There are a lot of misunderstandings floating around today about the term royalty-free, in particular when it applies to music. In this quick video, I’ll explain in layman’s terms, what is royalty free.
What is Royalty Free Music?
For some quick background, music royalties are micro payments that are pay per use charges that are paid to copyright holders and the owners of master recordings.
When music is royalty-free, these micro payments are waved … not for a limited time … but forever.
Generally speaking a royalty-free music license cannot be requested … it’s something that the copyright holder determines whether they want to offer. And to be clear … MOST music cannot be licensed and used as royalty-free.
For example, you heard a song on the radio and you’d like to add it to your video. To do that you need to acquire licensing, and for most commercial recordings this will cost in the tens of thousands of dollars … IF it’s available at all. More often than not, the music publisher will NOT grant that type of license, since they depend on royalties revenue for their livelihood.
Royalty free isn’t synonymous with free. It simply means that there is a one-time upfront fee to license the music. Yes you still have to follow the terms of the license, and use the music accordingly.
There are those who misunderstand and think that royalty free means free.
Additional reading on what is royalty free music: