Post-Production : What does Royalty Free Music REALLY mean? by Timothy Andrew Edwards

Timothy Andrew Edwards

What does Royalty Free Music REALLY mean?

This is for anyone involved in the Post Production process. I trust it will prove to be useful information. Would you make a film using entirely stock footage? I didn't think so... There is no such thing as "Royalty Free Music". Music that sees broadcast earns royalties paid by the broadcasting entities (Network/Syndicated, etc) via ASCAP, BMI or SESAC who then distributes the income generated by royalties to their affiliated writer's and publishers. This is at NO cost to the production company or anyone involved within the production company. "Royalty Free Music" is often no more than just a marketing tool to draw you in thinking you can save those last few, precious dollars in your budget OR a sign that the person offering "Royalty Free Music" isn't quite aware of what they are purporting to offer. "Royalty Free Music" sites GENERALLY (but not always) offer substandard production value and dated material that can cheapen your production. Distributors can hear it a mile away and remember your distributor is your first audience and your audience ABSOLUTELY comes first! Cheers! Now get back to locking your film!

Samuel Estes

Thanks Timothy, my sentiments exactly!

Timothy Andrew Edwards

Thank you!

Gokul Salvadi

With royalty free music, the producer need not pay 'sync royalty' or sync fee. But 'broadcast royalty' is paid (not by producers)

Gokul Salvadi

Thanks for the clarification Robin

Timothy Andrew Edwards

EXACTLY, Robin! :-)

Arhynn Descy

Great post, Timothy. I had an experience recently where a friend (who is not a film maker), making a video for a kickstarter campaign, wanted to use royalty-free music off some site because of costs. The track he picked kind of worked. I warned him to check the license and he discovered he couldn't actually use it for broadcast as he wanted. He then decided to ask me to write a bespoke track and pay for it....and was astounded at the difference it made to the video having something bespoke! You're absolutely right...you wouldn't use stock footage for your film, so why the music?

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