If you want to include 3rd party recordings in your own audio or video recordings, particularly if you broadcast or stream them, then you must be aware of the copyright issues. Normally you require permission from the owner of the recording and you will very likely need to pay. For most commercial recordings this is likely to involve protracted negotiation and be prohibitively expensive.
Sources of Royalty-free Music
Fortunately there are a number of sources of royalty-free and sometime completely free music.
Worship Lyric Videos provides inexpensive pay-per-track video and audio files of worship songs. Normally you have to pay extra for a streaming licence, but this fee has been waived during the coronavirus crisis.
Jubilate has a large collection of music for worship, mainly of hymns. Many of these are simply a music score, but there is a separate list of lyric videos which are suitable for congregations, all available at a small cost. These are covered by the CCLI streaming licence. You should be aware that many Jubilate hymns have modernised words which may sometimes be slightly different from the traditional wording.
Resound Worship, a sister site to Jubilate, has a collection of new worship songs available under similar terms.
Engage Worship is a good resource for worship ideas and includes some hymn/song recordings which you can buy and use in online services. It’s not so easy to search for a specific song.
The Evangelical Movement of Wales has made available its collection of recorded worship songs and hymns from previous conferences for use in church services.
Chet Valley Churches has compiled a large selection of hymns on YouTube, with backgrounds and lyrics. The recordings are not public domain so you need to have a CCLI Streaming Plus licence or similar.
Public Domain Recordings
Small Church Music has a large collection of mp3 files, mainly of organ and piano recordings of public domain hymns, whose performance rights have been waived by the performer(s). The website states that these can all be used free of charge, and can be streamed.
Worship Workshop has a list of hymns and songs as mp3 files, again with performance rights waived. These can be filtered by theme and by season in the church year. There is also a useful section of resources on prayers and liturgy.
Some videos on YouTube use the Creative Commons licence which permits the content to be reused. In the video description if you click on the Show More link you will see the licence terms.
When you are searching in YouTube you have the option to apply filters to the search results. Under the Features column, look for Creative Commons. This will list just the videos that are licensed for reuse.
If you want to download a video, or just the audio from it, we recommend 4K Video Downloader. It’s free to use, and even the paid Pro version is not expensive.
YouTube Audio Library
If you just want a general backing track for your video rather than worship music, the free YouTube audio library is a great place to look.
The MusOpen library has a large range of royalty-free recordings of classical music. They are of variable quality so listen before you download.
The Open Goldberg Variations project is somewhat niche, but provides a royalty-free and very high quality performance of Bach’s Goldberg variations played on piano. It works on a name-your-own-price basis, so you can pay whatever you think is a fair price for a track.