Open Music and the Open Movement

Open Music is music that is freely accessible under open licenses without any copyright restriction. This means music that can be freely accessible by all to be used under the specific conditions of the licenses they are released under. In a bid to promote the use of Open Music to both creators and their audiences, Free Knowledge Africa encourages the use of Open Music. Free Music Archive is one of many platforms where Open licensed music could be gotten.

The Free Music Archive (FMA), founded in 2009 with the purpose of creating sustainable venues and systems in support of independent producers sharing original music online, provides free access to open licensed, original music by independent musicians from around the world.

How GLAMS and content creators can use Open Music

‘Free’ does not imply that you are free to use, edit, or build upon any song without restriction. Most of the music licenses available on FMA are Creative Commons licenses. FMA tunes have appeared in various videos, podcasts, films, games, applications, advertisements, documentaries, and more.

A music license is an agreement between the music’s author and/or rights holder and the user who wants to use the original music in a certain environment, for a specific purpose, and in a specific way.

You can use CC-licensed items as long as you adhere to the license terms. Attribution is a requirement for all Creative Commons licenses. A good credit contains the song’s name, the artist’s name, the source from which it was obtained, and the license information for others to find.

Creative Commons (CC) Licenses

There are 6 major Creative Commons licenses and the Public Domain Dedication. These licenses are a set of standardized permissions that allow creators to easily share their work with others while retaining certain rights.

1. Attribution (CC BY)

This license allows others to distribute, remix, adapt, and build upon the original work, even commercially, as long as they give credit to the original creator.

2. Attribution-ShareAlike (CC BY-SA)

This license permits others to remix, adapt, and build upon the original work, even commercially. However, any derivative works must be shared under the same license, ensuring that subsequent creations continue to be openly licensed.

3. Attribution-NoDerivs (CC BY-ND)

With this license, others are allowed to redistribute the original work, even commercially, but they cannot modify it in any way. This license is suitable for situations where the integrity of the original work should be maintained.

4. Attribution-NonCommercial (CC BY-NC)

This license allows others to remix, adapt, and build upon the original work, but only for non-commercial purposes. Any derivative works must also be non-commercial in nature.

5. Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike (CC BY-NC-SA)

This license permits others to remix, adapt, and build upon the original work, but only for non-commercial purposes. Any derivative works must be shared under the same license.

6. Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs (CC BY-NC-ND)

This is the most restrictive Creative Commons license. It allows others to download and share the original work, but they cannot modify it or use it commercially. This license is often used when the creator wants to maintain strict control over their work.

7. Public Domain (CC0)

This license is also known as CC Zero which is a public domain dedication tool that allows creators to give up copyright of their works and dedicate them to the public domain. This license allows others to use, reuse, remix, modify and build upon these works without any condition.

To learn more about the Creative common Licenses and how to use them, you can watch a comprehensive video on the CC licenses here

How to Attribute

(This is a template of how to Attribute a Song gotten from Free Music Archive)

Title: Single Steps

Author: Ketsa /

Source: Free Music Archive /

License: CC BY-NC-ND /


Single Steps by Ketsa, from the Free Music Archive, CC BY-NC-ND

Benefits of Open Music on the Open Movement

  1. Open Music allows for a widespread access to diverse musical contents and allows these sounds reach a broader audience to enjoy a variety of genres, styles and artists.
  2. Open Music contributes to the global awareness and appreciation of various cultural expressions. From traditional to regional music, Open access to these sounds enables preservation of cultural diversity and sharing.
  3. Open Music encourages collaborations between artists and allows for remix culture. It allows other artists to remix, recreate and build upon existing music thereby promoting innovation.
  4. Open Music provides a platform for independent and emerging artists to gain exposure and reach a wider audience. It helps them build a fan base without the need for extensive marketing.
  5. Open Music promotes a sense of responsibility and ethical conduct within the music community by respecting licensing agreements.

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Creative Commons License
Except where otherwise noted, the content on this site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.