Royalty-Free Synthwave Music

Royalty-Free Synthwave Music of the Future

Synthwave music has seen a massive rise in popularity in recent years. From its nostalgic and retro-inspired sound to its modern production techniques, this genre of music has captured the hearts of millions of fans worldwide.

If you’re a music producer or aspiring musician, you might be interested in creating your own synthwave music. If not, check out our royalty-free synthwave music library, perfect for those seeking quality music without the need for production skills.

In this guide, you’ll learn about the history of synthwave music, the tools and techniques used to create it, and how to promote your music once it’s created. We’ll explore the fundamentals of creating melodies, chords, basslines, drums, atmospheric pads, and layering synth sounds to achieve the perfect sound for your track.

You’ll also learn about the process of mixing and mastering your music, as well as licensing and copyrights for royalty-free music. We’ll even delve into creating music for different media, including video games, films, and commercials.

Introduction to Synthwave Music

Synthwave is a genre of electronic music that emerged in the late 2000s and early 2010s. It is characterized by its retro-inspired sound, which draws heavily on the electronic music of the 1980s, particularly the soundtrack music of films and video games.

The synthwave sound is achieved through the use of synthesizers, drum machines, and other electronic instruments. It typically features a driving beat, soaring melodies, and atmospheric pads, all of which contribute to its distinct and evocative sound.

One of the key features of synthwave music is its focus on nostalgia. Many synthwave tracks aim to capture the feeling of a bygone era, evoking images of neon-lit cityscapes, VHS tapes, and arcade games. This nostalgia has helped to make synthwave music popular not only among electronic music fans but also among those who grew up in the 80s and have a fondness for the music of that era.

Another defining characteristic of synthwave music is its use of visual aesthetics. Many synthwave artists create music videos that are heavily influenced by the neon-soaked imagery of the 80s, featuring retro-futuristic cityscapes, vintage cars, and arcade games.

The History of Synthwave Music

Synthwave music has its roots in the electronic music of the 1970s and 80s. In the early days of electronic music, synthesizers and drum machines were new and exciting technologies that allowed musicians to create sounds and rhythms that had never been heard before.

The 80s were a particularly fruitful time for electronic music, with a wave of new artists and bands emerging that would define the sound of the decade. Groups like Depeche Mode, New Order, and Kraftwerk blended electronic sounds with pop and rock music to create a unique and distinctive sound.

It was during this time that the soundtracks to films and video games also began to incorporate electronic music. Films like Blade Runner and Tron featured iconic synth-heavy scores, while video games like OutRun and Mega Man also used electronic music to create immersive and memorable soundscapes.

The term “synthwave” itself emerged in the early 2000s as a way to describe a new wave of electronic musicians who were drawing heavily on the sounds and aesthetics of the 80s. These artists were inspired by the retro-futuristic imagery of the era, as well as the electronic sounds and rhythms that defined it.

Some of the earliest synthwave artists included Mitch Murder, Lazerhawk, and Miami Nights 1984. These musicians created music that was heavily influenced by the soundtracks to 80s films and video games, using synthesizers, drum machines, and other electronic instruments to create their own unique takes on the genre.

As the genre began to gain popularity, new artists and subgenres emerged. Some artists focused on creating music that was more dance-oriented, while others experimented with different sounds and styles.

Today, synthwave music continues to evolve and grow, with new artists and producers adding their own unique twists to the genre. While it remains firmly rooted in the sound and aesthetics of the 80s, it also incorporates modern production techniques and influences from other genres, creating a sound that is both nostalgic and forward-thinking.

Understanding the Synthesizer

A synthesizer is an electronic musical instrument that produces a wide range of sounds, from classic analog synth tones to modern digital textures. Synthesizers work by generating audio signals that are then processed and manipulated using various tools and techniques.

At their core, synthesizers consist of three main components: an oscillator, a filter, and an amplifier. The oscillator generates a waveform, which is then filtered to shape the sound’s character, and then amplified to produce the final sound.

