Choose Royalty-Free Music: We Tell you All about it !

What is Royalty-Free Music and Where to Find it ?

“Royalty-Free” is a term that is misunderstood by many professionals. Let’s focus on this topic to better understand it. This article will help you choose royalty-free music.


👉 Let’s Start with Non-Royalty-Free Music !

In fact, if we talk about royalty-free music, there is inevitably the opposite, those that are not free.

This means that musical works are registered with copyright management companies (or companies of collection and distribution of rights (SPRD)) such as the famous ASCAP. ASCAP is the leading collective management company of musical copyrights in France. Its primary mission is to collect copyrights and pay them to authors, composers, and publishers.

As for the client, he will have to pay fees (called royalty) according to the diffusion and the use of the work. These fees vary according to the diffusion of the work. It is a way to remunerate the artist in proportion to the commercial use of his music.

There is no obligation to join ASCAPwhether for authors and composers or for professionals who want to buy music for their company.


 🤔 What does “Royalty-Free Music” Mean ?

We, therefore, call royalty-free music, the musical creations whose rights are managed by the composers themselves. These titles are not registered with copyright management companies such as SACEM (or BMI or ASCAP in the United States for example).

We can acquire an operating license (from the owner of the work), which gives us the right to a license agreement. This one will be appropriate for the upcoming use of the music. This contract exempts us from paying royalties or a license fee to the ASCAP, SUISA…

According to the article L121-2 of the Intellectual Property Code (IPC), each author is entitled to specify the extent of the rights, and the limits, for example:

  • The right to reproduce or not, to modify the music (change the scores)
  • The right or not to resell the music and make any profit from it
  •  Free private use, paid commercial use, etc.

The term “free” refers to freedom but not to freedom of charge

It is this license that determines the free (or not) status of royalty-free music and its field of use. The term “free” refers to freedom but not to freedom of charge.

Thanks to the acquisition of a license, the user can then use the music for commercial purposes without any additional financial fee (called royalties) towards the author(s) and or the beneficiary(ies) of the copyright. Be careful though, buying the license of royalty-free music does not mean being the owner of the music!

It is sometimes possible that an artist allows users to exploit his music for free even for commercial use. This is rare but possible. The artist is free to determine to what extent he wants his work to be exploited.


📕 Creative Commons, the essential Royalty-Free licenses.

The Creative Commons has been established in order to set the framework for the exploitation of free music. But what is it? Creative Commons is a non-profit organization whose goal is to facilitate the distribution and sharing of works while supporting new creative practices in the digital age.

Creative Commons offers six free licenses that allow copyright holders to make their works available to the public under predefined conditions.

You can find the 6 different licenses on the official Creative Commons website.

Creatives Commons are basic licenses that will determine the conditions of use, by default, of free music.

Besides, the artist can add his own paying licenses, to sell additional exploitation rights, that are not allowed in the CC they have chosen.

For example, the commercial use of the work can be obtained through a specific license provided by the beneficiary, when it is not authorized in the CC.

Let’s Illustrate with the Song « Cheese » by Bob !

Bob is the composer of the song « Cheese ». (hypothetical example)

Bob chooses to put his song in Creative Commons for NON commercial use. So anyone can use this song freely for non-commercial usage.

But Bob, can also offer a paid license for this same song for commercial use. 

The song “Cheese” can therefore be partly free for non-commercial use as agreed in the Creative Commons which regulates free use by default.

But also, it is charged for commercial use. Indeed, the customer must buy a license to go beyond the basic use allowed by the Creative Commons.


💰 Royalty-Free Music : at what Price?

It is difficult to give a single price for the purchase of music.

In a copyright management company, prices are variable because they change according to the actual distribution of the work. Whereas for free music, they are generally fixed prices (defined before any diffusion) that will depend on the conditions and licenses that the artist has chosen to set up.

Therefore, each musician can set up his own business licenses. The prices are thus assessed according to the criteria specific to each artist.

Generally, they are based on the following criteria: the geographical scope (regional, national, worldwide), the operating time, the operating medium (Internet, TV, Radio, etc.), the use (advertising, video sound design, video game design).

In the case of a free license, the Creatives Commons are very commonly used.

Free music can be free of charge, but it is very rare. Remember that it is the author who decides on the exploitation of his work.

Also, note that passionate artists can showcase their work and gain recognition.

Attractive prices are often linked to the creation of music in ” Home Studio “. In fact, today, it is possible for any artist to compose at home, with equipment at his disposal without having to go to expensive recording studios.


🔎 Where to Find Royalty-Free Music?

There are several catalogs of royalty-free music such as Dig CC Mixter, Vimeo Music Store, Jamendo, and Magnatune, for example. Some are free, others cost a few dozen euros. The rights to use different music also vary, depending on the license.

You can find a non-exhaustive list of catalogs and platforms to download royalty-free music in this article published by Canva.

However, having free or low-cost music means that the music is not exclusive. That is to say, several audiovisual contents will likely have the same sound and it is thus impossible to have sonic branding.


❌ The Limit of Royalty-Free Music Catalogs : Old News

It is important to recall the importance of an audio logo for a company. As a vector of communication and differentiation, more and more companies are turning to the dimension of audio marketing in order to reinforce their brand image.

Royalty-free catalogs are often chosen for cost reduction purposes. However, selling off your brand on the sound dimension when you invest in video may not be the best choice for your communication.

A video is 50% sound and 50% image.

The problem with royalty-free music catalogs is the (high) risk of finding your musical cover in another video. Or worse, in a competitor’s video !

We all have in mind this famous ukulele music that illustrates most of the motion-designs !

Of course, musical libraries are not limited to that, and often offer many choices. Nevertheless, searching for THE perfect music for hours, only to realize that it has already been used hundreds (or even thousands) of times, remains quite frustrating !

Fortunately, there is a solution : exclusive music !


✔️ The Solution : Exclusivity or Personalized Creation ! 

With a unique music, you make the choice to enhance your brand by developing a real audio branding.

Adding unique music to videos (and podcasts) allows the brand to appropriate its own musical territory. This offers many benefits, including: increased differentiation, and better brand memorization.

For this reason, you must acquire a work with an exclusive operating license (you are the only one who can use the music commercially) or an transfer (you become the owner of the property rights).

In any case, the interest lies in the fact that it has never been synchronized with any video before !

You can get unique and exclusive royalty-free music from Getasound.

We already connect brands and communication agencies with talented composers for the creation of audio brandings ! The platform offers original music composition.

All you have to do is talk about your brand/project through an intuitive form. The platform translates your brand into an artistic brief and distributes it to a network of over 750 certified artists. You will receive original and exclusive creative proposals for your video (or podcast).

Concerning the legal aspect, no worries, the platform takes care of everything ! A simplified management of the rights, in all transparency.

And above all, the guarantee of finding royalty-free music that you will never find elsewhere !

Need Royalty-Free Music ?

Getasound translates your brand into music and connects you with the best composers to develop your sonic branding.

Personalized sound creation


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