Finding Tracks In A Pile Of Dirt
I know how hard it can be to find high-quality vocals for your tracks. The internet is a muddy place, and I’ve personally been barraged by the never-ending stream of poor-quality content and scams. So, it’s my goal to help you bypass all of that nonsense. I’ve gone over a large amount of online sources for vocal tracks, and I’ve picked the 7 options that I like the best.
A DJ needs high-quality vocals, a large selection to choose from, and license agreements that give them the freedom to use tracks however they want. I personally think that some of these sites are better at some things than they are others, and they all compliment each other nicely. So, I suggest using multiple options from this list to maximize your options for your next big track.
I think Looperman is great for beginners. It offers a ton of content to choose from, and it doesn’t cost anything to make an account. Looperman is also pretty lenient with their license agreements. As a general rule of thumb, tracks can be freely used for any project that isn’t being pitched to producers. So, it’s perfectly fine to their samples for a gig, and they can be used for YouTube and Soundcloud.
The one thing that I don’t like about Looperman is that the quality of the tracks varies greatly, and it doesn’t allow me to hire vocalists to sing my own creations. That’s because it’s a lot like YouTube. Everyone uploads whatever they want, and there isn’t much quality control. So, I highly recommend paying close attention to each track before downloading anything, or you might end up listening to someone that sounds like a dying cat.
- Lots of royalty-free content, and you can buy rights to tracks for commercial use
- No fee for joining
- Great for beginners or making sets for a gig
- You have to sift through poor-quality uploads to find the tracks worth using
- The site isn’t as user-friendly as I’d like
Loopmasters may not provide a lot of free content, but they only allow high-quality content on their site, and their licensing agreements are all DJ-friendly. In fact, they’re one of the few sites that don’t require you to split royalties with the acapella creator.
That being said, they don’t provide entire songs in acapella. They sell tracks and voice samples in bundle packs, and the samples are only short clips of a bigger piece. That’s great for creating songs from scratch, but sometimes I just want to throw a sick beat behind someone’s vocal work.
To make up for that, they give full rights to customers when they purchase a bundle, and they have a lot of other content besides vocal tracks. In a lot of ways, they’re a great place for a DJ to get everything they need at once.
- Bundle packs give musicians a lot of content without multiple downloads
- Tons of non-vocal content
- The site is easy to navigate
- License agreements benefit the customer
- The prices aren’t very competitive
- There aren’t any full-length vocal tracks to purchase
- A monthly subscription unlocks most of the site’s features
Indaba is a little unconventional. I like to look at it as a community of musicians that just so happens to have samples available. The samples are entirely free, and they cover a lot of different genres. However, you can only use Indaba samples for personal use and contests on their site. They don’t allow users to sell work with their samples in it.
That’s not entirely a bad thing. I like the way that they give musicians a way to expose their work to major record labels, and the community is known for being helpful. They provide feedback, tips, and other bits of information that can help people make better tracks. I don’t recommend using it if you’re trying to make a song to sell, but it’s a great way to get involved with a community of like-minded people.
- It’s entirely free
- Regular contests expose the work of beginners to major record labels
- The community is extremely helpful
- Their samples can’t be used professionally
- They don’t have as much content as other free sites like Looperman
I can’t even begin to describe how great Acapellas 4U is for non-commercial uses. It has tons of acapella versions of radio edits, and it throws some user-generated content into the mix, too. It’s also completely free to use, and the owners update it frequently.
I don’t have any issues with this site, but it’s important to know a few things before you use it. I think it’s great for learning how to mix tracks, and it has a large selection, but it doesn’t allow users to sell work that contains tracks that were downloaded from it.
So, you won’t be making any money off the tracks you make with this site’s content. It’s also kind of hard to navigate. The site has been around longer than I can remember, but it hasn’t been rebuilt to meet modern standards.
- Free content
- Full-length radio edits
- The owners update it frequently
- Nothing from this site can be used to make money
- The site hasn’t kept up with the advancements in web design
Acapella Heaven isn’t a community for amateurs to find their footing on. It’s a group that is geared towards professionals, and I like that about it. It focuses on quality over quantity, too.
