What is Royalty Free Music?

What is Royalty Free Music?
“Royalty Free Music” is a term that is used by the majority of people searching for music online to add to their commercial and personal projects.
It basically means that you pay a one-time fee to gain the legal right to use a composer’s music in the background of your commercial or personal project. Projects like wedding and instructional videos, or films and documentaries, or powerpoint presentations and flash websites, or video games.
Royalty free music is an inexpensive solution that allows you to legally add great sounding music to your project.

However, ‘Royalty Free Music’ is a term that many composers and publishers have issues with because they believe that there actually is no such thing as royalty free music. That believe that even if a piece of music is licensed to someone and the client pays only the synch fee (the initial fee paid) to put the music in their project that the production or the broadcasters still have to pay royalties to Performing Rights Agencies (PRO) like BMI and ASCAP for each performance of the music.
In most cases these publishers and composer are right. If the music is registered with a PRO then the broadcaster has to pay royalties unless another arrangement has been made. So most companies claiming to sell royalty free music actually aren’t. But some companies actually do sell truly royalty free music.

Truly Royalty Free Music
Our company, Partners In Rhyme, via partnersinrhyme.com/royaltyfreemusic and musicloops.com, does sell completely royalty free music; no cue sheets are involved if the production does not want to submit them and broadcasters do not have to pay royalties for each performance of the project.
We do this in two ways:
1. The majority of our music is not registered with any PRO (Performing Rights Organization).
2. The composers that want to distribute through our company that do have their music registered with a PRO have signed an agreement with us to let us do ‘direct licensing’ deals with our clients thereby bypassing the PROs altogether.

Our customers, some of them are the broadcasters themselves, love the fact that they can find so much high quality, truly royalty free music on our websites and our composers love the fact that we have constant sales and send them nice paychecks every month. Not all composers would be happy with our system of course but we do not cater to all composers.

Why Has Royalty Free Music Become So Important?
Royalty free music is a growing industry and has become almost a household term in the last few years not just with the professional film maker and video producer but because of the popularity of Youtube which gives everyone who wants to the chance to become a video star. But Youtube requires you to either own the rights to the music you use in your video or to have legally licensed music written by someone else.

If you do not use legal music in your Youtube video then Youtube can one of several things
1. Turn off the audio of your video
2. Place ads on top of your video and take away your right to earn ad revenue from the video
3. Take down your video completely

There are several way to find this type of legal music for your video, some for free and some for a fee, depending on the quality you require and the legal documentation you need.
1. You can find free royalty free music in places like Free Royalty Free Music
2. You can find Creative Commons licensed music in places like Creative Commons Music
3. You can purchase a license to use high quality music in place like Musicloops.com

So know you have a basic idea of what Royalty Free Music means. I will write future articles on some of the specifics mentioned above.

If you have any questions, comments or arguments please let me know in the comments section below and i will be glad to respond.

  • Tom Dickinson

    Can i use royalty free music as a sample in a song? could the final product containing the sample then be sold?

    • axgrindr

      No, absolutely not.
      Royalty free music is not meant to be used as samples in another piece of music. The composer who create the royalty free music will always own the copyright to that music and even if you take it and play a guitar solo over it or whatever it will never be yours to own.
      To compose music you have to use loops that are meant for that specific use or simply compose your own music.

  • Uril7

    I have heard great things about Partners in rhyme and that they have legit music. If you do a little research, most of the high quality royalty free music can be found on Partners in Rhyme, Incomptech, Smartsound, PremiumBeat and many others. When looking for royalty free Music, this article makes a good point about making sure that the music you are looking for has the appropriate rights. Good sites will easily show you what rights you are getting when purchasing tracks, whether its a one time use, 100 uses, commercialized etc. Also, keep a handy tab with that licence information because even if you legitimately have the rights to those tracks, you may still get flagged.Most cases like that get easily resolved when the licence is clearly shown to the moderators that flagged your projects.

  • Uril7

    I didn’t know there are some sites out there that don’t offer complete copyright clear music. http://www.smartsound.com is 100% copyright clear and they have a ton of selections to choose from, even a section for free tracks.

  • http://www.facebook.com/cristine.craig.3 Cristine Craig

    Great Music! I would like to download the songs that I loved to hear all day long, on my iPhone using “ClipClock” application to share the great music includes the new music video releases. I can share to you the links! http://www.clipclock/download/60014