Royalty Free Music for Filmmakers : Five Myths
I have been in this music licencing & production business for over 10 years now working with filmmakers, video production companies and content creators helping them get the right music and music licence for their content.
I’ve learned how hard it is to keep up with the ever-changing music industry & music copyright laws governing the use of music in film and content.
I do feel sorry for the average filmmaker, or even professional production company, just trying to make a living from good film or online content and then getting their work stopped or halted due to music licensing conflicts.
Filmmakers and content creators have so much to think about already…then add the stress of music licensing into the mix and that is enough for most people to just crack and give up!
add the stress of music licensing into the mix and that is enough for most people to just crack and give up
This article discusses the 5 most common myths about royalty free music that are floating about online.
Just a recap – what is royalty free music?
Royalty free music is one of the easiest and simplest forms of music licences.
Typically, it is a “one stop shop” for getting music for your video or online content, therefore, most royalty free music involves paying just a one-time upfront fee, with no public performance royalty fees to pay in the future.
However, there are a lot of myths and misconceptions about what Royalty Free Music is, and what it can be used for.
1. “Royalty Free Music is Free” – This is not true.
Royalty free music costs whatever the seller is asking for. This could be free, pounds, hundreds of pounds or thousands. It is basic supply and demand.
2. “Royalty Free Music is Poor Quality” – This is not true.
All production music quality depends on the skills of the composer and music producer be it royalty free music, stock production music or film score commissions. Most royalty free music has superb audio quality.
3. “Royalty Free Music excludes the right to broadcast or host online” – This is not true.
With all royalty free music, like all production music stock libraries, check the terms and conditions of usage with your seller.
Check that what you need the music for is covered in the licence agreement you are buying.
For clarity, I can confirm that all royalty free music sold by www.louisebyrnemusic.com includes the right to broadcast and host online.
4. “Royalty Free Music is Copyright Free Music” – This is not true.
With royalty free music you are paying an upfront fee to licence the music for use in your own content.
The copyright ownership is retained by the composer.
Only a track labelled as “copyright free music” is copyright free. Even then be cautious – here is why:
All music has copyright. Here in the UK the second you put pen to paper on a song you own the copyright. (Proving it is the hard bit!)
Of all the common music licencing terms “copyright free music” is my least favorite.
Be very wary when dealing with this term and check everything. Often it is a buzz word put on websites by marketing folk to make easy sales, but the music is rarely copyright free.
5. “Royalty Free Music is Only Used By Low Budget Productions & Not Professional Filmmakers” – This is not true.
Filmmakers from all walks of life use royalty free music from newbies to seasoned professionals.
A good, successful business, will always aim to reduce production costs, therefore affordable royalty free music is a big hit with major productions.
Some of the biggest brands and production houses will go to affordable royalty free music libraries first before spending thousands on commissioned music or more expensive production music.
If you want to learn more about music licensing and ensure your content is always covered, be sure to check out and download my FREE music licensing checklist.
More detailed information about music licensing for film & content can be found in my guide: “Music Licensing for Filmmakers & Content Creators: Are you doing it wrong?”
If you want to learn more about Royalty Free Music be sure to check out my “Filmmakers Guide to Royalty Free Music”.
Royalty free music is still changing and growing.
It is not a “standardized” licence so ensure you always check with your individual music provider that your licence covers what you need.
There is a lot of myths & misconceptions about royalty free music out there, however, I hope this quick article has covered the most popular myths and given a little clarity.
If you do find this article useful, be sure to share this post with your film making and creative friends.
Got questions? Leave a comment! Let’s chat.
Louise Byrne is a UK based Composer and Music Producer who writes & produces music for filmmakers & content creators.
Her music has been used globally by major broadcasting houses & brands such as MTV, Discovery Channel, Discovery Science Channel, The History Channel, Fox Sports, VISA, BBC, NBC Sports & many more.
Disclaimer: This blog is intended as a guide only for educational and informational purposes. It is not legal advice. The content contained in this article is not legal advice or a legal opinion on any specific matter or matters.