Thanks Shawn, music from Moby might get a bit complicated for those looking to profit from their web series. My advice: Whether you're using music for commercial or non-commercial purposes, I would recommend drawing up a mutual agreement with the music licensor to prevent issues in the long run. You never know, a web series intended for non-commercial purposes could end up being monetized. Just be careful and protected.
Always protect yourself and your project. I was dropping Moby's link for those intersted, especially since he offers licenses for commercial use and the money from those licenses go straight to the humane society.
Some other easy routes are programs like Reason. I've written some decent scores on that program and I have heard that quite a few features have been scored with Reason in it's entirety.
VideoCopliot.net has some great sound libraries with effects and swishes as well as loops. They also have a great score library now. You purchase the license to use them when you purchase the collections.
Another great way to handle it is to do a work-for-hire deal with a musician or a band or what have you. Decide a flat amount to be paid for music written specifically for your project and put it all in writing. You pay them, they write music for you, you copyright and own the music to do with as you wish, and life can be a little easier. I did this on a short film contest and ended up with a great piece of music. You Tube would not allow me into a partnership deal without written proof that I owned the commercial rights to everything in that project and having the documents showing the music was a work-for-hire ended all questions immediately.
glad to be coming in after rich here cause he brushed over a major point that i didnt see. write out an agreement, or, even easier, you can use a pre-printed general release. but if its someone elses music, signed musician or not, dont just take their word. its like if youre an extra, you have to sign the release to show that you give your permission. same exact thing with music. you HAVE to get them to sign the general release so you are for sure covered.
as for making your own music, there is going to be so many different preferences. for me, the best and easiest to use for you personally. i havent tried to make a score, but i have recorded using protools and love it.
BUT if you want to use others music, check out artists on the creative commons deal. these arent all small musicians(not that thats bad). i would look into it more than just taking my word for it since i honestly just recently learned about it. in a nutshell though, its copyrighted content (not only music) that you can use for free as long as you credit the contributer. worth checking out i think.
Second in support of Reason. Especially if you can get a midi keyboard to hook into it, or run it through pro tools. Great way for decently easy/fast scoring. It's what I've turned (for the most part) since making this initial post. Other programs that I've heard good things about, but don't have much experience with: CuBase, Logic and Fruity Loops.
Good for atmospheric stuff, and most of this stuff is only as complicated as you need it to be.