Copyright Free Music
This is a frequently misused term. There is extremely little "copyright
free" music around, if any. As soon as a composer has composed a
piece of music, it is automatically copyrighted to him/her, regardless
of whether the composer actually takes any practical steps to "copyright"
the music. If the composer gives somebody permission to use the music
in a project, that doesn't mean the music is copyright free. Even music
that you obtain from free music web sites, from a music library, from
a royalty-free music source, etc., none of this means that the music is
"copyright free". You should never assume that a piece of music
is "copyright free", because it almost certainly is not, even
if somebody tries to tell you that it is.
A Music Library, aka Stock Music Library, is simply a "collection
of existing music". People who are in a hurry to obtain music for
a project will often use a Music Library because the music is already
composed and immediately available. This term says nothing about what
costs are involved with using the music. It may be subject to a one-time
license payment, a monthly license payment, a per-sale royalty payment,
or a combination of these. All this term means, really, is that the music
already exists and will not be composed especially for you.
Royalty Free music (or Royaltyfree Music) means that you will only pay
a one-time fee to use the music, and you will not pay a per-use or a per-sale
royalty to the composer and/or publisher.
License Free Music
This is a bad term, because it actually means that the music doesn't
need a License for use. This is never the case, though, so when people
say "License Free", usually what they really mean is "Royalty-Free".
Buyout Music (or Buy Out music) is a term that usually describes when
a company or person pays the composer, producer and/or publisher a one-off
sum of money, and then obtains all rights to that music.
A lot of the time, music buyout is misused or misplaced.
For example, a company might think that they need a total buyout
of the music, but all they really need is a License to use the music for
whatever puposes they want, forever. This would serve the exact same purpose,
but leave the composer with his basic rights intact. If you are looking
to obtain buyout music, most likely you are really looking
for Royalty-Free music.
Some web sites or music libraries claim to sell Buyout Music, but what
they are really selling is royalty-free music. If what they really sold
was Buyout Music, then they would sell the music to you, then delete it
from their own harddisk, never use it for any other purpose or sell it
to anybody else -- they they would sign the copyright of the tracks over
to you and retract it from anybody else they have ever given the track
to in the past. That is a buyout. So really, what they
are selling isn't buyout music, but royalty-free music, or other forms
of non-exclusive music licences.
Podcast Safe Music
Podcasts are audio recordings made available for individual downloads
or subscriptions. Some podcasts are pay-to-listen but most podcasts today
are free. Podcasts are a great way to download audio recordings made by
other people, because you can "subscribe" to them so they are
automatically downloaded to your computer or iPod, without you having
to download each programme/episode individually. Podcasts can include
talk shows, reports, music shows, news bulletins and basically anything
that can be delivered as an audio file.
Lately, Video Podcasts are also on the rise - which is the same thing
but includes video as well as audio.
Podcast Safe Music means music that you can safely and legally use in
your Podcast, without having to worry about being sued by the music copyright
holders. Bands and artists may give their music for free to use in Podcasts,
just in return for some promotion in the hope of getting some new fans.
More often, Podcast Safe Music is found in music libraries such as the
Shockwave-Sound.Com stock music library.
YouTube Safe Music
Just like Podcast Safe Music is music that you can legally use in Podcasts,
YouTube Safe Music is music that you can safely and legally use in your
own videos that you post to youTube (and similar services such as Google
Video, Metacafe, etc) for the whole world to see. Again, such legal YouTube
music can be obtained by visiting a good Stock
By the way, if you are using music in YouTube videos, you may want to
read this article about YouTube
performance rights and music credits.
Work For Hire
A special arrangement governs music that was composed whilst the composer
is an employee and composes music for his/her employer. The exact relationship
between the employee and the employer will depend on their individual
work contract, but in most cases (and if no particular contract exists)
the composer will retain the actual copyright to the music, but the employer
will have "free use" of the music without payment.
Even when a composer has given (or sold)
the master rights and publishing rights to a music publisher, he/she will
always retain "moral rights" to his/her compositions. This enables
the composer stop his/her music being used for particular projects on
moral, political or religious grounds. For example, a composer who is
strongly against smoking may have the right to reject having his music
used in a cigarette commercial, even if all the other
rights to the music has been signed away to a publishing company.
In the rather complex world of music rights and copyrights, the various
rights that exist in a music recording is often divided into three different
classes: Synchronization Rights, Mechanical Rights and Performance Rights.
Mechanical Rights are the rights to produce physical
items carrying the music, or a film that contains the music. For example,
if you have made a film and you would like to manufacture 1,000 DVD's
with that film. The film includes a few seconds of music. You need to
obtain the mechanical rights to that music, before you're
allowed to manufacture the physical DVD's that contain the film which
contains the music.
When you buy a CD in the record store, or you download a piece of music
from iTunes, you are really only buying a license to listen to this music
in your home, in your car and in your own personal music player. You may
not use the music in conjunction with any other media. If you want to
put that music to a film or any other visual media, you need the "Synchronization
Rights", or the "Sync License". The term comes from the
word Synchronize, as in, you're Synchronizing the audio to video. If you
want to buy the Sync rights to a piece of music, you need to contact the
copyright holder directly, or buy music from a Production Music Library
such as this one.
In short, Performance Rights mean the rights to legally perform a piece
of music in public, or broadcast it on radio, TV or over the internet.
Basically, if you are playing music in such a way that other people can
hear it and enjoy it, you need to obtain the Performance Rights to that
music. Performance Rights are often administered by Performance Rights
Organizations such as ASCAP, BMI, PRS, GEMA and similar.
Performance Rights are normally not obtained per-song. Instead, a music
broadcaster such as a TV station or a radio station simply pays an annual
license fee to ASCAP, BMI or similar. That annual license gives them the
rights to play all the music they want in public, for a whole year.
Likewise, a dental surgery which keeps the radio playing, thus entertaining
their customers with music from the radio, also need such a license. Again,
they don't buy this "per song played", but rather buy an annual
When you buy "royalty-free music" from an online music library,
you normally do not get the Performance Rights with your
purchase. But then, most likely you don't need it either. You only need
the Performance Rights if you are actually going to broadcast the music
through a broadcasting company that don't already have an annual license
-- which is highly unlikely.
This just means custom made music, written
especially for the project.