Synthesizers can also include various other components, such as envelope generators, LFOs (low-frequency oscillators), and modulation sources like pitch bend and modulation wheels. These components allow for further control and manipulation of the sound, allowing for a virtually limitless range of sonic possibilities.

There are two main types of synthesizers: analog and digital. Analog synthesizers use analog circuits and components to generate and process sound, while digital synthesizers use digital signal processing techniques to create and manipulate sound.

Analog synthesizers are known for their warm, rich, and organic sound, thanks to the unique qualities of analog circuits and components. Digital synthesizers, on the other hand, are known for their versatility and ability to replicate a wide range of sounds and textures.

In recent years, a new type of synthesizer has emerged: the software synthesizer, also known as a virtual instrument. These synthesizers run on a computer or mobile device and use software algorithms to generate and process sound. They can replicate the sound and functionality of both analog and digital synthesizers, and often come with a wide range of presets and sound libraries to choose from.

Learning to use a synthesizer can be a complex and challenging process, but it can also be incredibly rewarding. With practice and experimentation, you can create a wide range of sounds and textures that are uniquely your own. Whether you’re a seasoned musician or just starting out, a synthesizer can be a powerful tool for creative expression and sonic exploration.

Creating Melodies and Chords

Creating melodies and chords is an essential part of music composition, and can be a challenging process for many musicians. However, with some basic knowledge and techniques, anyone can learn to create engaging and memorable melodies and chords.

When it comes to creating melodies, there are a few key principles to keep in mind. First, it’s important to choose a scale or key to work in. A scale is a series of notes that sound good together, and choosing a scale can help guide your melodic choices and ensure that your melody is harmonically coherent.

Once you have chosen a scale, you can start experimenting with different note combinations and rhythms to create your melody. Some common techniques for creating melodies include using repetition, variation, and call-and-response patterns.

Another important aspect of creating melodies is considering the overall structure of the melody. A good melody should have a clear beginning, middle, and end, with each section building on the previous one to create a cohesive and engaging musical narrative.

When it comes to creating chords, the process is often more complex. Chords are made up of three or more notes played together, and can have a significant impact on the mood and emotion of a piece of music.

One common approach to creating chords is to use chord progressions, which are sequences of chords that sound good together and create a sense of harmonic movement. There are many common chord progressions used in various genres of music, such as the I-IV-V progression in rock and blues, or the ii-V-I progression in jazz.

Another approach to creating chords is to experiment with different chord voicings, which are different ways of playing the same chord. By altering the order of the notes or adding additional notes, you can create a unique and interesting chord progression that complements your melody.

Ultimately, creating melodies and chords is a highly creative process that requires a lot of experimentation and practice. With some basic knowledge and a willingness to experiment, anyone can learn to create engaging and memorable musical compositions.

Synthwave Basslines and Drums

Basslines and drums are two essential elements in creating a great synthwave track. In this genre, the bassline provides the foundation for the song, while the drums add a driving rhythm and energy that propels the track forward.

When it comes to creating a synthwave bassline, there are a few key considerations to keep in mind. First, it’s important to choose the right sound for your bassline. Many synthwave basslines use a classic analog bass sound, often with a bit of distortion or saturation to add warmth and character.

Once you have chosen your sound, you can start experimenting with different note sequences and rhythms to create your bassline. One common approach is to use a repeating bassline pattern that provides a consistent groove throughout the track. You can also experiment with adding fills and variations to keep the bassline interesting and engaging.

In addition to the bassline, drums are another important element in creating a great synthwave track. The drums should provide a driving rhythm that complements the bassline and propels the track forward. Many synthwave tracks use classic drum machine sounds, such as the Roland TR-808 or TR-909, to create a vintage, retro feel.

