A good music score is essential to your production. Sourcing this music can be quite a headache if you go through the normal copyright clearance channels, and can be expensive. All music recordings are protected by copyright and using this music on your production requires permission from the recording copyright owners, usually large faceless record companies who make up rate cards and play God on the decision to allow you to use well known themes from a major film or the latest pop sensation usually taking many months to reach a decision.
One simple and very cost-effective approach to finding music for your next production is to purchase direct from a Royalty Free Music library. In the past Royalty Free Music has been tarnished with a reputation for low production values, and whilst there still may exist companies churning out ropey cheesy themes which would not sound out of place in some seedy pornographic adventure, however standards have now changed as technology allows composers to produce high quality music
Now Royalty Free music CDs and downloads can match traditional production libraries to such an extent now that the MCPS, who help clear music for DVD and video, have had to alter their rate cards to try and simplify music clearance. Evidence indeed that the MCPS now view Royalty Free Music as a real competitor in the ‘music for visual’ market is now being taken seriously.
So how does royalty free music actually work. It’s really quite simple. The royalty free music company produce and own the copyright enabling therm to license the purchaser the right to dub the music onto their productions. Not just one production, but many. There are no restrictions on territory or number of copies or broadcast. You can use the music for personal or professional projects, massive DVD runs for distribution and sale, TV globally and even on websites. You can use the music for any length and can shorten or extend it. You own the right to use the music for your lifetime. The only restriction enforced is that the purchaser cannot sell the music CD to another user. So you cannot sell the music on ebay. A credit is not demanded, but most producers add one and there’s no better recommendation.
The approach is so different from normal production music libraries. You do not pay per 30 second blocks which can really mount up to a considerable cost. It does not matter how many times you use the music, Previews on royalty free websites take little time and you can quickly pinpoint the track or CD you need and order and receive the CD the next day, or in the case of a download, instantly.
The aim is to cut out all the red tape, form filling and confusing and vague usage restrictions and allow producers to concentrate on the creative process of using good quality music to enhance their productions without the fear of treading on someone’s copyright and at an amazing price. That’s the beauty of simplicity.
As some of the composers involved in Royalty Free Music are PRS/ASCAP members they are entitled to a payment from the broadcaster if the music is used on television. This payment is not the responsibility of the producer of the programme, but the station that broadcasts the music. So even when using royalty free music in a production that is to be broadcast on television you simply go right ahead and use it as normal; even for TV there are no extra fees to pay.