What rules are in place in the music industry? – Music Licensing explained

    In the world of music, many people make money even if they are not writing, playing or producing the music. This isn’t uncommon or even a bad thing. It happens in every industry. But with music, there is a common misconception among creatives that music is free. This is not the case, particularly as people in the music world need to make money.

    Additionally, steps are in place to stop people from stealing other people’s music. That’s why there are laws and rules in place. Some of them are more complicated than others, but we suspect you have landed on this page because you want to know whether or not you can use certain types of music on your videos or social media accounts. The good news is that we are going to tell you. Read on to learn more about the various types of music licences, copyright laws, and also what rules are in place and for whom.

    Is there any music which is free?

    Not really, unless you have an unsigned friend who sends you a demo and lets you use it. There are promotional tracks from aspiring bands who just want their music to be heard, but if someone wants to use it for their content, it makes sense to cash in, doesn’t it?

    However, for the average Joe, there is a common misconception that you can use a track you like for a video, as it is all accessible via YouTube and downloadable. But this couldn’t be further from the truth. You can’t just boldly assume that you can use an artist or composer’s song. Someone owns that work, and they should rightly be paid for it. But this is where the lines get blurry. Who owns what, how much does someone have to pay, and also how often? Thanks to music licencing laws, in some cases, such as radio stations, they must pay every time they play or use a song. Whether it’s for an advert or simply just to play the song, someone somewhere is being paid by someone else.

    Can you only pay once to use a song?

    Yes, you can. But again, it depends on how the song is licenced. Royalty-free music is not free to use, but it does help you to avoid paying every time that song is played or used. There are websites which provide royalty-free music, such as AKM Music. This is an easy route for content creators to go down as the process is fairly simple. You just go on to that website and purchase the track that you would like to use.

    The website or company that you are purchasing from has already done the hard work. You simply pay them a one-off fee for royalty-free music, and in theory, you then don’t need to make consistent monthly payments, for example. That is one method that people use to try and save costs on music licencing protocols. In many cases, the more well-known the song, the more you would have to pay to use it. Essentially, the bigger the copyright, the bigger the fee, and the same can be applied to royalties.

    Where can you use royalty-free music?

    Now you’ve purchased royalty-free music, it’s all about understanding where and when you can use it. As a content creator, you may or may not be surprised to learn that you can actually use these sorts of tracks on social networks like YouTube. If you’ve brought it legally, then you should be safe from any copyright or content ID claims.

    If you are thinking of using music which is royalty-free, you should still check with the company that you purchased it from as to whether it is also copyright-free. As there is a difference! A legitimate site should provide this information to you anyway, but you can often find it in the FAQs of the company you are buying from.

    It would probably say something like this:

    Royalty-Free Music / Copyright Free Music is music cleared for use on your video or TV production, allowing you to sync the music in perpetuity without the need to pay extra royalties or licence fees to collecting rights bodies such as MCPS.

    Using our Royalty Free Music offers a simple music solution for video and media creators, allowing unlimited use on all DVD productions, commercial websites and all digital platforms, including YouTube/Facebook/Zoom/Instagram. One single payment and no more fees to pay. It’s simple and 100% hassle-free.

    The next steps to aid your content creation

    So, now we’ve explained a little more about music licensing and what it means. It is time to get started with your content creation. Go ahead and embark on your new career, whilst staying compliant and complying with the rules of the music industry! 

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