What Is Royalty Free Music?

What we mean when we say our music is “royalty free”

royalty free music
Photo: Gavin Schaefer / Flikr

What “Royalty Free” means?

“Royalty Free Music” is certainly one the most confusing topics these days. If you ask around you will end up getting some wildly different answers, from “free to use” to “no copyright” to “safe to use on YouTube”.

Here we explain how we interpret the “royalty free” term and how it helps you if you purchase our music.

According to Wikipedia, a royalty free license grants you the right to use copyrighted material (music in our case) without the need to pay royalties or license fees for each use or per volume sold, or certain time period of use or sales.

All our licenses grant you the right to use our music indefinitely and in as many projects as you like without the need to purchase additional licenses. That’s what we mean by “royalty free”.

For example

  • If you want to use our music in a series of corporate videos, you don’t have to purchase additional licenses every time you make a new video.
  • If you put that video on YouTube, you are not required to pay any royalties if your video reaches 100, 1,000, or 1,000,000 views.
  • If you use our music in a commercial for sale product, you are not required to pay royalties each time you sell a copy.

A note about performance royalties

As explained above, all our licenses grant you the right to use our music indefinitely without the need to buy additional licenses or to pay royalties for recurring use.

However, some of our composers are members of their countries Performance Rights Organizations (PROs), which entitles them to the performance royalties when their compositions are publicly broadcasted.

As a rule, our customers do NOT need to obtain a separate performance rights license from a PRO.

 

In vast majority of cases, your video, film, etc. containing PRO registered music will be publicly broadcasted via a TV network, a video sharing Web site (YouTube, Vimeo, etc.), or a venue that already has a blanket performance license.

Please note that all PRO registered music is clearly identified in the catalog.

Is royalty free music copyright / rights free?

Absolutely not. Royalty free is the licensing option made specifically for copyrighted music. Only the public domain recordings are copyright free.

Does royalty free mean it’s free to use?

Generally speaking, no, though it’s a common misconception. Royalty free only refers to the right to use copyrighted music without the need to pay royalties for recurring use. As a matter of fact, in most cases, you do need to pay certain amount of money to obtain that right (that is, to purchase the royalty free license). Likewise, free music may or may not be royalty free. Many composers offer their music for free for personal listening or willing to waive the initial sync fees, yet expect royalties if their music gets used in a film or advertisement.

Please note that “purchasing royalty free music” refers strictly to purchasing a license to use the music under the conditions specified in the license.

If you are looking for music for commercial use please choose the license that explicitly allows commercial business use.

Can I use royalty free music in a commercial for-sale product?

If you are looking for music to complement, for example, a series of training videos that you sell on your Web site, you need to get the license that covers commercial use. Note that we offer a tiered licensing tailored for various uses, including commercial business use.

See how companies like Ricoh, GE, and more use our music to promote their products and services

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