What is Royalty Free Music Really?
If you are a media producer or any kind, you may have heard this term: Royalty Free Music. But you may also be unfamiliar with what exactly royalty free music means or how it can help your workflow. Here we will break down not only the meaning of royalty free music, but how it works, who uses it and more.
BY JESSICA KELLER
What Are Royalties?
Royalties are ongoing payments made to the artist who created the content you are using. They are license fees that you have to pay when using music on almost any media or performance platform. Whether you’re making an indie film, launching a new marketing campaign, developing a new app, or even making a YouTube video, licensing of the material used is involved. Although annoying, it exists to protect and support the musician’s work, which is a good thing! Musicians need to get paid just as media producers need to get paid. However, creative professionals need to focus on producing new media. And you’ve probably been through the ringer of trying to finish up a project, while contracting another, and doing your best to meet all the client’s requests. All you want is to select awesome music to complete your vision. And you need to do this in an efficient and easy way. Traditional licensing methods are difficult to understand and just as difficult to comply with: Who do I pay? When? How much? Will I be charged ongoing royalties based on number of presentations? And unless you’ve got a massive budget, don’t even think about trying to license a popular song. Royalty free music are products that you can purchase without having to worry about all those compliance issues.
Definition: Royalty free music is music you purchase once with a license that outlines your usage, without ever having to pay royalties. A royalty free music license gives you full legal rights to use the music according to the license. Many agreements include lifetime usage in an unlimited number of productions and presentations.
Royalty free music eliminates all tracking and administration of your production. Simply purchase a sync charge once, and use the music forever.
So the concept of royalty free music is pretty awesome, right? Find the music you love, buy it once, and use it forever. However, there are some limitations on how exactly you can use royalty free music. And it all depends on where you buy it from and what their license says. This is the most important aspect to pay attention to on the media producer’s side of this relationship. If used right, royalty free music is a very flexible medium. If you use music you’ve purchased in a way that’s outside of what the license says, then you’ll have to deal with all the copyright issues you’re trying to avoid by buying royalty free music in the first place. Different licenses means different prices. But all it takes is an easy Google search to find a royalty free music site that has low prices and a license that complies with your needs.
One of the best parts about using royalty free music is how cost effective it is. You’re not going to be able to independently license a track with the ease or inexpensiveness of royalty free music. Each royalty free music site prices their music differently. Some by each track, some by how many seconds of a track you use, some by subscription. At stockmusic.net, for example, each track is just $39.95. That’s right. You can effortlessly score your project with awesome music without breaking the budget. And you can bet your client will be impressed with the quality of music you’ve chosen. Royalty free music is a big industry with reach to people of many different industries. So the idea of basic “stock” music is something of the past. We know that you’ve got a specific vision for your project. That probably includes a certain type of song as well. Or maybe your client has referenced a popular top 40 song that they want their product to sound like. Luckily, many musicians who work for royalty free music sites will produce music that sounds like the hits on purpose. So you can make your client happy without having to search too long or hard.
Relationship with Musicians
So who’s providing all this great music? Again, each royalty free music site works differently. But for the most part, musicians who want to sell their music as royalty free sign an agreement with the music publisher that outlines how they get paid. Yes, musicians who sell their music as royalty free do get paid. But it all depends on their relationship with their Performance Rights Organization (PRO) and how they money is split between the writer and composer of the music. Some royalty free music sites even have in-house, composers to keep their music super exclusive. Check out further details on the relationship between musicians and royalty free music companies here. But again, as a media producer, you don’t have to worry about how the musician gets paid. Royalty free music companies take care of that for you.
Who Can Use Royalty Free Music?
Royalty free music can be used in several ways, even some you’ve never thought of. While royalty free music is popular with media producers of any kind, (video editors, marketers, podcasters, filmmakers etc) there’s some applications you’ve never thought of too. If you run a small business, you need to cut costs where ever you can. So if you have an on-hold system or video on your website, think about cost-efficient royalty free music. Royalty free music is also great for business presentations and conferences. You need to motivate your team with inspirational music to amp up your presentation. Even if you make videos on a small scale using platforms like YouTube, you have to comply with their music rules. And if you’ve ever tried to upload a video with music you love, you know how strict the Content ID system is. Learn how to avoid YouTube taking down your video here. But royalty free music can be used in public performance too. If you own a retail shop or restaurant, you still have to comply to music and copyright laws. Even if you are hosting an event in public, you have to follow the rules. Again, go worry free with royalty free music. The royalty free music industry is here to help you score your projects effortlessly with awesome music. So if you need music for any project or occasion, you can count on royalty free music for high quality and variety without dealing with copyright issues. Get your work done without worrying about how the music you chose will be compromised.