An Introduction to Licensing Music For Your Business

music in business

Music has the ability to communicate culture, direction, and mood into any event, presentation, or business space. Before you decide to bring music into your own business space, you should try to understand the dos and do nots of music licensing and how music is used in businesses today.


You’d be surprised at how many ways corporate businesses are now using music in their day to day operations and activities. Music has the ability to communicate culture, direction, and mood into any event, presentation, or business space. Before you decide to bring music into your own business space, you should try to understand the dos and do nots of music licensing and how music is used in businesses today. Here are the basics and some great resources to help get you up to speed

How You Use Music in Business

There are many ways music that music is injected into organizations and businesses that you may not be aware of. The effect that music has on shoppers in retail is outstanding, but it is not the only area where music can add value to your business.

Advertising and Promotion

If you are ever using music to sell or promote a product or service, a license will ALWAYs be required. Commercials, jingles, marketing videos , and social media all

Live Events

Most live events such as conventions, trade shows, and sponsored events require a performance license.

Internal Training and Presentations

Yes and No. It depends on how it’s being used, the frequency, and the audience size. In the end, this is an area that is up to you and comes down to cost, risk, and ease of licensing.

Even if the music stays between the walls of the company, it still represents your brand in the eyes of the employees. The easy way to decide whether or not you want to go down the licensing route is to ask yourself one question.

Does this music represent my business?

If the answer is yes, than you should keep reading and get a basic understanding of this process.


Types of Music Licenses

Public Performance Licenses

If you are ever looking to perform or broadcast a piece of music in a public, commercial setting or any public space, the public performance license is going to be needed. Concert venues, radio stations, television networks and even restaurants pay set fees for performing rights of songs. It does not matter whether the public performance is rendered by a live band, a CD, a DJ, or someone’s smartphone.

This is the music license you will be needing if you are using music in a retail space, trade show, conference, or company event.

Sync and Master Use Licenses

Using music in a video, advertisement or ANY audio visual format will usually require a synch(synchronization) license from the copyright owner of the song as well as the master use license from the owner of the song recording. A music sync license is the license granted by the composer and creator of the original piece of work and the master is the recorded track that is owned by the label or publisher.
This is the license that you will need to use the music in an audio visual piece, such as a promotional video, presentation, or commercial.

Different Types of Licensed Music

Popular (Top Billboard) Music

The most difficult and expensive licenses to acquire are those owned by major labels and popular in mainstream media. To use popular music, you must contact and negotiate directly with the music publisher for a synch license in the song AND  the record label for a master use license in the sound. The major music labels and publishers include


Be aware that licenses through these companies can run in the hundreds thousands of dollars and major publishers will sometimes provide no responses to requests.

Independent Music 

Music that is created and distributed independently by artists are likely to be less expensive than popular music, but usually are targeted toward a niche audience. Does that mean that you will still need a license to use an independent artist's work? Not necessarily but there comes a high level of risk.

Unlike music that is licensed and owned by labels and publishers, independent artist can sometimes lack the resources and funds to properly document ownership rights for the music they collaborate on. It will be then on you, the company, for drafting agreements, warranties, and indemnifications regarding music usage. This is important down the road to remove yourself from any sort of inter-band squabble or changes in ownership.

Production (Sync) Music 

Production music, or royalty free music is the most popular route for businesses of all sizes, and for good reason. Not every piece of music you heard in the Super Bowl this year was composed by the Ed Sheeran. At $5 million for 30 seconds of advertising space, brands decided it was in their best interest to utilize production music licenses to fill in background, foreground, and sound effects

  • Ease of Purchase: Production music services, like,  offer on demand licenses for music that  can fit any sort of project or event.  You can search, listen, download, and buy all the music you need without the hassle of dealing with labels or artists. 
  • OwnershipThey provide both the sync and the master use license under one blanketed Media Producer License. If you are looking for music for retail or restaurants, on hold , or an event music, we provide that as well through our Audio Only license.  The best thing with both of these is that you buy it once, and its yours to use forever.
  • Costs: Regardless of what production music service you decide to go through,  the cost of licensing is still much lower than label or independent music.  Costs can range from hundreds of dollars per piece of music, to as low as $39.95 a track through .

Commission original music

Yes. You can always commission original music to be created specifically for a project or brand. The expense depends entirely on the artist that is providing the music for you.  This is becoming a much more common route with the rise in podcasts and youtube personalities. You will be working directly with the artist so the acquisition process can become long and expensive.  If you have a well drafted agreement for the creation and acquisition of the original music, the risks can be low. represents over 180 amazing, talented artists that are masters at every genre, mood, and category of music imagined. We have helped dozens of satisfied clients through the process of designing and creating unique, exclusive tracks used in a variety of media applications. Learn more about the process and get an instant quote here.

This is a great route to take if you are looking for that jingle or sound that is exclusive to you and your brand.


Penalties for Using Unlicensed Music

Using music in your business without the proper licensing is never recommended  and the answers to music licensing requirements and rights clearance questions can be sometimes unclear.  It will eventually depend on your tolerance of risk.

Penalties for Illegal use can range from a DMCA takedown notice for media posted on sites like Youtube, to a cease and desist letter or even a copyright infringement lawsuit against your company.

Read more on using music on Youtube by reading "How To Use Royalty Free Music on Youtube."


Training and sales presentations to commercials and promotional videos, a soundtrack is key in creating a beautiful and effective piece of media. A good soundtrack can make all the difference in your projects and advertising. If there seems to be a lot of considerations, always fall back to the question we posed at the beginning,

Does this music represent my business?

If you are feeling unsure, get started with us. We provide a huge collection of music that is hand curated by experts and fit every type of project. Our artists are award winning composers of some of the most recognizable music in TV and film and have catalogs that extend across genres. Learn about Licensing music for commercials by reading "Finding Happy Go Lucky Music for Commercials"

And of course, if you are looking for something customized for a specific project, learn more about our Custom Music Composition service to get a free quote.

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