FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
1. Is your music really free?
Yes. All of the music tracks on this website can be downloaded individually in MP3 format for free. All of the same tracks are available in the uncompressed WAV format in which they were originally produced (and which is the audio industry's standard format) for $1 (US) per track. But to reiterate, you can download the MP3s (which is a highly compressed format) for free.
2. WHAT AM I PERMITTED TO DO WITH YOUR MUSIC TRACKS?
You are allowed to use my music in any commercial or non-commercial product you create—save for the exceptions listed in what you are NOT permitted to do with my music—as long as I am given appropriate credit. All the music on this website has been made available by me under the Creative Commons License CC-BY 4.0. This license permits my music to be used (if I'm properly credited) in the following products and scenarios:
1. Videos and/or Livestreams (on YouTube, DTube, Vimeo, Twitch, Facebook, Tiktok, Instagram, or other similar site);
2. Films (Major Releases, mini-budget Documentaries, and everything in between);
3. Video Games (all kinds);
4. Podcasts (all kinds);
5. TV and/or Radio programs (syndicated or not);
6. Live Performances and Productions (theater plays, revues, etc.);
7. Audio Background for Live Events and/or Locations (formal parties, role-playing games, installations, etc.);
8. Hold/Background Music (for telephone calls, etc.);
9. Almost anything else (for exceptions, see below).
You are also allowed to adapt and/or alter my music tracks in order to accommodate them to your, or your clients', needs—for example, you may change a track's volume, modify its length, stretch it, cut it, do whatever to it—as long as I am properly credited for the use of my music (or what's left of it).
3. WHAT AM I NOT PERMITTED TO DO WITH YOUR MUSIC TRACKS?
1. You CANNOT claim (openly or inadvertently) ownership of my music. The Creative Commons License (CC-BY 4.0), under which I am licensing the use of my music, is a license of non-exclusive use; the full copyrights to the compositions and sound-recordings of all my music tracks are mine.
2. You CANNOT re-distribute my music as is or superficially modified; specifically, you CANNOT re-distribute and/or sell my music on Spotify, iTunes, Amazon, Deezer, Pandora, etc. These and similar companies do not allow you to sell music on their platforms without the exclusive rights to the music in question. I possess those exclusive rights; you do not. Anyway, I've already distributed my music on these sites and platforms.
3. You CANNOT register any of my music, in whole or in part, in any Content Identification System. This means that you CANNOT register my music, openly or inadvertently and in whole or in part, in YouTube's Content ID system, or in Facebook's, or Twitch's, or any other platform's similar system. As mentioned above, I own all the copyrights to my music; you do not. Through the Creative Commons License CC-BY 4.0, I have extended to you several non-exclusive rights to use my music. By wrongly registering my music in a Content Identification System (such as that of YouTube), you would be claiming an exclusive right, which you do not possess, to my music. The result of such an action on your part (on YouTube, for example) would be copyright strikes against everyone else who used or will use my music on the platform. Such strikes, needless to say, are a headache to resolve. Please, do not register my music in any Content ID System! By means of the Creative Commons License CC-BY 4.0, I've granted everyone a non-exclusive right to use my music (subject to the conditions in the license); as long as everyone abides by this agreement, no one will suffer a copyright strike.
4. Do I have to credit you for using your music for free?
Yes. This is a requirement under the Creative Commons License CC-BY 4.0 under which I am licensing the non-exclusive use of my music.
5. How do I properly credit you for using your music?
[Put Track Title here] by Justin Allan Arnold - https://www.ifnessfreemusic.com
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0
Where possible, the URLs should also be hyperlinks. The credit should appear in a place where the consumer can easily see the credit: for example, in the text description box of a YouTube video. Including the credit in the credit reel of a film or video is fine. Likewise, in a podcast, the credit may be spoken at the end of the recording. If you use my music in a medium where it's not possible to display or provide the appropriate credit, you must purchase a non-exclusive non-attribution license for the music. This license costs $19.99 (a separate license is needed for each unattributed track). The license is available on each track's download page.
