Put in the simplest possible way, Royalty-Free
Music describes a piece of music that you can use as much as you want
after paying a one-time license fee.
That's the most important thing to know about royalty-free music, and
you could walk away from this article now and probably know enough about
the subject to get by.
But if you want to know a little bit more, read on.
Royalty Free Music was first introduced in the 1980's, when it was more
common for producers and broadcasters to pay a fee for each time they
used the same music. Let's say they were producing a TV show and that
TV show had some music at the beginning of the show, which was repeated
again at the end of the show. They would have to pay the fee once for
the music use at the beginning, and the same fee again for the use at
the end. And then, if this TV show was broadcast once per day, they would
then pay the same fees again for each time it was broadcast. This "traditional"
form of music usage fees were often referred to as "Needle-drop"
When Royalty-Free Music was introduced, it did away with all this, and
allowed producers to pay a one-time license fee for the
music, and then use it as much as they want. Not only does this usually
work out a cheaper, but perhaps an even bigger difference is the convenience.
Producers no longer had to measure each second that the music was used,
and calculate fees based on uses, re-uses, etc. No wonder it quickly became
a popular way to obtain music.
A piece of music can only be royalty-free if the composer
and publisher has decided to make this track available on a royalty-free
basis. You can't find music by popular well known music artists on a royalty-free
basis, because for them it makes more sense to maximize their earnings
by sticking to a more traditional setup.
Luckily, there are now web sites,like this one, that offer great selections
of royalty-free music where the licensing procedure is so simple that
it would have been a dream come true for those producers from years gone
by, who had to deal with the huge complexities of needle-drop fees.
When you look for royalty-free music on the internet, though, be sure
to read the small print and to buy from a reputable company. There have
been con cases where people have offered music on a royalty-free basis,
and the music wasn't even theirs to offer -- leading to a run-ins with
the law for the companies who purchased what they in good faith thought
was properly cleared royalty-free music. Unsurprisingly, we recommend
buying royalty-free music from ourselves, Shockwave-Sound.Com, as we have
been in business since 2000, use only on-staff composers/producers, and
have established our reputation by serving clients including BBC, MBNA
Bank Plc, IBM, the State of California, Raffles of Singapore, Estée
Lauder, and tens of thousand other small and large companies over the
I hope this has been useful.