When it comes to using music in any production you are putting together – whether you’re shooting a short-movie or producing a social media post – the possible legal issues you may face are something you simply have to take into account.
It’s no longer an acceptable excuse to claim ignorance, especially if you happen to have posted content to your social media channel without the relevant music license. The consequence will be either the deletion of your accounts or that you become the subject of a legal challenge.
To help you navigate this minefield, we’ve created a helpful guide to explain the different types of licenses that may apply to a piece of music, and what each of them actually means.
Using Music in Your Videos
Using music in your video projects is, of course, crucial and not something you can really do without and unless you happen to be an expert musician or know some who are willing to work for free, then you’ll have to factor in the cost and time needed to find and use the right music for your needs.
You simply can’t do without a soundtrack when it comes to producing your video content, and there are many different ways to cater to this need. Luckily, the internet is the ideal location to secure access to each one. See below some of the different types.
If you happen to have little or no budgetary concerns, then you can elect to use existing mainstream music as the score of your videos and social posts. However, it’s not just about having money to burn; you’ll also have to make sure you are buying the right license from the appropriate publishing house.
Licensed music can be affected by the geographical location that your videos are hosted. This is less relevant if they are for social posts, but if the film or video you are making is aired on terrestrial means, on a national television station of streaming services, you’ll have to make sure the license you have is cleared for this usage.
Be warned. This option is an expensive one and can lead to a rather generic product, especially if you are using well-known music that everyone is well versed in.
Royalty-free music refers to the usage of music for a one-off fee, usually via a royalty-free subscription service. It’s a widespread route to take in 2021 and especially useful if you are a regular producer of content that requires a musical soundtrack.
A good royalty-free music provider will have an extensive library of tracks and SFX (sound effects) that will be helpfully tagged and stored in relevant databases, which is very useful for putting together a soundtrack that works perfectly with your chosen visuals.
Copyright Free music and music that is in the Public Domain
Copyright-free music doesn’t have a copyright, which is essentially very rare and pretty much the same as music in the public domain.
Music that is completely free from copyright doesn’t happen often and is usually derived from music in the public domain. Some music falls into the public domain sphere due to any previous copyright expiring.
In other cases, there is music that never had copyright due to its age. As such, it is entirely free for your use without any ramifications.
There is a lot of quality public domain music, but clearly, most of it isn’t modern and may not, therefore, be ideal for your video productions. However, in some cases, it may be ideal, for instance, if you are putting together a period drama. In which case, classical music that is available in the public domain may well fit perfectly.
Free Non-Copyrighted Music
Another, altogether rarer option comes in the form of free non-copyrighted music. This can be music that is deliberately available without the need for a license or payment. You may be wondering why an artist would make his creations available on such a basis, and the reasons may be plentiful.
There may be artists who feel that getting exposure to their music could help bring their talent to the attention of a larger audience, safe in the knowledge that offering a free product will lead to much usage.
Always be mindful of any music you use
Now you are more clued up with what you can, and can not, freely use when it comes to your musical soundtracks. Be very careful how you proceed, as failure to adhere to strict guidelines could prove very counterproductive in the long run.
We strongly suggest going down the royalty-free model. In our view, it is the safest and most user-friendly option to pursue when it comes to using quality music to accompany any video production you undertake.
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The content marketing team at Vidooly publishes articles and blogs on current and relevant online video industry related news.