Shockwave-Sound Blog and Articles
Happy Birthday To You – royalty free music? Actually, no…

Happy Birthday To You – royalty free music? Actually, no…

We got a call from a customer who was looking to buy the classic “Happy Birthday To You” song as royalty-free music. We didn’t have the track and at first both the customer and myself found it a bit odd. But I found out that in fact this track is still under copyright to two old ladies in Florida and therefore, that track cannot be purchased as royalty-free music / stock music. We would be breaking copyright if we were to offer it — even if we made our own arrangement and recording of it, because the actual composition itself is in copyright.

We have this “alternative Happy Birthday Song” instead:

Okay, it may be a bit cheesy, but if you’re making something like an electronic greeting card or just an office fun project, I think it really hits the spot. Happy Birthday!

Browse music by historical eras

Browse music by historical eras

We’re always working on improving and diversifying the ways that you can browse and search for music here at, and this week we’ve added the possibility to browse for retro music by decade.

By clicking on Suggested Production Types you can see a panel similar to the one shown here on the left. You will see various “Historical / Retro:” selections including:

1980’s: The era of the electro pop and a continuation of the “later era Disco” that was started in the 70’s. Also, soul (Motown) and AOR Rock music was prominent in this era.

1970’s: The era of Motown, Disco and Funk, when pants had flares and the Bee Gees ruled Boogie Town.

1960’s: The era of peace and love, free love and free sex, when hippies set the musical order and pop & rock music took on Beatles’esque sounds and psychedelic colors. Also prominent in this era was the Bossa Nova and smooth latin chill-out music.

1950’s: When Buddy Holly, Elvis Presley and Bill Haley & the Comets ruled the world. This was the era of the Rockabilly, along with classic Jazz sounds

1920-1940’s: This was the era of happy jazz music, Dixieland and Charleston, but also Gospel, Blues and early Hollywood type orchestral film music.

Older / History Channel etc: This is where you’ll find music that we felt would be suitable for general Historical programmes, historical documentaries, world history / heritage and so on. Much of this music is pretty “ambient” in that it would work well simply as background music to storytelling, documentary film etc.

Remember that you can Combine one of the above selections with other criteria, by using the Advanced Browse feature. For example, you can choose to browse music from the 1970’s which is also marked with having a “Happy” mood. Or, you can choose to browse music from the 1920-40’s which feature a trumpet. There are many, many such possibilities available to you from within our Advanced Browsing tool, which you can read more about here.

New ways of browsing for music at

New ways of browsing for music at

We’re very happy and excited to announce the new music browsing tool here at

Our site and music catalog has come a long way since the first beginnings back in April 2000 and it was no longer enough to simply be able to look at a music genre and see hundreds or even a thousand tracks listed in that genre. We needed to give you better ways to browse and find music by other criteria than just the genre itself, and to be able to more precisely define exactly what you’re looking for.

So we gathered a team of some 7-8 people who spent a few weeks going back over all our 10,000 tracks, listened carefully to each track and ticked various Moods/Emotions (e.g. Sad, Happy, Excited etc), Suggested Production Types (e.g. Crime TV, Underwater video, Wedding video, etc.), Prominent Instruments (e.g. Acoustic piano), Tempo-feel (e.g. “slow”), and BPM tempo (e.g. 132) for every track. It was a big job, but we had a good team of people and we finished it in about 2 weeks.

We then developed the tool you can see on the left. The 5 blue buttons represent “simple browsing”; you just click that button, select a Mood or Instrument etc., and the track listing comes up immediately. Depending on which criteria you click, the resulting track list can be just a few, or several hundred, a couple of thousand, tracks.

“Advanced Browse” is where you can really harvest the power and flexibility of our new tool. Here you can combine various criteria from all of the other “simple” options to create very accurate track listings reflecting exactly what you want. It can be something relatively simple, like “I want children’s music, it should be happy, and it should feature a xylophone”, or it can be very complex and precise, like “I want acoustic piano and violin, I want it to be sorrowful, I want it to have very slow tempo, I want it not to be classical music, and I want it to be suitable for use in drama”. The tool really gives you a lot of power, as you can combine many different types of criteria and every criteria can be negated to create a “not” out of it too. So you can look for “Smooth jazz, slow tempo, not containing saxophone”.

At the bottom of the tool, you can make a quick search, or you can get to the Advanced Search page where you can search for keywords, titles, sound effects, CD collections and more by using various search criteria to find your music.

If you encounter any problems with the browsing tool, any crashes or unexpected results, please let us know about it by using our contact form. Thanks!