Find out where to download free Acapellas
10 Ways To Find Free Acapellas Online!
Acapellas are vocal samples that can be used in DJ sets or when producing music. They are like gold dust for any DJ or producer and knowing where to find free acapellas online is essential! We've scoured the internet to create our top ten places where you can find both free and licensed acapellas! Make sure you bookmark this page so you know where to find acapellas online!
There are so many ways a DJ or producer can use acapellas, either in their DJ sets or in their productions. One of the key parts of our DJ courses is the use of acapellas and it's also an integral skill for our music production course students too. Check out this video for inspiration and if you have any questions feel free to contact us.
What are acapellas and where can I find them?
Acapella or 'A cappella' means solo singing without instrumental accompaniment. DJs and producers refer to using acapellas when talking about using recorded vocals samples without music in the background. They layer them into their DJ sets or add them to a track they are producing. Using an acapella in your DJ performance really sets the dance floor on fire and provides an instant way to remix a track. One of the best tricks in the book is to find a classic acapella of a popular song and layer it over the instrumental from a modern track and thus creating an instant remix. This style of instant remix with an acapella vocal is often referred to as a bootleg remix or a mash-up. Some DJs specialise in this skill. It's also a secret weapon to get massive play counts on your remixes. If a vocalist is already popular, take Beyonce for example and you add that vocal to your instrumental you can benefit from the shear number of people searching for Beyonce remixes and her entire fan base! Algorithms cannot detect when acapellas are used in remixes so you can often avoid your remix being taken down by Soundclouds copyright police.
Copyright Law & Acapellas
Before you use any acapella you have to understand a little bit about copyright law. Most sources to download free acapellas online are just acting as a database of files and do not offer you a license to use the acapella in any commercial way, they most likely do not even have the rights to share the file with you. Of course this hasn't stopped DJs and producers using them. You can use any acapella or sample in a live DJ set or recorded DJ set without having any issues around copyright but you are not allowed to use an acapella if your own tracks unless you have permission from the owner. Of course not every record label has the time to track down everyone using a sample of theirs so most producers turn a blind eye to the law and use them anyway, sometimes cutting them into smaller parts to avoid detection. If you want to make a track with a vocal it's best to pay for the license for an acapella or record one yourself with a singer.
Top ten ways to find acapellas online:
Youtube is a great database of acapellas and you can download them for free using a service like YoutubetoMP3. The problem with Youtube is that you don't have legal permission to use these acapella samples in any tracks you produce and the quality of youtube rips is very low. However, they are easy to use in DJ sets and live performances. You can find many acapellas on Youtube by following channels dedicated to acapellas. Try starting with Sk3pticAcapella KingAcapella and MS Project Sound. You can also get other samples from Youtube for DJ sets including radio drops, sound FX and dialogue from films. Many producers will find a famous quote from a film and use it just before the beat drops!
LSA production course graduates will be familiar with Splice. We use it because it's one of the best databases of samples on the internet and if offers an organised way to search and tag your favourite media. You pay monthly for this service and get access to a huge range of music production tools including vocal samples (acapellas). One of the best things about Splice is that it shows you the key of sample so you can make sure you mix it with an instrumental in the same key. It's really important to use acapellas harmonically.
Voclr is our favourite browser-based database for acapellas. We even reached out to them about this blog and they've given our readers a special discount code! Use the code LSAPRO19 on checkout to get a trial month with unlimited acapella downloads for only £1! Click here for their pro package details. One of the most useful features on Voclr is the unique acapella charts, making it easy to find a hit vocal fast.
Acapellas4u is one of the biggest online databases of free acapella downloads. It’s a searchable database which has new and old acapellas. The only real downside of this service is that the files themselves are mostly low quality averaging 128 kbps. On the plus side they are free and easy to find. We’re not quite sure how legal the platform is but many DJs and producers are using it and have been for many years. Just remember, if you’re looking to produce a song with an acapella you need something high quality so this might not be the best source. You should also be looking for a file that you have the rights to use and most of the popular acapellas on here are owned by the big labels, if you use them without permission you can get stung.
5. Record acapellas from vinyl records
Actually one the best ways to find an acapella that few people might have and in a high quality format is to rip it yourself from a vinyl record. Vinyl pressings often come with acapella versions as bonus tracks and many acapellas were only released on the vinyl version to encourage people to buy the records. If you go hunting in a record shop ask them if they are stocking any records with acapellas. Get yourself a record and then take it to a studio with a record player, record it digitally in a high quality format like Wav or AIFF and you'll have a gem worth keeping! We highly recommend this process because you might be lucky and find something rare. One problem with DJs and producers finding acapellas online is that they often all end up with the same material. You can be more original by recording or ripping your own.
6. Record your own with a singer
The biggest downfall of using acapellas is that you're using something that many other people have access to, it's not unique and you often can't use it in your track without paying for it or without having copyright permission from the label. If you want to produce something that completely fresh and original you should up the game and start working with real singers. You can even record yourself if you're not a singer. Dialogue from the producer is often used and also rapping which requires less voice control training. It's easy to record your own vocals at home with a mic, a soundcard and a decent DAW like Logic or Ableton. The best thing is that because you recorded it you'll own the copyright, meaning if it becomes a hit you have full ownership and more scope to make money from your music. Really big hits can also mean you earn from that acapella in remixes later in time, think how many versions of popular songs you've heard in your lifetime.
Freesound.org is an awesome website hosting a database of free sound samples that are uploaded by a community of hobbyists. You can use any sample on the website in any commercial work but it's nice to credit the person who recorded it. You can use this website to find vocals and other sounds which you might want to use in your DJ sets of music production. It's a great place to find quirky sounds too, for example what is you want a flushing toilet sound or someone lighting a cigarette, you'll find all the weird and wonderful sounds you can imagine on this site in high quality free of charge!
8. Sample Packs & Acapella Compilations
There are hundreds of companies providing sample packs both free and paid and they almost all include some amount of vocal samples or acapella samples. You even get some for free with many DAWs like Logic. Splice is one such service but there are many more including Beatport Sounds, Looperman and Loopmasters. You can often find free sample packs with a quick google search. Give it a go! Click here for a great blog from Music Radar listing some of the best free music sample download sites. You might also be able to download acapella compilations from labels like Defected for your DJ sets. Click here for an example.
9. Get permission from the record label
It's highly unlikely you'll get permission from the record label or singer of a famous acapella but if you don't ask you don't get! One of our students actually did ask Sony for permission to use an old garage acapella and actually got it, we were very surprised but it just shows you can get lucky sometimes! If you are going to ask a label for permission make sure you approach them with a very professional email and show them examples of your work. They'll want to know that the person working with their material is a professional producer.
10. Extract an acapella from a track
You can't always find the acapella you want. Not every artists releases the vocals as separate files without any other music in the background. If you can't find an acapella version of a song there is one solution, but only if you have both the instrumental version of the song with no vocal and the full version with the vocal. Using a geeky method you can extract the acapella part by cancelling out the instrumental part. Click here to find out how to do it using some free software.
If you want to learn how to use acapellas in your DJ set or learn how to use acapella in your music production with Ableton, Logic Pro or FL Studio click here to contact us.