Information, Articles and Advice on Music Licensing & Music Copyright

This section provides access to expert articles from our blog. 

Music licensing and copyright is not always as straightforward as we would like it. On one hand, we have new licensing platforms that offer composers, bands and artists new revenue opportunities. Whereas on the other, there is the conventional music industry that operates on old revenue models, which do not fit in with the new and emerging technologies that is continually changing the face of music licensing and copyright.  

The list of articles below will provide a good starting point for those of you with questions about music licensing and copyright issues. Each link will direct you to our blog for the full article. And please feel free to leave a comment.

Each link opens an article in a New Window.



Link to Blog



Professional Music Buyers Guide

If you’re a media professional that licenses music for your productions then this guide is for you. It features a series of blog posts identifying aspects of music royalties you should know about and how these affect use of the music, the different types of music libraries as well as other aspects of music licensing.



Part 1- License Agreements

Part one of two articles discussing music licensing and the royalties included, or not included as the case may be. in various music license agreements



Part 2 - Your Options as a Licensee

Part two discusses your options for licensing music, including mainstream music, royalty free music and custom written music.



Can I use a few seconds of copyrighted music in my production without having to pay royalties?

Copyright law is complex and varies from country to country. US copyright law in particular has a fair use clause. However, fair use music copyright is often misinterpreted.



9 Common Q&A’s About Using Royalty Free Background Music in a Public Venue

My royalty free music business gets at least one call every week enquiring about using royalty free music as background music in public venues. If your business venue already uses royalty free music or is considering using it, this article will give our answers to some frequently asked questions about playing music in public.



Readers Q & A - About Performing Royalty Organisations and Website Music

You may be thinking about using website background music and possibly have questions regarding the copyright implications of using it on your website. Perhaps you have been approached by a performance royalty organisation and are not sure where you stand. This Q&A article may be a useful resource for you.



Royalty Free Music - What Is It, How Does It Work & What Are Its Issues?

What is royalty free music? What are its origins? And, what are the issues inherent with its use? The term royalty free music can often be misinterpreted and as a result, it is is not always clear to users what they are covered for when licensing royalty free music. This article aims to give you a brief overview of its many aspects



PRS Background Music vs. Royalty Free Music

Can I avoid PRS / PPL fees by playing royalty free music in my venue? This article discusses the question further.


Teaching Copyright Law in Schools

In an age of P2P and BitTorrent sites, it seems to me that there is little understanding of copyright law. Deep down I think people know that it is illegal to download and share the lastest No.1 single, album, blockbuster film etc. but this does not stop them from doing it. After all, most of these illegal portals are advocating it by facilitating file sharing and putting across the message that there is nothing wrong with it. In my opinion, people need to be educated on the legal and moral aspects of copyright, perhaps by introducing it as a compulsory subject in schools.



Free Music, Who Pays For It?

The music industry is not just about the latest X-factor winner or major record labels, it is also about those independent composers, bands and small companies (usually unknown) that provide original music to the media industry. Writing and composing music is how they make a living; if music is free, then it is them who ultimately pays the price.



Paying to Play Music - Where Does The Money Go?

The official answer is, the artist, band or composer who owns the music you are playing - if this was only true. The fact is that the logistics involved in monitoring the amount of times independents music gets played is so vast and random that the majority of money collected goes to the mainstream artists and major record labels. This is not good for the independent artist, band or composer who ends up being a statistical minority receiving very little in terms of revenue, or worse still, nothing at all. 



Fight Those Music Pirates! Get Your Own Audio Watermark

To avoid Illegal and inconsiderate use of copyrighted material on the web, I am of the opinion that independent composers, bands, artists and music producers need to protect their music and their ability to make a fair living from it. One method is to use an audio watermark on any of your music that you publish to the web. If not, it could well be used without your consent or knowledge.



Proving Music Copyright!

Ways that you could prove copyright ownership should the need ever arise.



Why DRM?

DRM is there to protect music rights, but personally, I think that DRM is just an attempt by a conventional music industry to retain revenue models that have historically served them well. However, these old policies do not necessarily fit in with the new and emerging technologies of today and the future.



Music Use, MySpace and Second Life

The growth of web technology is continually creating new opportunities for music licensing; MySpace and the virtual world of Second Life being two examples. However, it seems that the more sophisticated the online world becomes, the more complicated music copyright and royalties get.



A Question About Podcast Licensing and BMI Royalty Payments

A Q&A post regarding BMI and music royalty payments for music used on podcasts



I am being played on local radio, I should join PRS! Right?

PRS do a great job for many composers and artists who have their music broadcast on major TV or radio channels. But, if you are being played on local radio a few times a year, it is unlikely that you will receive any revenue. That is not to say you shouldn't join. Do the research and get the facts first. Join if you feel it will be financially beneficial.



What is a Performing Rights Organization?

We often get calls from cafe, restaurant or shop owners telling us that they have been approached by PPL and PRS to pay an annual license for playing music. They are usually looking for a more cost effective alternative. At this point we usually explain what a perfomance royalty organization is and how it works.



YouTube Copyright Notice Explained

Ever had a music copyright notice for a video in your YouTube account? This can cause alarm and confusion, especially if you have purchased a license to use the piece of music. This article explains further.



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