a library as big as Epidemic Sound’s, we worry that their filters are a little vague, which leads to users having to listen through hours of music to find what they need.
- Soundstripe has somewhere over 7,000 songs, making it one of the smaller libraries we came across, though they do commit to adding 200 songs each month, so that number is likely to increase.
- While Soundstripe has a lot of themed playlists, they don’t have much in terms of filtering options, so you may need to browse through quite a few to find what you’re looking for.
- Soundstripe notes that they have Grammy-winning producers selecting the songs in their library, so we assume its high quality.
- PremiumBeat has over 21,000 songs, which are categorized by genre, mood, BPM, song duration and artists. They have over 100 subgenres, which gives you plenty of filters to sort through and find what you’re looking for. With 21,000 songs, we imagine those filters come in handy.
- PremiumBeat doesn’t accept all submitted music, so there is likely some degree of a selection process.
Music Licensing Options & Pricing
Music licensing options and pricing can be confusing, and each company has a slightly different business model and takes a different approach to breaking down its options. Here we’ll take a look at subscriptions and single-license purchasing options, as well as compare pricing and how much music each option gives you access to.
- Marmoset and Track Club
- Marmoset offers both single-license options and subscription plans through our new app, Track Club. Subscriptions give users unlimited access to Track Club’s music and are based on a series of factors detailed on our pricing page. Individual subscriptions start at $18.00 a month or $144.00 a year if paid annually, which gives users a 20% discount if paid annually. A Business plan is $58.00 billed monthly, or $465 a year, which is also a 20% discount.
- Track Club users are also able to browse the full library, use MixLab, and even download tracks without a subscription, using the Test Drive plan. Users on this plan are not able to upload or monetize content with Track Club songs.
- Marmoset’s single-song licenses vary in price, starting at $69.00.
- Musicbed has options for both single-license purchases and ongoing subscriptions. Their single-use option does not include monetization, but their subscription model, which is renewed annually, includes unlimited music and monetization options. Subscriptions give users unlimited licensing access to Musicbed’s music library.
- The pricing for their single-use options starts at $59.00, and varies based on use. Pricing for their subscription plans starts at $79.99. This is on the higher side of the subscription options we reviewed. They also seem to have quite a few subscription options depending on the kind of content you produce and how many people work at your organization. You’re not able to review all the plans at once, which makes it difficult to determine your options.
- Artlist.io only offers subscription plans, so you aren’t able to purchase single-use licenses from them. Subscription plans give users unlimited licensing access to Artlist.io’s music and sound effects library.
- They have three subscription plans, starting at $9.99 billed annually (or $15.00 billed monthly) for a personal plan, which includes use on social media only, and only covers one channel per platform. The unlimited plan offers more options, but is only available for annual billing at $16.00 a month.
- Artlist.io offers the least expensive plans we found, but can be limited in their coverage and payment flexibility.
- Epidemic Sound
- Epidemic Sound emphasizes their subscription plans, but you are able to purchase a single track license from them as well. Subscriptions give users unlimited licensing access to Epidemics library of music and sound effects.
- Single track licenses start at $99.00, and their subscription plans start at $12.00 a month paid annually (or $15.00 billed monthly) and go up to $25.00 a month paid annually (or $49.00 billed monthly) for commercial use.
- Soundstripe only offers subscriptions and does not currently have options to purchase a single-song license. Subscriptions give users unlimited licensing access to Soundstripe’s music.
- Their subscriptions start at $12.50 a month billed annually (or $19.00 billed monthly) and increase not based on size or use, but on inclusion of sound effects and stock video options as well. For $33.00 a month billed annually (or $55.00 billed monthly) users can access their full library, including music, sound effects and video.
- PremiumBeat offers both subscription plans and options to purchase single-song licenses. Subscriptions start at 64.95/ a month for a minimum three month commitment, which gives users 5 tracks every month. PremiumBeat was the only option we found that only guarantees access to 5 tracks a month- all other options offered unlimited library access.
- PremiumBeat’s single-use license start at $49.
Purpose & Transparency
In an industry as cutthroat as the music business, it’s important to look at how each company contributes to their community, compensates the artists on their roster, and what they share about their business practices.
Spoiler alert: we were a little disappointed in the lack of information our competitors have easily available. Here’s a look at how transparent each company is what we were able to find.
- Marmoset and Track Club
- Marmoset is the only Certified B Corp in the music licensing industry, and the only music licensing company donating 10% of our profits to community investment initiatives.