6. If I can't properly credit you, can I still use your music in my project?
If you can't (or don't want) to credit me for the use of my music, you must purchase a non-exclusive non-attribution license ($19.99). A separate license is needed for each unattributed track. The license is available on each track's download page. (Note: a few of my music tracks have NO non-exclusive non-attribution licenses available, and thus, as per the Creative Commons License CC-BY 4.0 these tracks are licensed under: they must always be credited. To see which songs belong to this category, view this list.)
7. Can I really use your music for free in my monetized YouTube videos?
Yes, as long as I am given proper credit for my music (see above).
8. Will using your music in my YouTube videos cause copyright flags?
No. As none of my music has been uploaded by me to a Content Identification System, you should not have any problems with copyright. Unfortunately, these Content ID Systems—and their users—are far from infallible, and therefore problems do occasionally arise. You can check this list for currently known copyright issues with my music. If you have a problem that is not listed, please let me know.
9. What should I do if I do receive a copyright strike for using one of your music tracks?
To contest the copyright strike, make use of the dispute function and choose: “I have a license or written permission from the proper rights holder to use this material”. Then, in the explanation section, write that you are using the music track under a Creative Commons license, and include a link to the download page of the track (on this website) for proof. This should resolve the problem in one or two days. If the music track in question does not appear on this list of known copyright issues with my music, please inform me by email.
10. Can I download all of your music at once to avoid the hassle of downloading 200+ tracks one by one?
Yes. For $19.99, you can download all the current (but not future) mp3 music tracks available on my website. To go to purchase page, click here.
11. How can you give your music away for free and still support yourself?
It's not easy, and is only possible due to the generosity of some of the people who visit my website. These kind supporters have become patrons through Patreon, and/or have bought me a coffee, and/or have donated to me directly through PayPal. If none of these avenues of support are available to you, you can still help out a lot by spreading the word: please share on social media the link to my website (https://www.ifnessfreemusic.com) and/or the links to specific music tracks of mine.
12. Will you compose some original music for me?
Maybe. As implied in my answer to question 15, physical limitations may limit my ability to fulfill a commission expeditiously. But that notwithstanding, as a rough guideline, I charge between $200 to $400 for each minute of originally composed and produced music.
13. Is it true that you have written some books?
Yes. I am the author of two books. I've also published a collection of original sheet music.
How Cats Survived the Apocalypse by Justin Allan Arnold (available at Amazon)
[Back-cover blurb] The Earth: a lifeless, misshapen rock tumbling through space. Mars: a green paradise ruled by cats. Find out how and why from the cats themselves, when three of their most astute ambassadors cunningly respond to a galactic emperor’s inquiries. With tales inside of tales, like a feline version of A Thousand And One Nights, this whimsical, yet slyly profound science fiction fable answers the eponymous question of How Cats Survived The Apocalypse.
Vox Nihili: the Complete Edition by Justin Allan Arnold (available at Amazon)
[Back-cover blurb] VOX NIHILI ("voice of nothing") is traditionally used to signify a worthless or meaningless word—especially one produced by mistake. As the title of an unnamed protagonist's strange, rebellious, and quite possibly mad symphonic monologue, it represents the ultimately irrepressible collective voice of the alienated, downtrodden and made-to-disappear ciphers of the modern age; or then again, it might just be the apt description of a contemporary Tom O'Bedlam's mindless ramblings as he, or maybe she, stews in a padded room or prison cell. Whatever one's interpretation, VOX NIHILI is a dramatic soliloquy to the nth degree, the voice of poetry shrieking and singing in the bottomless abyss of universal nothingness.
American Fugue - 17 Jazz and Classical Fugues, Preludes and Inventions for Solo Piano [Sheet music version of my album, American Fugue] (available here)
14. Who are you? You don't have an "About" section on your website.
I'd rather let my music (or my books) speak for myself. If you must know more, here's a mini-bio that appears on the back-cover of one of my books:
Justin Allan Arnold has worked as a composer, jazz musician, assistant music history professor, salsa dance instructor, English-as-a-Foreign-Language teacher, translator, landscaper, driver, guide, and unreliable narrator.
