Suppose you are an aspiring filmmaker or perhaps a social media influencer or indeed an individual who produces a large amount of video content, on the whole. In that case, you will have no doubt come across the term ‘copyright-free music’, and it may not mean quite what you first thought it did.
The idea that music could be free of copyright entirely is usually a false assumption. Almost no mainstream music is without copyright unless it’s a piece of music from at least 75 years ago, and then it would be a case of copyright expiring, and not necessarily mean the piece is copyright free.
So in answer to the often asked question, what is copyright-free music? Well, copyright-free almost always refers to royalty-free music, which is available via several relevant providers for an affordable payment, usually part of an overall subscription service.
Royalty-free music is now very commonly used across social media and also on film and video productions made by those not wishing to use up the vast portion of their overall budget on securing a license for a big hit they heard on the radio.
The availability of royalty-free music is now at an all-time high as it is used to accompany the content boom that has come with the marked increase in social media usage over recent years.
It’s the common sense approach to finding great music to make your video projects really pop, and it’s effectively the only sensible way to score your soundtrack, whatever your needs are.
So Many Ways to Use Royalty-Free Music
As we all become mini-content creators of our own, so does the need to serve these productions with quality music better. After all, video content without a musical accompaniment would sound very odd indeed.
In the past, we would not have thought twice about using a well-known song and happily attached it to our video without fear of any consequences. However, musical production companies and licensing houses are now clamping down on such usage.
Social media giants have developed systems that can immediately spot the use of such songs and will punish you accordingly. If you have used the tracks without permission or a relevant license, you’ll get a copyright strike and could see your entire social media assets closed down for good.
Royalty-free music providers offer great music from lesser-known artists at a much-reduced rate. This service then provides you with a massive range of options to choose from and gives these artists a steady income.
The usage of such a resource is wide, and the scale of the need has led to a growing number of options to choose from, resulting in a significantly reduced cost rate.
The ways royalty-free music is used have also grown as a result, and here are just a few examples.
Companies keen to put together any marketing materials, for instance, those that are not necessarily for public consumption, are now regularly turning to royalty-free music to better frame their efforts. Be this for internal video presentations or larger-scale advertising productions.
The usage of mainstream music, without a license, at personal events can also result in licensing violations, and as such, it may be wiser to go for the royalty-free music option, not least as the sheer size of the musical offering (as well as sound effects) can give your event more of a personal and unique vibe.
This is particularly relevant for filmmaking outside any studio system and student films, where using existing well-known licensed material could be counter to your budgetary needs. Also, it’s worth noting that you may well have the funds to secure the license of a big hit, only to find that the artist simply refuses to let you do so.
Social Media Influencers
This is perhaps the biggest market served by royalty-free music today and a market that is growing exponentially. The usage of music that doesn’t require a full license doesn’t just affect big social media influencers and is relevant for all those who look to post video content on the many social media platforms out there.
Frankly, you can’t afford to take a risk by using mainstream music on your social media posts, as it will almost certainly lead to a penalty of some sort. Therefore royalty-free music is very much your saving grace.
Barry is a technologist who helps start-ups build successful products. His love for movies and production has led him to write his well-received film explanation and analysis articles to help everyone appreciate the films better. He’s regularly available for a chat conversation on his website and consults on storyboarding from time to time.
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