What Is Royalty Free Music?

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There’s still confusion around what royalty free music is, how exactly to use royalty free music, and what the difference is between copyright free and royalty free music? It’s often a misconception that the music is free to use and that’s what the royalty free music means. You may also see music stating that it has no copyright, and in turn, being used interchangeably with the term ‘royalty free music’. It’s easy to get confused in trying to understand exactly what royalty free music is, especially when you have to consider music licensing in order to monetize royalty free music. So we’ve written this article in order to help anyone who needs music for their creative endeavours but still isn’t sure what exactly, ‘royalty free music’ is or means.


So, what is ‘royalty free music’? And what does it mean?

Royalty free music is a type of music licensing and just means that the purchaser (whether free download or paid) only has to pay once but can use the music for life. If you have downloaded the music for free (and there is no mention of Creative Commons License or similar) then you can download once and use the music for life also.

It doesn’t matter how many visitors your website has, how many listeners your podcast has, or how many views your video gets, you’ll pay once and then you enjoy the freedom to use that music forever!

If you want to create content with professional music then purchasing royalty free music gives you the creative freedom and flexibility that you need. Using royalty free means you don’t have to pay for music on a regular basis, you can use the music as much as you desire and your songs as and when you need to.

Royalty free music licensing means music that is free of having any royalty and is considered to be the opposite of “rights reserved” licensing, where you have to pay again and again to the owner of the music, every time you use it.


Royalty free music is not (always) free

The term may include the word “free” within it, but royalty-free music isn’t (always) free. We say always because there are many sites (including Top Notch Sounds) who do offer free royalty free music downloads. Most (including us) do use Creative Commons Licensing as a caveat in return for the free music, which just asks users to credit the music source or website. However if the music is paid for then the word “free” just means that the music is “free of royalty,” not “free of cost.”. Just like products that are “tax-free”, they’re free of tax, but not free of cost.


Royalty free music and copyright free music are not the same

If you create a piece of music, you own the copyrights to that music. In some cases, some musicians may not mind if you use their music, in cases such as these, you can use their music without any permission. However, the owner of the music still ultimately owns the copyrights to that music. You can use the music freely, without having to pay any money, but you do not own the copyright to that music. Although it is copyright free music, the composer never gives up the performing rights. He or she may want to be paid if their music is going to be used for any public performances, TV shows, movie features etc.


Royalty free music isn’t a particular type of music

There are no boundaries with royalty free music in terms of royalty free music having a certain genre. From classical to heavy metal music, it’s possible to find any type of music that’s royalty free. It’s often a misconception or assumed that royalty free is a certain type, style or genre of music, but, it is in fact, just a type of music licensing.


Royalty free music does not (always) mean low quality music

Despite the quality of the music, anybody can license his or her music as royalty free. It can be professional, average, or a piece of very poor quality music. The licensing methodology does not have anything to do with the quality of the music. The quality of the music depends on the website, library and sources that you choose to buy the music from.


Royalty free music is not (always) cheap music

Once again, people often think that royalty free music is cheap music. But that’s not (always) the case. It’s important to remember that the term ‘royalty free’ is referencing a pricing module of any kind, ‘royalty free’ refers to a licensing method. There are royalty free music songs that range from $10 to $700 and beyond. Many websites also offer subscriptions that can also range from $50 to $300 (and more) per year. So, it’s best to not think of royalty free music as being cheap, because the term royalty free isn’t referring to a pricing structure, but a licensing model.


Royalty free music is not (always) royalty free. Wait… what?

a woman looking at laptop wearing glass looking confused and thinking

As previously mentioned above, a musician has to be paid when their music is to be used for a “public performance”. For example, if you are a TV broadcaster, you cannot use the music without paying for royalties. However, as long as you are not a broadcaster, you do not have to worry about paying for royalties.


Other types of free music sources

While looking for royalty free music on the internet, you might come across some different types of free music sources as well.
Public Domain: Public domain music is a type of music licensing that does not have any copyrights or royalties. This means that anybody can use the song without any cost. Public domain music has generally been released before 1923, or if it’s a recent song, then the composer must have released it as public domain content.
Creative Commons: Creative commons music licensing also refers to music with no royalties, but there are terms and conditions with creative commons music licensing you have to make sure that you include the rights of the music composer in the description of your video or somewhere clearly visible (or audible) within your content.

So (hopefully) now you understand what royalty-free music means, how it works, and why it’s often misunderstood and can be confusing. Understanding how to use legal music sources correctly and how music licensing works is a great strategy for content creators. Failing to fully understand how to use the music you’ve purchased for your video might result in your content being marked as illegal on social media. This can happen due to the music producers having the right to claim for the copyrights. So, before you include music to your video, podcast, or content, make sure that you purchase the music license from a reliable source and/or company.


How can Top Notch Sounds help?

All of our music has been written and produced by our in-house team of professional music composers and we offer a range of royalty free and copyright free songs. Simply pick a song, download it, and start implementing music into your video or projects right away! The licensing and pricing structure is simple, pay the price tag for that song and that’s it, no hidden fees or repeat subscription fees. You’ll be covered to use that song and you can use the song however you want to for your video or audio projects, commercially or non-commercially, with no future inconveniences or headaches.


We store your music downloads for you

We store your music downloads within your account, they will be saved and easily accessible, so if you ever misplace a song, you can simply log in and re-download it.


Enhance your content with empowering music

If you are a content creator and looking for empowering music for your content, we are here for you! We offer royalty free and copyright free music for a range of content creators such as vloggers, marketers, videographers, entrepreneurs, business owners, etc. Capture your audience’s ears, emotions and attention with incredible music encaptivating your audience and enhancing your content and brand’s message.

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