15. Who or what is Ifness?
For most of my adult life I have struggled with two repetitive strain injuries (RSI): cubital tunnel syndrome in my left arm, and thoracic outlet syndrome in my right arm. These injuries extremely influenced and severely curtailed my performing career as a jazz musician. I have adapted to the injuries by (among other things) using foot pedals and a foot-controlled mouse to interact with my computer programs. When I first uploaded some of my original music to YouTube years ago, I presented it as being performed by a fictional jazz group named The Ifness Trio. Ifness is the name of a character in a science fiction trilogy by Jack Vance (one of my favorite authors). Ifness also, in my mind, aptly alludes to the idea of what my music might sound like if I could perform it live, unaffected by my RSI problems.
16. What are the differences in quality between the MP3 and uncompressed WAV versions of your music tracks?
The complete answer to this question is quite long and complicated. The short answer is that WAV is an audio format which contains all the audio information of the original recording, while MP3 is an audio format that highly compresses (thus "losing" or erasing some of) the audio information of the original recording.
The advantages of WAV files are:
1.) they are lossless in quality (no audio information from the original recording is missing);
2.) smooth loop points can be made from them;
3.) they are easier to edit in general; and,
4.) as a result of the above, they are the standard audio format for professional recordings and for audio/visual productions (and the format in which all of my music has been recorded).
The disadvantage of WAV files is that they are quite large. For comparison, the WAV version of my track Shakti's Urgent Return is 47.1 megabytes (MB), while the MP3 version of the same track (as can be listened to on this website) is only 2.85 MB. The free downloadable MP3 version of the track is 7.13 MB, reflecting a slightly higher quality and a slightly less compression factor.
The advantage of MP3 files is, as you've just seen, their much smaller file size.
The disadvantages of MP3 files are basically the opposite of the advantages of WAV files:
1.) the original audio recording has been compressed and some of the original audio information is missing;
2.) smooth loop points can not be made from them; and
3.) they are not as easily editable as WAV files.
Note: as indicated above, the free downloadable MP3 versions of my music tracks are different than the versions which can be listened to on my website. The downloadable versions are 320 kbps MP3s (kbps=kilobits per second): that is, the best quality MP3s available. The listenable versions on my website are 128 kbps MP3s: that is, the minimum acceptable quality MP3s. The latter versions have been used on my website to facilitate faster loading times for my webpages (specifically those pages which contain a lot of music).
For a more complete and in-depth answer to this question, see the article on this webpage.
17. What are the differences in volume of the various versions of your music?
Volume is a tricky concept, and subject to various expectations and limitations. To keep it simple, the MP3 versions of my music are generally, but not always, louder than the WAV versions (Note: beginning in the summer of 2023, I've started to produce all my tracks at the same volume, either -0.3 db or -1.0db). Why? Well, when I record my tracks (that is, the WAV version), I do so at a volume that will not be compressed when the finished tracks are uploaded to Spotify and YouTube. Spotify and YouTube (and many other platforms like Apple Music, Amazon Music, Deezer, etc.) have adopted a system of volume metering that is based on the LUFS scale. For example: on Spotify and YouTube, if a music track is louder than -14 LUFS, it will be turned down (that is, compressed and/or limited—in other words, squashed). As a result of this general volume policy, I produce my music so that each track does not (generally speaking) exceed -14 LUFS (and -1.0 db overall limit [0.0 being the maximum]). That way my music is the loudest it can be, while still being safe from being squashed and lowered in quality when it is reproduced, in isolation, on a streaming platform. Most exceptions to this policy of mine are the few tracks in my library which have multiple versions (eg. short versions, loop versions [available as free extras when the WAV version of the track in question is purchased]). Some of these tracks have been produced at a louder volume.
All the MP3 versions of my music tracks (except for those on the albums American Fugue and Ojalá, and a few odd songs here and there) have been normalized to -0.3 db, where 0.0 is the maximum loudness (that is, beyond which clipping and distortion begins). As a result, the MP3 versions are, generally speaking, louder than the WAV versions of the same track. I've chosen to do this because it seems to be the norm for how MP3s are presented on all other sites which offer royalty-free music.
Of course, when my tracks are used in your own projects, you are free to increase and/or decrease the volume as you see fit.
18. Do you have ISRC codes for your music tracks?
Yes. The ISRC code for each track can be found on the track's individual download page. You can also view all the ISRC codes here.