The Best Subscription Services for Content Creators – PCMag

If you're considering starting a podcast, TikTok channel, or YouTube series, check out these creator-focused subscription services that deliver all the audio, photography, and video resources a budding star needs.
My career has taken me through an eclectic assortment of fields, and connected me with people from all walks of life. This experience includes construction, professional cooking, podcasting, and, of course, writing. I’ve been typing up geeky takes since 2009, ultimately landing a freelancing position at PCMag. This blossomed into a full-time tech analyst position in 2021, where I lend my personal insight on the matters of web hosting, streaming music, mobile apps, and video games. 
Content creation may seem simple at first glance, but it contains many potential roadblocks when you’re in the production phase. How do you splice and edit video for your start-up travel blog? Where should you scour photographs for your online newsletter? What’s the best place to find background music for a podcast? Thankfully, there are many subscription services that deliver just what you’re looking for without breaking the bank.
Naturally, the subscriptions you need depend entirely on the type of work you’re doing. Some focus on audio libraries, some focus on video, and others focus on editing. That said, a deep resource well only helps your creative endeavors. This is especially true when considering licenses and copyright. Navigating the litigious minefield that is licensing is no easy task, even for seasoned creators. As a result, you want to secure assets from accredited resources (like the ones recommended here) to avoid copyright strikes.
There’s another benefit that comes with signing up for a creator-friendly subscription service: price. If, for example, you’re early in your video essayist career, you may not want (or be able to afford) to plop down $299.99 for Apple Final Cut Pro. In that case, Adobe Premiere Pro, which costs $20.99 per month, might be a far more appealing option.
Likewise, there are also outstanding, industry-renowned services, such as Getty and Shutterstock, that provide incredible stock footage and photography catalogs at super-premium prices. Unless you’re part of a massive operation, you might want to pass on those services and go with one of our wallet-friendly recommendations.
So if you’re creating podcasts, YouTube videos, Substack think pieces, or TikTok clips, consider the following content-creator subscription services as must-have additions to your repertoire.
Best for Video Editing
Premiere Pro is an industry-standard software package that offers unmatched video editing tools. Adobe continually streamlines and improves the app, with this latest version delivering even better file importing and exporting capabilities, as well as Frame.io integration. It also ties into Adobe’s Creative Cloud suite, which means you can tap After Effects, Audition, and Photoshop for your project. Even without these recent enhancements, Premier Pro would still be a juggernaut that lets you professionally edit high-definition video.
Best for Generous Licensing Rules
Looking to add professional-quality audio to a project? Check out Artlist, which offers more than 12,000 royalty-free music and sound effects. It has an intuitive and accessible search system that lets you easily filter content by genre, instrument, or mood, so you can quickly find what you need. In addition, you can preview a track’s waveform or explore its many versions (such as a vocal track or instrumental) before signing up. Artlist also has generous licensing rules for its Creator Pro subscription tier, letting you use tracks even after your subscription expires. Unfortunately, Artlist lacks Android and iOS apps, as well as stems (which may be troublesome if you want access to a track’s individual audio components). Still, a basic Artlist license covers using the supplied audio in podcasts, as well as posting the sounds to a single channel on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, and YouTube. For multiple channels or client work, the Creator Pro and higher tier subscriptions have what you need.
Best for Digital Audio Workstation Users
Available for Mac and PC, Avid Pro Tools is a robust digital audio workstation (DAW) that offers a highly customizable UI, impressive audio format compatibility, easy importing and exporting, and broad hardware compatibility. When it comes to audio recording, mixing and mastering, you’d be hard pressed to find a better subscription-based DAW. It excels in a professional environment, giving you all the tools you need to manage and move a steady pipeline of audio projects.
Best for Royalty-Free Music and Sound FX
Epidemic Sound has an expansive audio catalog (more than 35,000 royalty-free music tracks and 90,000 sound effects), but it has a few unique features that make it stand out from its competitors. For example, you can download a track’s stems (the individual vocal and music components) if you want to use a specific element. In addition, Epidemic Sound’s recommendation system lets you highlight specific song sections, so that the service unearths similar-sounding songs. Lastly, Epidemic Sound has Android and iOS apps if you want to create content on the go. A subscription gives you the right to use Epidemic Sound’s audio in podcasts, as well as one channel per social media platform (Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitch, and YouTube).
Best for Stock Photography and Video
An expansive collection of photographs, video footage, and sound effects make Motion Array a one-stop shop for all your video post-production needs. You can search for footage based on a theme or feel you need for a project, and filter your searches to find the perfect slideshow, intro, logo, or transition. You can filter by resolution (2K, 4K, and 5K+) and orientation (horizontal, vertical, or square). The service also has a sizeable stock image section packed with animal, fashion, travel, and urban photography. Motion Array isn’t just a massive resource of more than 500,000 assets; it’s an active community where you can make requests, too. Most of the service’s assets are designed for commercial use, with a small number of photography and video files meant exclusively for editorial purposes.
Best for Hollywood-Quality Stock Video
The company behind Artlist also has an excellent video footage resource. Artgrid’s video quality and production are top-notch offerings that deliver an impressive cinematic touch. Its video library includes drone, close-up, and slow-motion footage. Many Artgrid videos have multiple related camera shots, so you can easily grab a series of similar shots for your project. Higher-tier subscriptions open the door to high-quality RAW/LOG footage. Artgrid’s licenses carry across “all platforms” and support YouTube monetization.
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My career has taken me through an eclectic assortment of fields, and connected me with people from all walks of life. This experience includes construction, professional cooking, podcasting, and, of course, writing. I’ve been typing up geeky takes since 2009, ultimately landing a freelancing position at PCMag. This blossomed into a full-time tech analyst position in 2021, where I lend my personal insight on the matters of web hosting, streaming music, mobile apps, and video games. 
Read Gabriel’s full bio
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