The production music landscape can be very confusing and hard to navigate through. Here is some information and a few tips that might help you to be better informed when you’re looking for your next music track.
Royalty free music, copyright free music, production music, stock music, background music- All of these terms refer to basically the same thing. Professional music that can be licensed for use in your project.
If you use production music, you’ll be able to choose from a vast amount of finished music auditioning it against your project until you find the perfect fit. This can be preferable to struggling with a composer that isn’t in tune with what you want.
A reason people use production music is that they can’t afford to license that hit song they love so much as licensing fees for popular songs can range from the thousands to the millions. Also, hiring a composer to write original music is much more expensive, unless it’s your friend’s nephew, who doesn’t really know what he’s doing…
As well, it’s much quicker as you’re dealing with ready to use finished tracks.
What to look for
What does your license cover? Make sure you spend a few minutes reading the license agreement to ensure that you are covered for your intended usage. How long is the license valid? Can you edit the tracks? Will the company stand behind what they license? What if you license a track and then find out that there is an issue with copyright. This can be a nightmare, especially if your project has already aired. At best, you have to go back into the studio and replace the music and resend it out. This is very expensive.
Most large production music companies, say 10,000 tracks or more, don’t actually own the music they license. They are set up as a marketplace, much like iTunes, for content producers to sell their music. One of the main issues with this is being sure that the music you license is 100% cleared for your usage. Composers are putting their music on every site that they can find, which leads to a lot of the same content on different sites.
Major record labels license production music as well and you won’t have any issues with copyright. What you will find is that it is very expensive and it is a much more involved process.
A note about Sid Sonic. Like the major labels, we own all publishing, masters and copyright to every single track. How we are different is that we charge a fraction of the cost and you can license a premium track in literally at couple of minutes. I know, it sounds pretty good. Okay, enough about us.
There are a large number of companies trying to license music to you. They all promise great music and a large number of tracks. There are even companies that will give you free music generating their revenue from ads that appear on their sites. With regard to production music, free is definitely not better.
What I’d suggest is making sure you can listen to what you’re considering in its entirety. Use a trusted source for your production music. In the end, your project will be better with good music. Don’t short-change it.
As always, feel free to send in questions or comments.