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What Is Royalty Free Music?

There’s a lot of confusing terminology around the use of music in a corporate video production.

Two of the most commonly heard (and commonly misunderstood) terms are ‘Copyright-Free Music’ and ‘Royalty-Free Music’. These terms tend to be used as ‘catch-all’ terms for any type of Production Music that’s licenced for video.

However, they are both totally different things and one of them is practically impossible to find!

What is Copyright-Free Music?

Copyright is a legal means that grants the creator of an original work rights to decide how their original work may be used by others. This could be anything including writing, art, film or music.

So anybody who writes a piece of music is the copyright holder. They can choose how they want their material to be licenced. They could give it away for free, offer it on a per-use royalty basis, or sell it for a set price which can be known as ‘royalty free’.

Therefore, the majority of music that you find will be copyrighted. So finding music that is truly ‘Copyright-Free’ and belongs to nobody is going to be incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to do!

What is Royalty-Free Music?

Royalty-Free Music means that once a license fee is paid, the music may be used many times without paying additional fees.

There may still be limitations to usage, such as for advertising, but this method of licencing Production Music is the most common.

There are a few other things that you need to know about Royalty-Free Music, too:

  • It isn’t free! A licence fee still needs to paid in some form to use Royalty-Free Music
  • It’s not all cheesy elevator music! Sure, there is some rubbish around, but the quality or the tracks and artists producing Royalty-Free Music is much better than you might think!
  • It’s not one size fits all! Each company that provides music have different licencing terms

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What are the rules with music licencing?

There are lots of rights and definitions involved in music licensing. Music licencing is complex, and depending on which track you use and where it is licenced from, there can be various restrictions on it’s usage.

The music licences we obtain for our corporate video production projects allows us to use Production Music in as many projects as we like. We have access to thousands of high quality music tracks of every genre, tempo and style and our licencing covers online videos as well as some paid advertising too.

We also have global distribution rights so we can work with clients across the globe and whilst performing rights aren’t included, these are usually the responsibility of the broadcaster or hosting platform (such as YouTube) anyway.

This helps both keep the costs of sourcing music down whilst making sure the quality and range of music we use is as high as possible.

Production Music can come in many shapes and sizes. The expectation that Production Music is only every cheesy and very corporate sounding is far from the truth. We like to use a broad range of music in our edits to keep the audience engaged and help tell our clients stories in unique and interesting ways.

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