- Marmoset is also the only music licensing company that publishes an annual Transparency Report, which breaks down how every dollar that is spent with us is distributed among our community. The report also highlights our DEI initiatives as an organization. Some highlights include:
- Since 2017, our artists have made $22,993,956.60. In 2021, the total artist payout was $4,502,798.00.
- Since 2016, we’ve contributed $422,640.51 in community investments to organizations like Black Resilience Fund, National Independant Venue Association (Save OurStages), Causa Worker Relief Fund, Kairos PDX, Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon, National Queer and Trans Therapists of Color Network, Outside In, Basic Rights Oregon, Imagine Black, Portland in Color, Women’s Audio Mission and Techqueria.
- In 2021 alone, we contributed $122,011.53 to community organizations.
- Musicbed reports donating “millions to charities every year,” and also reports having paid out $100,000,000 to artists since the company was founded, and they offer discounted pricing to nonprofit organizations.
- Donating millions to charities is a big claim, and we weren’t able to find details on any precise numbers for how much they donate, and to whom. We’d love to see more transparency around their artist payment model, who they donate to, and how they practice DEI within their organization.
- Artlist doesn’t report on any donations or DEI initiatives within their organization publicly.
- Artists are paid each time a song is downloaded from the site. In an interview with the LA Times, it was reported that some artists have earned tens of thousands of dollars licensing songs through Artlist.io’s catalog. As with Musicbed, we’d love to see more transparency around their artist payment model, who they donate to, and how they practice DEI within their organization.
- Epidemic Sound
- Epidemic Sound splits all digital royalties and streaming revenue with artists 50/50, even if they’re no longer working with Epidemic Sound, but does not pay out artists from their subscription revenue. Artists also receive a share of the companies $1,000,000 yearly Soundtrack bonus, proportional to the performance the artists tracks in their player.
- They offered free licenses for healthcare and nonprofit organizations working to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. We were unable to identify if this remains ongoing.
- We’d love to see more transparency around who they donate to, and how they practice DEI within their organization.
- Soundstripe reported paying over $2.5 million to their artists in 2020, including their in-house producers and 75 unique artists who they source music from.
- We weren’t able to find much more information on their artist payment model, who they donate to, and how they practice DEI within their organization.
- Premiumbeat exclusively buys out the rights to music submitted to their platform, so once the initial purchase is complete, artists do not receive royalties on licenses. We imagine this payment varies depending on the tracks submitted.
- As with the other organizations listed here, we’d love to see more transparency around who they donate to, and how they practice DEI within their organization.
The ability to customize tracks to fit perfectly within a video or audio segment can help bring your song use from good to great. Here we’ll take a look at stem availability and customization options for each company.
- Marmoset and Track Club
- Stems are available for much of Marmoset’s catalog. If you’re looking for songs with stems, you can use the “customizable” filter on the Marmoset Browse page, or, you can also write to us to check if we have stems for a particular song you like.
- Track Club, Marmoset’s music licensing subscription app, has 100% customizable songs, meaning stems are available for every track on Track Club. What’s more, Track Club is the only music licensing subscription service that includes an in-app song customizer, called MixLab, which allows you to edit the volume of any stem in your song of choice. This allows you to create the perfect song for your project right within the app, without you needing to purchase an entirely separate DAW for editing.
- Musicbed doesn’t require artists to upload stems, though they say they do have access to stems for some songs. In order to obtain stems, users need to reach out to Musicbed to inquire about availability.
- There are no options to customize the stems within Musicbed’s interface- you have to download the stems and upload them to your own DAW to make any changes.
- Artlist.io does not currently offer access to stems. They do include shortened versions of their tracks, or “cutdowns” in their licensing options, but you’re unable to customize the songs further.
- Epidemic Sound
- Epidemic Sound offers stems for all of their songs, and offers them in four categories, including drums, bass, instrument and melody. You can either download a full track or each stem separately.
- There are no options to customize the stems within Epidemic Sound’s interface- you have to download the stems and upload them to your own DAW to make any changes.
- Soundstripe offers stems for each track in their library, and offers cutdowns of tracks as well.
- Like the other options listed above, there are no options to customize the stems within Soundstripe’s interface- you have to download the stems and upload them to your own DAW to make any changes.
- PremiumBeat offers stems for “most” of the songs in their library. But again, like the other options listed above, there are no options to customize the stems within Soundstripe’s interface- you have to download the stems and upload them to your own DAW to make any changes.
And there you have it! We hope this article was helpful and informative. If you have questions, updates or if there is another service you’d like us to include on this list, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Click here to check out our music licensing subscription service Track Club.