How the internet’s most prolific composer makes a living by giving his music away for free

If you’ve ever sought a soundtrack for your home movies that wouldn’t get removed by YouTube, chances are you’ve come across Kevin MacLeod’s music. He’s composed thousands of original tracks, in every imaginable genre, which he gives away under a Creative Commons license, on a variety of platforms, absolutely free.

His music has been used in commercials, films, video games, and an uncountable number of YouTube videos and podcasts without any compensation. So, how does Kevin feed himself?

This week on 2 Girls 1 Podcast, Alli and Jen (actors who perform weird internet stuff on stage) untangle the livelihood of the internet’s most prolific composer and Creative Commons pioneer.

Listen to the show:

Here’s Kevin composing a score for a video game in real time on Twitch:

This week’s episode is supported by Penguin Random House Audio, which publishes thousands of award-winning audiobooks every year, including your sci-fi and fantasy favorites like Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, and Hank Green’s novels. Download Penguin Random House Audiobooks wherever you listen to your favorite audiobooks (Audible, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc.) or check out this page to browse their latest selection.

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2 Girls 1 Podcast is hosted by Allison Goldberg and Jennifer Jamula, and is produced and edited by Matt Silverman in New York City. Production assistance is provided by The Podglomerate.

Want to hear more from the Daily Dot? Check out the Upstream Podcast, tackling the week in streaming entertainment, and We’re All Gonna Die, our weekly politics roundtable.

Matt Silverman

Matt Silverman

Matt Silverman is the director of video and producer of 2 Girls 1 Podcast at the Daily Dot. He has been making internet shows and viral videos for nearly a decade, and has directed top talent including John Oliver, Kevin Bacon, Kate McKinnon, Alton Brown, and the Sesame Street Muppets. Silverman is also the creator of FREE DAD VIDEOS, a comedy and music channel with his young children.