Music Licensing & Copyright

There are a lot of terms that can get a little confusing when it comes to music licensing. There is rights free music, royalty free music and stock music. Allow us to take you through what rights free music is, what it means and how to go about licensing music correctly.

music copyright image of a man signing a contract

What Is Rights Free Music?

Rights free or royalty free music firstly doesn’t mean that the music is free in terms of price. You will usually have to pay to use these tracks. Rights free simply means that nobody owns the copyright to the track, and royalty free means that no royalties must be paid. Music that is completely free of copyright (so truly ‘rights free’) is extremely rare, and ‘rights free music’ isn’t usually totally free of copyright. Usually, these tracks are just seen as rights free to the user. This is because the users pay the company to license the tracks, and the company distributes the royalties to whoever owns the rights.

Now we’ve clarified what rights free means (and some misconceptions), let’s take a look at some dos and don’ts.

Rights Free Music: 6 Do’s & Don’ts

dos and donts of rights free music, image of a thumbs up

Do Your Research

Make sure to do your research on music described as ‘rights free’ or ‘royalty free’. You need to ensure that you aren’t breaking copyright laws, and that the company is reputable. Also, some sites and companies have certain limitations on what you can use the track for. For example, some might not enable ‘commercial use’, and some might only be okay for YouTube videos, but not for TV or Film. Understanding the difference between rights free and royalty free and what you need to do is important when licensing music.

Don’t Assume You Won’t Have To Pay

Just because music is described as rights free music, doesn’t mean it is free music. Companies need to charge you for licensing tracks, whether through subscription or per track. There are websites that offer free music, but you should generally steer clear of these.

Do Know What Royalty Free Actually Means

Royalty free music and stock music are often used interchangeably, but be careful with this. Some stock music isn’t actually royalty free. Royalty free music companies also have different terms and conditions. So, be sure that you know what you’re getting into when you license music from them. Royalty free music isn’t totally free of royalties or copyright. It just means that the company will take care of the royalties, and you can pay a fee to license the songs.

Don’t Try To Avoid Rights

You may have seen or heard that just using a small snippet means that you can dodge any rights issues. Unfortunately, this isn’t correct. Your video could be taken down, or you could end up having to pay a large amount. Your best bet is to educate yourself, and use a service such as Audiosocket, who know what they’re doing with licensing.

Do Educate Yourself On The Public Domain & Creative Commons

If you haven’t heard of either of these, allow us to break it down for you. Music in the public domain is songs for which nobody owns the copyright because it has expired. Therefore, these can be used in your work. Creative Commons is an organization that enables free access to licenses for music. They offer 6 different types of Creative Commons licenses depending on what medium you want to use the music in. You can read their list of license types and their restrictions here.

Do Save Yourself The Hassle With Audiosocket

audiosocket music licensing company logo

With Audiosocket, you can license tracks easily and without worrying about copyright. For a monthly or annual subscription, you can have unlimited access to thousands of tracks in hundreds of genres. Simply browse our library, and find what you need for your film, advert or videos!

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