With each passing year comes every creative’s favorite lesser-known holiday: Public Domain Day.

On January 1st, 2024, thousands of new songs and recordings hit the public domain for music producers to freely sample as they see fit. This year yields an impressive list of music and recordings, setting artists up with plenty of fresh inspiration to start the new year.

The Duke University School of Law’s Center for the Study of the Public Domain has shared a comprehensive list of the most notable recordings and songs, like James Francis’ “Can’t Give You Anything But Love, Baby” and Bessie Smith’s “Pick Pocket Blues,” among many others.

In addition to the music, a number of influential films have reached the public domain as well. Seeing as it features the original appearance of Micky Mouse, Walt Disney’s 1928 animated short film Steamboat Willie is one of the most significant, as is Charlie Chaplin’s iconic The Circus. You can peruse Duke’s full list below.


  • Animal Crackers (musical starring the Marx Brothers; book by George S. Kaufman and Morrie Ryskind and lyrics and music by Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby)
  • Mack the Knife (original German lyrics by Bertolt Brecht and music by Kurt Weill; from The Threepenny Opera)
  • Let’s Do It (Let’s Fall in Love) (Cole Porter; from the musical Paris)
  • Sonny Boy (George Gard DeSylva, Lew Brown & Ray Henderson; from the film The Singing Fool starring Al Jolson)
  • When You’re Smiling (lyrics by Mark Fisher and Joe Goodwin and music by Larry Shay)
  • Empty Bed Blues (J. C. Johnson)
  • I Wanna Be Loved By You (lyrics by Bert Kalmar and music by Herbert Stothart and Harry Ruby; from the musical Good Boy)
  • Makin’ Whoopee! (lyrics by Gus Khan and music by Walter Donaldson)
  • You’re My Necessity, You’re The Cream in My Coffee (George Gard DeSylva, Lew Brown & Ray Henderson; from the musical Hold Everything!)
  • I Can’t Give You Anything But Love, Baby (lyrics by Dorothy Fields and music by James Francis)
  • Ramona (lyrics by L. Wolfe Gilbert and music by Mabel Wayne)
  • There’s a Rainbow ‘Round My Shoulder (Al Jolson, Billy Rose, Dave Dreyer; from the film The Singing Fool)
  • Beau Koo Jack (lyrics by Walter Melros

Sound Recordings

  • Charleston (recorded by James P. Johnson)
  • Yes! We Have No Bananas (recorded by Billy Jones; Furman and Nash; Eddie Cantor; Belle Baker; The Lanin Orchestra)
  • Who’s Sorry Now (recorded by Lewis James; The Happy Six; the Original Memphis Five)
  • Down Hearted Blues (recorded by Bessie Smith; Tennessee Ten)
  • Lawdy, Lawdy Blues (recorded by Ida Cox)
  • Southern Blues and Moonshine Blues (recorded by Ma Rainey)
  • Down South Blues (recorded by Hannah Sylvester; The Virginians)
  • Wolverine Blues (recorded by the Benson Orchestra of Chicago)
  • Tin Roof Blues (recorded by the New Orleans Rhythm Kings)
  • That American Boy of Mine and Parade of the Wooden Soldiers (recorded by Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra)
  • Dipper Mouth Blues and Froggie More (recorded by King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band, featuring Louis Armstrong)
  • Bambalina (recorded by the Ray Miller Orchestra)
  • Swingin’ Down the Lane (recorded by the Isham Jones Orchestra; The Shannon Four; The Columbians)


  • Steamboat Willie and Plane Crazy (the silent version) (directed by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks)
  • The Cameraman (directed by Edward Sedgwick and Buster Keaton)
  • Lights of New York (directed by Bryan Foy; billed as “the first ‘all-talking’ picture”)
  • The Circus (directed by Charlie Chaplin)
  • The Passion of Joan of Arc (directed by Carl Theodor Dreyer)
  • The Singing Fool (directed by Lloyd Bacon; follow-up to The Jazz Singer)
  • Speedy (directed by Ted Wilde; Harold Lloyd’s last silent theatrical release)
  • In Old Arizona (“100% all talking” film featuring singing cowboys)
  • The Man Who Laughs (directed by Paul Leni; features a character who inspired the appearance of the Joker from Batman)
  • Should Married Men Go Home? (directed by Leo McCarey and James Parrott; the first Laurel and Hardy film to bill them as a team)
  • The Wind (directed by Victor Sjöström)
  • The Wedding March (directed by Erich von Stroheim)
  • The Crowd (directed by King Vidor)
  • The Last Command (directed by Josef von Sternberg; Emil Jannings won the first Academy Award for Best Actor)
  • Street Angel (directed by Frank Borzage; Janet Gaynor won the first Academy Award for Best Actress)

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