When creating your drum track, it’s important to consider the overall structure and dynamics of the track. The drums should build and release tension in the song, providing energy and momentum where needed. Experiment with different rhythms, fills, and accents to create a dynamic and engaging drum track that complements the other elements of your song.

Overall, creating a great synthwave bassline and drum track requires a lot of experimentation and practice. With the right sound selection and attention to detail, you can create a driving, energetic, and memorable track that captures the essence of the synthwave genre.

Layering Synth Sounds

Layering synth sounds is a powerful technique that can add depth, richness, and complexity to your music productions. By combining multiple synth sounds together, you can create a unique and dynamic sound that stands out from the crowd.

When layering synth sounds, it’s important to consider the individual characteristics of each sound. Start by choosing a primary sound that will serve as the foundation of your layering. This sound should be strong and distinctive, with a clear sense of character and personality.

Once you have your primary sound, you can start layering additional sounds on top of it. Experiment with different timbres, textures, and frequencies to create a full and rich sound that complements the primary sound. You can also try layering sounds with different attack and decay times, creating a sense of movement and evolution in the sound.

Another important aspect of layering synth sounds is managing the stereo field. By panning different sounds left and right, you can create a sense of space and dimensionality in your music. You can also use effects such as reverb and delay to create a sense of depth and distance in the sound.

When layering synth sounds, it’s important to keep in mind the overall balance and mix of the track. Too many sounds layered on top of each other can create a muddy or cluttered sound, so it’s important to use restraint and only add sounds that contribute to the overall texture and character of the track.

Layering synth sounds is a powerful technique that can add a new dimension to your music productions. With some experimentation and practice, you can create unique and dynamic sounds that stand out from the crowd and capture the essence of the synthwave genre.

Creating Atmospheric Pads

Atmospheric pads are a key element in many synthwave tracks, providing a sense of space, depth, and ambiance to the music. These pads can create a mood and atmosphere that transports the listener to another world, and can be used to create a sense of tension, emotion, or nostalgia.

When creating atmospheric pads, it’s important to choose the right sounds. Synthesizers with a wide range of oscillator and filter options are ideal for creating complex and evolving pad sounds. Experiment with different waveforms, filter settings, and modulation options to create a unique and interesting sound.

In addition to sound selection, it’s important to consider the arrangement and structure of the pad sound. Many atmospheric pads start with a simple, sustained chord or note, and gradually evolve over time. You can experiment with adding subtle changes in pitch, filter cutoff, and modulation to create movement and interest in the sound.

Another important consideration is the use of effects. Reverb, delay, and other time-based effects can create a sense of space and depth in the sound, while modulation effects such as chorus and phaser can add movement and texture. Experiment with different combinations of effects to create the desired mood and atmosphere for your track.

When creating atmospheric pads, it’s important to keep in mind the overall mix and balance of the track. Pads can take up a lot of frequency space, so it’s important to use EQ and other processing to ensure that the pads don’t overpower the other elements of the mix. You can also use automation to adjust the level and intensity of the pad sound throughout the track, creating a sense of tension and release where needed.

Creating atmospheric pads is a key part of producing high-quality synthwave tracks. With the right sound selection, arrangement, and effects processing, you can create unique and memorable pad sounds that add depth, emotion, and atmosphere to your music productions.

Using Effects in Synthwave Music

Effects are an essential part of creating the signature sound of synthwave music. They can be used to add depth, texture, and movement to individual sounds, as well as create a sense of space and atmosphere in the overall mix. In this chapter, we’ll explore some of the most common effects used in synthwave music production.

Reverb is perhaps the most commonly used effect in synthwave music. It can be used to create a sense of space and depth, and can be applied to individual sounds or the entire mix. Plate and hall reverbs are popular choices for creating the spacious, ambient sound of synthwave music.

Delay is another popular effect in synthwave music production. It can be used to create rhythmic patterns and echoes, as well as add a sense of movement and interest to individual sounds. Tape and analog-style delays are popular choices for creating the warm, retro sound of synthwave music.

