What Is Royalty Free Music?
There are millions of musical works in the public domain.
However, essentially all sound recordings in the USA are under copyright protection.
If you need to use a recording of a musical work, you
must either make your own recording or license one.
Most music recordings are for entertainment only and obtaining a license to use popular music for a commercial use can be
difficult and expensive. Some music publishers record and copyright music tracks specifically to license for use in
personal or commercial projects. When you
purchase a music license, you agree to use the music only as allowed under the
terms of license.
Since music recordings are under copyright
protection, each music publisher or copyright holder determines how
you are allowed to use their sound recordings. There is
NO such thing as a "Standard
When the price of the music license
includes all costs incurred to use the music, the license is usually called a
"Royalty Free Music License" or
"Buyout Music License".
Before you purchase a music license, be certain that you
understand if there are additional fees based on how many times,
where, or the length of time you use the music. More information about Royalty Free Music can be found on the
PD Info web site at Sound Recordings
What Can I Do With Royalty Free Music?
Royalty Free Music Licenses vary substantially among music
publishers. Be sure that you thoroughly understand all license terms
before you purchase a music license.
Licensee - Who Can Use the Music
Duration - How Long Can the Music Be Used
Location - Where Can the Music Be Used
Cost - Is There a Fee Each Time the Music is Used
Useage - Specifically How You Can Use the Music
Some music publishers grant a license for only a year, charge each
time you use the music, or allow the music only for a specific purpose like a Film Festival.
Make absolutely certain that you thoroughly understand the terms of the music
license before you license any Royalty Free Music.
Most Royalty Free Music Licenses
are "Synchronization Licenses" that allow use only as background music, either with video or
There is a relatively small body of Buyout Music for singing, rap, live performance, or inclusion in a product.
PD Info offers a few tracks on our web site that are licensed for performance, but if you need music for
other than video or voiceover, you may have to negotiate a music
license directly with a music copyright holder.