A lot of people have been asking questions related to the legal side of royalty free music. Many have asked whether or not royalty free music is also copyright free. We want to explain in further detail the difference between royalty-free and copyrighted music, in order to help our subscribers and potential customers make the distinction between legal practices and copyright infringement within the music licensing field.
Royalty Free vs Copyright
So what makes royalty-free music “royalty-free?”
Royalty free means that someone who purchases a license for a musical work does not need to own the copyright or pay royalties each time the licensee wants to use that musical work. Copyright free, on the other hand, means that the copyright for that musical work has expired and is therefore in the public domain.
What Is A Royalty?
A royalty is a monetary request payment made from the copyright holder each time a musical work is used. A royalty is negotiated by the copyright holder, however the ownership of the master recording of a musical work always stays in the hands of the artist or publishing company. In all cases, individuals are able to use the musical work they paid for without changing or modifying the works.
Once again, royalty free means that the licensee does not need to pay or negotiate further payments to use the work, but this does not mean that they own the copyright to the work.
In order to obtain a royalty free license, they need to subscribe to a music library such as MusMe. While royalty free music is meant to allow content creators to be able to monetize their work on digital platforms like YouTube, they CANNOT claim ownership of the musical work or resell, trade, or exploit for profit to other licensees or companies such as ad agencies for commercial purposes. If the licensee would like to use their work for that purpose, they can obtain from us a different type of sync license agreement.