Chorus and phaser effects are commonly used in synthwave music to add texture and movement to individual sounds. These effects can create a sense of movement and evolution in the sound, adding interest and complexity to the overall mix.

Distortion and saturation effects are also commonly used in synthwave music production. These effects can add warmth, grit, and character to individual sounds, as well as create a sense of intensity and energy in the overall mix. Tube and tape-style saturation effects are popular choices for creating the warm, analog sound of synthwave music.

In addition to these effects, synthwave producers also commonly use EQ, compression, and filtering to shape the individual sounds and overall mix. EQ can be used to boost or cut specific frequencies, while compression can be used to control the dynamic range of individual sounds or the overall mix. Filtering can be used to shape the tonal characteristics of individual sounds or the overall mix, creating a sense of space and depth.

Effects are an essential part of creating the signature sound of synthwave music. With careful selection and application, they can add depth, texture, and atmosphere to your music productions, creating a unique and memorable sound that captures the essence of the synthwave genre.

Arranging Your Synthwave Track

Arrangement is a crucial aspect of creating a cohesive and engaging synthwave track. In this chapter, we’ll explore some tips and techniques for arranging your synthwave music.

First, it’s important to establish a clear structure for your track. Synthwave music often follows a traditional song structure, with verses, choruses, and a bridge or breakdown section. Determine the length of each section and establish a consistent chord progression or melody that ties everything together.

Next, consider the arrangement of individual sounds within each section. Start with the drums and bassline, which provide the rhythmic foundation for your track. Add in the lead melodies and chords, being mindful of how they interact with each other and with the rhythm section.

When arranging your synthwave track, it’s also important to create a sense of progression and evolution over time. This can be achieved through subtle changes in the chord progression, variations in the drum pattern, or the introduction of new sounds or melodies. Use effects like filtering and automation to create transitions between different sections of the track, building anticipation and excitement for what’s to come.

Another key aspect of arranging your synthwave track is creating a sense of space and atmosphere. Use effects like reverb and delay to create a sense of depth and distance, and consider using atmospheric pads and sound effects to create a sense of space and environment.

Finally, consider the overall energy and pacing of your track. Experiment with different combinations of sounds and arrangements to create a sense of tension and release, building up to a climax before settling into a resolution. Remember, your goal is to create a track that keeps your listeners engaged and interested from start to finish.

By following these tips and techniques for arranging your synthwave track, you can create a cohesive and engaging piece of music that captures the essence of the genre and keeps your listeners coming back for more.

Mixing Your Synthwave Track

Mixing is the process of balancing and adjusting the individual elements of your synthwave track to create a polished and professional sound. In this chapter, we’ll explore some tips and techniques for mixing your synthwave music.

First, start by organizing your tracks into groups. Group together similar sounds, such as all of the drum tracks or all of the lead synths, and assign them to separate channels in your mixing console or digital audio workstation (DAW). This will allow you to adjust the levels and effects for each group separately.

Next, focus on the levels of each individual track. Use a reference track or a visual frequency analyzer to guide your adjustments, ensuring that each track sits in the appropriate frequency range and doesn’t overpower other elements of the mix. Pay particular attention to the low end, as excessive bass can muddy up the mix and make it difficult to hear other sounds.

Once you have the levels balanced, it’s time to add effects like reverb, delay, and compression to give your track depth and character. Use reverb and delay to create a sense of space and atmosphere, and use compression to control the dynamics and ensure that each sound sits evenly in the mix. Experiment with different combinations of effects and settings to find the right sound for your track.

Another important aspect of mixing your synthwave track is panning. By placing sounds in different locations within the stereo field, you can create a sense of depth and width that adds to the overall impact of the track. Consider panning drums and percussion to the center, lead melodies and vocals to the center or slightly to one side, and atmospheric sounds and pads to the sides.

