Indie Gear: Moby Relaunches Royalty-Free Music Site for Filmmakers

Matt Fried

You can now use Moby's music for free, but there's a catch -- you can't be in it for the money.

Released four years ago, taken down and now relaunched, was and is the first royalty-free music site created by a recording artist explicitly for independent filmmakers.  

With 141 soundtrack credits to his name (per IMDB), the artist currently known as Moby doesn't need more exposure in Hollywood. If he wanted to, he could just sit back and watch the royalties roll in from his widely influential and popular catalog of music. Instead, he's looking out for the indie crowd. 

After creating an account, independent, nonprofit and student filmmakers can legally download and use any one of the 161 tracks on the site for free. The catch -- they may be used only for non-commercial work. If you want to make money from your content, you'll have to pay a nominal fee, which, according to the website, will be donated to The Humane Society.

The increasingly litigious landscape of sharing video and music online has drastically changed since the inception of content ID matching systems that sleuth through every piece of data uploaded to the major hosting platforms (e.g., YouTube, SoundCloud). Similar to the CHP, this digital police force monitors the information highway, doling out its tickets in the form of takedown notices and worldwide blocks. 

Mobygratis calls attention to the notion that if artists band together without the burden of their distributors, labels and corporate behemoths, they have the ability to create a culture of fair use that advocates sharing and facilitates creation.

Do successful artists have a responsibility to give back to independent content producers? Hit the comments below with your thoughts.