Have you ever wondered how famous musicians end up being so rich? Even the upcoming artists always seem to be considerably more comfortable than the average worker. Ever wondered why? The truth is quite easy – there are so many different revenue streams that can monetize a musician’s life. In this article, we’re going to talk about music licensing – but more specifically, about sync licenses (licenses that allow for music to be used in TV, films, ads, and all types of visual media). Do you know how you often hear an artists’ song as the background music in a TV show, film, or advertisement? Music licensing!

Music licensing (read more about music licensing here) is a major contributing factor to the wealth and exposure experienced by artists and musicians today. Having your music placed in TV shows, films, etc. can really improve your exposure and give you some extra cash. Similar to any other license given in relation to using copyrighted content or work, a music license is provided by the copyright holder (the musician, or a record label, or publisher) to the licensee. This license permits the licensee to commercially use a particular piece of music. The license would contain the terms and conditions agreed upon with regard to the use of the music piece. Which means, it vividly shows and explains what ways you are allowed to use the music piece and also shows that you have agreed to use the piece in ways agreeable to the original artist or creator. So when one pursues a music license from the copyright holder, the licensee would have to specify in which ways they would be using the track for, how long and through what particular media channels. There are various types of music licenses, and all of them have their independent uses together with terms and conditions. So from the use of the songs as background music to background music downloads, licenses are needed.

Some licenses are acquired with specified periods of time during which the musical piece can be used, and some other licenses are acquired just once based on the “one sale” principle (no specific time periods). The license that is based on time is known as limited-term licenses while the other which is based on infinite use of the work with other specific terms is referred to as “royalty.”

Types of Music Licenses

There are six major types of music licenses. They are:

  1. Synchronization Licence (also known as Synch License):

This is a type of license that allows the user to synchronize or ‘synch’ the copyrighted music to a film, video, or any kind of motion picture.

  1. Master Licence:

A master license allows the licensee to use the actual recorded content. Usually, to use background music for your video creation, both a Synch License and a Master License is needed.

  1. Mechanical License:

This type of license grants the licensee, the power to make physical copies (CDs, DVD, tapes, etc.) of a copyrighted music piece for distribution or other use. Streaming services such as Apple Music and Spotify are included.

  1. Performance License:

This is a license that allows the licensee to play the particular music piece in a public commercial place, such as a restaurant, a store, a mall, etc.

  1. Print License:

A print license is needed to actually print the sheet music- where all the notes, harmony, and lyrics are written.

  1. Theatrical License:

This is a license required in order for the licensee to use the specific music piece commercially on stage, for instance in a theatre.

All in all, music licenses can be pretty complicated! This is why royalty free music libraries are awesome. Royalty free music libraries make it incredibly easy for you to find the perfect background music for your video. Royalty free music libraries combine the synch and master license into one easy to understand license – called athesynch/master license. Music supervisors, video editors, and filmmakers, love to deal with royalty free music libraries for this specific reason! Royalty free music websites are your one-stop solution to easily finding the best royalty-free background music for your videos.