Finally, don’t be afraid to make use of automation to create dynamic changes in your mix over time. Use volume and effect automation to build tension and release, and create a sense of progression and evolution throughout the track.

By following these tips and techniques for mixing your synthwave track, you can create a polished and professional sound that captures the essence of the genre and leaves a lasting impression on your listeners.

Mastering Your Synthwave Track

Mastering is the final stage in the production process of your synthwave track. It involves applying a series of processing techniques to the final stereo mix in order to achieve a consistent and balanced sound across different playback systems.

The first step in mastering your synthwave track is to ensure that it is properly mixed. This means that all of the individual tracks are balanced and adjusted, and that the levels and effects are set correctly. Once you are satisfied with the mix, you can begin the mastering process.

Start by applying a high-pass filter to the mix to remove any unwanted low-frequency noise. Then, use an equalizer to adjust the frequency balance of the mix. Use a reference track or a frequency analyzer to guide your adjustments, ensuring that your mix is balanced across the entire frequency spectrum.

Next, apply compression to the mix to even out the levels and control the dynamics. This can help to make the track sound louder and more impactful, but be careful not to overdo it, as excessive compression can result in a loss of dynamic range and a squashed sound.

After compression, add some saturation or distortion to the mix to add warmth and character. This can help to bring out the harmonics of the individual sounds and create a more cohesive and unified sound.

Finally, use a limiter to set the overall level of the track and ensure that it is loud enough for commercial release without clipping or distortion. Be careful not to push the limiter too hard, as this can result in a loss of dynamic range and a compromised sound quality.

Throughout the mastering process, be sure to check your track on a variety of playback systems, including headphones, speakers, and car stereos, to ensure that it sounds consistent and balanced across all platforms.

By following these mastering techniques, you can give your synthwave track a polished and professional sound that will sound great on any playback system.

Licensing and Copyrights for Royalty-Free Music

Royalty-free music is a popular option for content creators, as it allows them to use music in their videos, podcasts, and other projects without having to pay royalties or obtain permission from the original artist or record label. However, it is important to understand the licensing and copyright requirements associated with using royalty-free music.

When you purchase a royalty-free music license, you are granted the right to use the music in your project, but you do not own the music itself. The copyright for the music remains with the original composer or publisher. This means that you cannot sell or distribute the music on its own, or use it in a way that is not covered by the license.

There are different types of royalty-free music licenses available, each with its own terms and conditions. Some licenses may allow for commercial use, while others may be limited to non-commercial use. Some licenses may also have restrictions on how the music can be used, such as prohibiting the use of the music in political or controversial content.

It is important to read and understand the terms and conditions of the license before using the music in your project. Violating the terms of the license can result in legal action and fines.

Additionally, if you are using royalty-free music in a project that will be publicly distributed, such as a video or podcast, it is important to ensure that you have the appropriate licenses for any other content used in the project, such as images, video clips, or sound effects. Using copyrighted content without permission can result in legal action and fines.

In summary, when using royalty-free music, it is important to understand the licensing and copyright requirements associated with the music. Be sure to read and understand the terms and conditions of the license before using the music in your project, and ensure that you have appropriate licenses for any other content used in the project. By following these guidelines, you can use royalty-free music legally and responsibly in your projects.

Promoting Your Synthwave Music

Promoting your music is a crucial part of being a successful artist, and this is especially true in the competitive world of synthwave music. Here are some tips for promoting your synthwave music:

