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Terminologies You Must Know About Royalty Free Music

You may have heard of royalty free music – a music asset used by creators or people who need music in their media; movies, games, animations, YouTube channels and more.

The reason for this post is to put light on some terminologies you must know about royalty free music and what it means for you if you’re a music producer.

So what is Royalty Free Music?

Not to be confused with ‘free’ music, royalty free music is a music piece that a user purchases for a single fee to use it within the conditions of the particular license.

If you purchased a royalty free music, you’re essentially buying a license to use it within a media without having to pay for royalties everytime the music piece is played or broadcasted.

It’s important to note licensing conditions of each royalty free music company or library is essentially different, so before you make a purchase – always check the license agreements.

So are there ‘royalty free’ soundtracks?

It’s understandable that many people would want to search for famous soundtracks to use in their media. While popular soundtracks (those you hear in films & albums) can be licensed, they are not royalty free and would be a costlier and time-consuming venture.

The business to license popular soundtracks and artist music (called music synchronization), is a huge business – one who clients are usually large ad agencies or production houses.

Is Royalty Free Music any good in quality?

During the earlier days of royalty free music, standard stock libraries suffered from a reputation of sounding sub-par. You know what I mean; bad composition, ‘MIDI’ sounding and badly mixed tracks.

Today, however, the scenario has changed completely. A quick search on the internet will give you the results of hundreds of online libraries – which contains stunning music. Probably part of the reason why royalty free music is getting better each day is due to how accessible and affordable high-quality soft synths, VST libraries, and DAWs are becoming to music producers.

The best way to judge whether an online library accepts good royalty free music is to look at how stringent it is when coming to accept stock music made by creators into the library. Also, it’s best to download music tracks which are formatted as a WAV file, an uncompressed format – as that would give you some space to make edits on the audio without degrading it.

Is it Possible to Preview the Entire Track before Buying It?

Both yes and no is the answer to this question. Because some libraries allow you to view the complete soundtrack before purchasing; whereas, some do not. Usually, some libraries use an audio watermark which is a voice recorded over the top of the track. Whereas, some libraries allow members to download high-quality MP3 versions of a particular track without watermarks.

What Is a Cue Sheet and Do You need to Fill One?

A cue sheet is a list of the music used either in a television program or motion picture which includes information about the title, composer, publisher, timing and type of usage. You usually only need to fill in a cue sheet if you intend to broadcast your production which incurs no cost to the producer.

Are There ‘Free’ Royalty Free Music?

Yes, there are usually free royalty free music available. Some royalty free music libraries such as Audio Network, Soundstripe, and many more allow you to download free material to use in non-profit productions.

There are also independent music producers who allow you to download and use their music at no charge, in return of crediting them with a mention or link to their website.

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However, going free means you often limit yourself to only a few music selection. And to truly have unique music for your production, you probably want to look at the option of finding out how to make custom music.

To conclude, royalty free music or stock music is usually convenient ways to access good quality music quickly and legally.

Which library do you currently sell your music at? Or if you’re someone looking to buy music, which is your favorite royalty free music library?

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