Royalty-Free Music vs Direct Licensing

Royalty-Free Music vs Direct Licensing

Do you need help navigating the legal and practical aspects of using copyrighted music in your audio-visual projects? This article will provide answers to your questions and show you the benefits of using royalty-free music and direct licensing. Find out how to ensure your videos are copyright compliant and avoid potential claims with our comprehensive guide.

Copyright must be taken into account when choosing music for any audio-visual project. Copyright rules give authors exclusive rights to their music and protect it from infringement. However, it might not be required or even possible to buy all usage rights to songs protected by copyright. Instead, music licenses are granted in accordance with the song's intended use. This can lead to problems such as negotiating with multiple intermediaries, high costs, and a complex process to acquire the necessary licenses.

Using royalty-free music as an alternative is more affordable, simpler to obtain, and easier to license. It's crucial to keep in mind that not all music licensing sites offer a direct license, which protects against any copyright claims. In this article, we'll go through direct licensing in more detail and explain how using royalty-free music might help you avoid copyright disputes.

Understanding The Concept Of Music Licenses

A music license is a legal contract that lets you use a song for a certain purpose and for a certain amount of time. It states what you can and can't do with the music track and what rights the license covers. Depending on the intended use of the song, different types of music licenses may be required, such as:

  • Mechanical license
  • Print license
  • Theatrical license.
  • Sync license
  • Master license
  • Public performance license

But you should know that not all of these licenses may be needed for a certain project. For example, you would only need a sync license, master license, and public performance license to use a copyrighted song in a YouTube video. It's also important to know that you need the same licenses to use royalty-free music from online platforms. It is important to remember that before selecting a music platform, you should be aware of frequent issues that may develop.

Royalty-Free vs Copyright-Free Music: What's the Difference?

Royalty-Free vs Copyright-Free Music

Royalty-free and copyright-free are sometimes used interchangeably, however, they pertain to two distinct ideas. Royalty-free indicates that a licensee may use a work without holding the copyright or paying per-use fees, while copyright-free indicates that the copyright has expired or a third party has gained the right to use the work.

If you wish to use copyrighted music on your YouTube channel, for instance, you may be required to pay a charge based on parameters such as the amount of plays or subscribers, and the licensing time may be restricted. With royalty-free music, on the other hand, you often pay a flat fee for the license and may use the music as much as you want within the conditions of the license. Notably, “royalty-free” refers to the license, not the music itself.

An Explanation Of Direct Licensing

performing rights organizations

Direct licensing refers to obtaining permission to use music by paying upfront fees instead of backend payments from performing rights organizations (PROs). It allows for the use of all necessary rights, including public performance rights, to use the music in your content without the risk of copyright claims, muted videos, blocked profiles, or other penalties. By obtaining a direct license for royalty-free music, you have complete freedom to distribute it on any platform and in any country without dealing with any additional copyright, royalty, or performance rights issues.

Benefits Of Direct Licensing

Direct licensing is a solution for music composers and content creators who face obstacles while using music and being compensated for. It permits music producers to get paid upfront for their work and surrender full rights to the entity acquiring the song while still having the option to collect future royalties. Meanwhile, content creators may obtain royalty-free music with all required rights, including public performance rights, therefore reducing the danger of complaints, blocks, or copyright strikes on their work.

Epidemic Sound: The Best Choice For Direct Licensing

Epidemic Sound The Best Choice For Direct Licensing

Epidemic Sound is a top choice for direct licensing of music for audiovisual projects. The Swedish company, established in 2009, boasts over a decade of experience in providing high-quality music. Its extensive music library, which is continuously growing, features a vast selection of over 90,000 sound effects and 35,000 music tracks all created by renowned independent artists. All of the music on the platform is licensed directly.

Subscription Options For Epidemic Sound

Epidemic Sound provides its customers with three subscription options: Personal Plan, Commercial Plan, and Enterprise Plan.

  1. The Personal Plan is for people who make content for their own use, like podcasters and content creators.
  2. The Commercial Plan is made for businesses and freelancers who are working on commercial projects.
  3.  The Enterprise Plan is for media outlets, publishers, and broadcasters needing a customized solution. Choose the plan that works best for you, and you'll be able to listen to licensed music.

How Direct Licensing Works

Direct licensing gives full rights to music for a one-time payment or a subscription fee. This is possible because companies like Epidemic Sound own all the rights to the music in their library. With a direct license, you have access to a wide range of high-quality, royalty-free music that can be used on your platforms.

How Epidemic Sound Direct Licensing Works

Epidemic Sound's direct licensing allows for the platform to provide full rights to all the music in its catalog. Unlike other platforms that only offer sync and master rights, Epidemic Sound is the exclusive owner of all financial rights to its music. This means that users can use all the music on the platform without having to acquire additional licenses.


Obtaining quality music and using it legally in your projects can be made simple. However, to avoid any surprises or additional costs, it is important to be selective about where you download your music from and understand copyright rules and music licensing. Using royalty-free music is a more cost-effective, straightforward, and compliant option as compared to obtaining direct licenses. It's also important to note that not all music licensing sites offer direct licenses, which safeguard against copyright claims.

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