What is Royalty Free Music?
What can I do with it?

If you need some music for a video production and you aren’t sure where to turn, you are not alone. With a watchful eye on overhead, many companies are now contracting out their video production, website development, advertisement work and other media services. To keep costs down, media production companies are using royalty free music. To increase your confidence when purchasing royalty free music, we would like to explain what it is and how you can use it!

What are some names commonly used for Background Music:
Royalty Free Music, Stock Music, Library Music

What is the difference between Stock Music, Library Music and Royalty Free Music:
Stock Music is a library of music that has been previously produced and recorded. Historically, stock music had a negative industry image as poorly produced or lower quality music. However, digital production equipment’s quality has increased exponentially. Simultaneously, production budgets have decreased. These trends have decentralized music production.

A-list producers and studio session players are creating quality music outside of the studio and selling it as stock music. Rarely are tracks 100% produced live in a studio. It is cost prohibitive and unnecessary with current digital technology. Stock music can be sold as Royalty Free music or as Rights Managed Music. I will explain more about the difference of these two catagories later.
Library Music is simply the entire collection of music that a company or website has for you the customer to browse.
Royalty Free Music is music that can be licensed for personal or professional use. You are not purchasing the song; you are purchasing the license to use the song. You pay a one time fee based on what product the music is used in. Licensing fees vary based on number of reproductions, time frame, and broadcast and film markets.

What is the difference between royalty free music and rights managed music?

  • When you are browsing a music library, you probably have a project in mind. The end product determines which license you purchase. (This is your one time fee purchased for the project you are making. (ex: Video, Podcast).
  • Royalty Free Music is sold with a onetime fee depending on the end product (number of reproductions, time frame of use or broadcast audience size). Royalty Free Music rates are typically published online at websites selling royalty free music. You can digitally download the music instantaneously once you purchase your desired licensing.
  • Rights managed music is usually a negotiated rate based on market size, time frame negotiated, products sold, broadcast market size, etc… Typically there are more limitations on this type of a contract. The negotiated rate vary and are not typically published as a one size fits all. So, you have to contact them directly for rates.

How can I Use Royalty Free Music?
There are numerous applications to Royalty Free Music:

These are some examples of non-broadcast, non-distribution licensing uses: Corporate or Non –Profit Organizations often use this music in presentations, seminars, product launches, trade shows, music –on-hold, lounge music, training videos, in-house videos, various professional meetings or youtube videos.

Some distribution licensing applications are: products that you intend to sell with music embedded within them such as a video game, CD, DVD, toy or other manufactured for sale item.

Broadcasting applications are TV commercials or productions, infomercials, radio advertising or production, film trailers or film productions.

How do I choose a license?

  • First, determine if it is for broadcast use or non-broadcast use.
  • Determine if the end product is for in-house use or mass distribution.
  • Determine if the end product will be sold or free.
  • You will need to buy the license that covers the number of estimated product reproductions, digital purchases or size of broadcast audience.
  • You must read the fine print on your licensing options based on which company you select to buy from. Each one will be a flat fee as promised but the specific details will very from one licensing agreement to another.

Why is there such a difference in Royalty Free Music Pricing?
Pricing can range from a few dollars to several hundred dollars. Remember, you are not purchasing the song. You are purchasing the license to use the song. Typically, the broader the market, the longer the time period of usage, the more reproductions, all increase the expensive of the license. You should read the specific terms of licensing before you purchase it.

Do I need to be concerned about any additional fees like PRO fees?
Typically, no, many, but not all, royalty free companies have a requirement that their composers not register their songs with performing rights organizations (PRO). This is so the purchaser doesn’t have to pay any additional fees. However, every country is different in how they collect these PRO fees. So, you will need to follow up on the PRO regulations for your country and the country your product is sold in.

What is the advantage of purchasing Royalty Free Music?
Royalty Free music is an evolution of music production. It is more accessible, higher quality and less expensive than previous licensing options.