There isn’t a huge selection of pre-made tracks to choose from, but every track is professionally made, and a large number of genres are covered. I will note that the company has been praised by some of the biggest names in the music industry, too. I feel as if that gives it a higher level of credibility over other options.
Working with these guys is a lot different than working with other vocalists. They used to host a website with subscription fees, track bundles, and professional-quality recordings, but they’ve since moved to SoundCloud.
I don’t know why they moved to SoundCloud, but the move presents a few pros and cons of its own. For starters, it’s a much more personal experience than working with a big site.
It’s possible to contact the artists directly, and that opens up room for negotiations and possible collaboration. However, that limits the selection of tracks solely to what they’re producing on SoundCloud. The good news is that their expensive subscription fees are gone.
- High-quality tracks
- Capable of contacting the artists via Facebook or SoundCloud
- Easy to do, and licensing rights are negotiable
- Their SoundCloud move makes it harder to find them with a simple Google search. I recommend going to directly to their SoundCloud page
- A lot of their appeal came from the professionalism of their site, and that’s gone now
Beatport is a lot like Loopmasters, but they’re even more user-friendly. I really like that all of their tracks are intended for commercial use, and the site’s license agreements reflect that. They also have the most extensive library of vocal tracks in the EDM category.
Outside of their samples and tracks, they also give artists the opportunity to join huge contests. Their contests attract a lot of well-known artists, and I think it’s one of the best way for new musicians to get their foot in the door.
There are a couple of downsides to using Beatport, though. A lot of their single tracks and bundles are on the expensive end of the spectrum, and they’re mostly aimed at EDM artists. I’m also not fond of their exclusivity agreement for their contests. It lasts for as long as the contest is being held, and it prevents artists from sharing their submitted work to any other site.
I can see why they do it, but I like to show my friends my tracks, and their contests don’t allow that. Overall, I consider this the best community to get EDM samples from, and they offer some awesome opportunities to their members.
- Large selection of EDM vocal tracks
- User-friendly license agreements
- Lots of opportunities for artists to gain exposure
- Bundles are expensive sometimes
- Contests impose exclusivity clauses that prevent sharing your work outside of the contest
SoundCloud isn’t meant to be a place for producers to find vocal samples, but it works in a pinch, and the large community means that it has a lot of content to choose from.
The quality can vary between professional and amateurish, but that just means that there’s something to fit every project. It’s free to sign up for a basic account, and the higher-tier subscription fees aren’t too high at all. In fact, their most advanced tier costs less than Netflix.
The issue I have with SoundCloud is that it is heavily focused on building an audience for artists. That can be a double-edged sword.
On one hand, that gives producers the ability to communicate with artists that they’re interested in working with. However, it also means that the site doesn’t have any special licensing agreements in place that allow you to simply take a downloaded file, mash it into a track, and sell it as your own. I recommend using SoundCloud to find your next collaboration, and it can be great for personal use, but it’s important not to use any work without permission.
- The massive community produces a lot of free content
- The more artist-focused design means you can collaborate with artists you love
- Basic accounts have most features available, and the subscription fees for advanced accounts are cheap
- It’s focus on music in general gives it a much more diverse selection
- This isn’t a site to buy tracks from. It’s good for finding suitable vocalists
- The large community creates a lot of content, but not all of that content is worth listening to
- It’s less of a professional site. It’s like social media for musicians
I personally feel as if each of these sites and communities is good for a specific use. Looperman is great for finding free or cheap tracks, but it doesn’t have the consistent quality of a site built around professionalism. Beatport is a great site that I guarantee you can find something good on, but it can be expensive to work with.
Then, there are options such as Acapella 4U. Those are sites that are great for hobby work and practice, but it’s not legal to use their tracks for financial gain. All of them excel at different things, and all of them have a few cons that have to be considered.
To deal with that issue, I highly suggest planning out what you’re trying to do as a producer, and give my sections devoted to pros and cons a quick glance. That’ll allow you to quickly figure out which site is best for your current project.
For extra efficiency, bookmark my blog, or share this on your social media account to refer to later. If you’re like me, you’ll work on a large variety of projects, and it’s always good to know which source is going to be best for the job at hand.