  1. Create a strong brand identity: Define your unique style and aesthetic, and make sure that it is reflected in your music, social media presence, and other promotional materials.
  2. Utilize social media: Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok can be powerful tools for promoting your music. Post regular updates about your music, engage with your fans, and consider running paid social media ads to reach a wider audience.
  3. Build relationships with other artists and influencers: Collaborating with other artists and influencers in the synthwave community can help you expand your reach and gain new fans.
  4. Utilize streaming platforms: Platforms like Spotify and Bandcamp are great places to showcase your music and gain new fans. Consider offering exclusive content or early access to new releases to incentivize fans to follow you on these platforms.
  5. Play live shows: Performing live can be a great way to build a fan base and connect with your audience. Consider playing at local venues or festivals, or even organizing your own events.
  6. Submit your music for reviews and features: Contact blogs, podcasts, and online publications that cover synthwave music and submit your music for reviews and features. Positive reviews and features can help you gain exposure and credibility in the synthwave community.
  7. Offer merchandise: Consider offering merchandise such as t-shirts, posters, or stickers featuring your branding and artwork. This can be a great way to build your brand and generate additional revenue.

Remember, promoting your music is an ongoing process and requires consistent effort and engagement with your audience. By utilizing these tips and staying active in the synthwave community, you can build a strong following and establish yourself as a successful synthwave artist.

Creating Synthwave Music for Different Media

Creating synthwave music for different media can be a rewarding and challenging experience. Here are some tips for creating music that fits different media formats:

  1. Film and television: When creating music for film or television, it’s important to understand the emotional tone and pacing of the scene. Consider the mood of the scene and the emotions of the characters, and use your music to enhance and support the visuals on screen.
  2. Video games: Video games often require music that is dynamic and adaptable to different gameplay scenarios. Consider creating different variations of your tracks to accommodate different gameplay situations, such as combat or exploration.
  3. Advertising and commercials: Advertising and commercials often require music that is catchy, upbeat, and memorable. Focus on creating a strong hook or melody that will stick in the listener’s mind and make them associate the music with the product or brand.
  4. Podcasts: When creating music for podcasts, it’s important to keep the music subtle and unobtrusive. The music should complement the spoken content without distracting from it.
  5. YouTube and online videos: When creating music for YouTube and other online videos, it’s important to create music that grabs the viewer’s attention and keeps them engaged. Consider using an upbeat tempo and catchy melody to capture the listener’s attention and hold it throughout the video.
  6. Live events and performances: When creating music for live events and performances, it’s important to consider the acoustics of the venue and the type of audience that will be in attendance. Tailor your music to fit the venue and the audience to create the best possible experience.

Creating music for different media formats requires a flexible approach and a willingness to adapt to the needs of the project. By keeping these tips in mind, you can create music that fits a variety of media formats and reaches a wider audience.

The Future of Synthwave Music

The future of synthwave music is an exciting and rapidly evolving landscape. As the genre continues to gain popularity, it’s clear that there is a demand for its nostalgic yet forward-thinking sound. Here are some possible directions for the future of synthwave music:

  1. Hybridization with other genres: As with any musical genre, synthwave is not immune to cross-pollination with other styles. Some artists are already experimenting with blending synthwave with other genres such as metal, hip-hop, and even classical music. This fusion of sounds could lead to some truly unique and innovative music.
  2. Exploration of new sonic territories: While the nostalgic sound of the 80s will always be a part of synthwave’s DNA, there is room for exploration into new sonic territories. Artists may begin incorporating more futuristic sounds and production techniques, pushing the boundaries of what synthwave can sound like.
  3. Increased use of live instruments: While the synthesizer will always be the cornerstone of synthwave, some artists are beginning to incorporate live instruments such as guitars, drums, and bass into their music. This could lead to a more organic and dynamic sound for the genre.
  4. Expansion into other media: Synthwave has already made its mark in the world of film and video games, but there is potential for the genre to expand into other media such as television, commercials, and even virtual reality experiences.
  5. Globalization of the genre: While synthwave has its roots in the United States and Europe, it is starting to gain a following in other parts of the world. As more artists from different regions begin creating their own take on the genre, we could see a truly globalized synthwave movement.

Overall, the future of synthwave music is bright and full of possibilities. As the genre continues to evolve and expand, it will be exciting to see where it goes next.