Many companies offer what they call ‘royalty-free’ music. But there are many misconceptions and incorrect assumptions around this phrase that do not match the legal reality. Read on to understand what using ‘royalty-free’ music does – and doesn’t – mean for users.
The most accurate definition of ‘royalty free’ is music that is licensed with a single fee and includes unlimited uses. However, contrary to common perception, most royalty-free music is not 100% free of any rights whatsoever.
A little history…..
“Royalty free” originally had nothing to do with music royalties at all. The term first started being used by stock photography and footage suppliers who offered media one of two ways:
– Rights Managed: content that must be licensed for each individual use
– Royalty Free: content that needed to be licensed only once with unlimited future usage.
Eventually, some stock photography/footage suppliers began offering production music and continued to use the term ‘royalty free’ to communicate the licensing method. The term was eventually adopted by many other music suppliers. This was an unfortunate migration of the term and creates a fair amount of confusion for content creators.
- Using ‘royalty free’ music eliminates the need to pay royalties to a PRO (ASCAP/BMI etc.).
Content creators are not responsible for paying royalties to a PRO regardless if the music is royalty free or not. Exhibitors are responsible for securing the performing rights, and they are defined as anyone that plays music publicly, such as a streaming service, radio station, or concert venue. See infographic linked (and also below) for more on exhibitors and content creators.
- Using ‘royalty free’ music eliminates any hassles or legal issues.
This is often not the case. Many royalty free suppliers do not include proper indemnification or carry E&O insurance. There are additional concerns when the supplier is a crowd-sourced aggregator, such as copyright integrity and digital detection conflicts.
- Composers of ‘royalty free’ music never receive royalties when their music is publicly performed.
Not true. All musical works registered with a performing rights organization (PRO) pay out royalties when usage is properly reported.
- ‘Royalty Free’ music is never registered with a performing rights organization ( PRO ).
Not true. The overwhelming majority of royalty free offerings are indeed registered with a PRO.
TL;DR. Always check the license and/or ask for clarification whenever a company claims its music is ‘royalty-free’.
NEARLY HALF OF ALL MUSIC PLAYED ON BROADCAST & CABLE TV IN U.S. IS PRODUCTION MUSIC
Data Shows Production Music as the Dominant Source of Music for Media
Los Angeles, CA — A recent study by leading music data company BMAT Music Innovators found that more than 46% of all music played on top broadcast and cable television networks is production music identified by BMAT’s technology. The report, which looked at 47 high-rating TV channels identified by the Production Music Association over the period of February 11 – March 14, 2022, showed that production music was used 6.5 times more than commercial music on those networks during this period.
Additional findings identified that music is used in 39% of total air time on the selected U.S. channels, with the highest music usage occurring in lifestyle, documentary and reality TV channels. Unclassified music comprises 47% of music usage, which includes, but is not limited to, commissioned music, film and TV scores, catalogs owned by the broadcasters, as well as any production music libraries who do not have their music in the BMAT system at the time of the monitoring. Commercial music made up 7% of the music usage in the channels analyzed. The full report is below.
“The BMAT study indication that production music represents over 46% of the music used on key networks is in itself a powerful demonstration of the value and importance of production music to the television and advertising industries,” says Adam Taylor, President of APM Music and Chairman of the Production Music Association. “It is also important to note that if all libraries were in the BMAT system, this percentage would be far higher. Production music is specifically written in service of the moving image, and it is clear that our music plays a vital role in the success of modern programming.”
“The findings of this survey validate that production music is the dominant source of music on broadcast and cable TV, making up almost half of all music usage. We are thrilled to see these results, and this study firmly establishes our industry as an integral part of the media landscape, while confirming what we’ve known intuitively for years,” says Production Music Association Executive Director, Morgan McKnight.
“This is a highly competitive market, with all the major labels and countless independents vying for market share. As a result, the creative level of libraries has risen dramatically over the last decade, becoming just one of the reasons why so many of the world’s most successful companies choose production music every day,” said Joe Saba, Co-Founder of VideoHelper and Vice Chairman of the Production Music Association. “On the tech side, production music has led the way in many areas, including YouTube monetization, music search, digital music detection, and even AI-based music categorization.”
“BMAT helps individual production music libraries to drive their business and get paid what they deserve. In this case, we made available our capabilities to the Production Music Association, going one step further to support the production music community. Our extensive music database mixed with our in-house developed audio fingerprinting technology and thorough data analysis experience were key to demonstrating something that many of us presumed – the importance of production music on TV and its massive contribution to at-home entertainment,” said Luis Ruano, VP of Rights Admin at BMAT.
As the library business continues to stay at the forefront of creativity and technology, this annual report will track production music usage year over year. With the constant adaptation and development of this industry, the Production Music Association expects production music usage to increase each year. The Production Music Association continues to fight and advocate for fair payouts and accurate reporting for the community.
ABOUT PRODUCTION MUSIC
Production music is heard everywhere – in major motion pictures, on streaming platforms, in major league sporting events, and is pretty much everywhere on the internet.
Production music is what used to be known as ‘stock music’. It is different from traditional “commercial”music in that it is specifically composed for use in media productions, typically as part of a catalog of music made available for immediate licensing and where the publisher and recording owner are the same entity.
ABOUT THE PRODUCTION MUSIC ASSOCIATION
The Production Music Association (PMA) is the leading advocate and voice of the production music community. We are dedicated to advancing the unique value of production music and working together to ensure a better future for our community.
We are a non-profit organization counting over 670 music publisher and composer members. Major labels, independent boutiques, emerging composers and well-known Grammy™ winners are all part of our membership. Together, our members account for over 2,000,000 individual copyrights. PMA music is heard daily in every country around the world.
Our goal is to provide to all our members the education, support and advocacy needed to support their careers and enhance the value of their craft.
The PMA hosts the annual Production Music Conference in Los Angeles, which has become the global gathering place for the industry.
ABOUT BMAT MUSIC INNOVATORS
BMAT is a music innovation company with a mission to index all music usage and ownership data. They help all different companies in the music industry better their data operations to make sure artists get paid for their plays. Every day BMAT delivers 27 billion matches and 80 million identifications to CMOs, publishers, record labels, broadcasters and DSPs globally.
Every day, BMAT monitors over 7000 radio and TV channels, matching against their database of 92 million unique audio fingerprints. BMAT tracks and processes over 168,000 hours of music on radio and TV, and processes music usage reports from +80 DSPs, generating up to 27 billion music matches per day., music longer than 2 seconds with 99.9% accuracy in clean audio environment, and with 93% in distorted environments.
Driven by machine learning and copyright expertise, BMAT’s Music Operating System pumps neutral data and authoritative knowledge to everyone along the chain. Everyone who makes or uses music can plug in to ease operations, increase earnings, and get in sync with everyone else.
Los Angeles, CA — The Production Music Association is pleased to announce ORFIUM as the presenting sponsor of the 2022 Production Music Conference, to be held September 21-23, 2022 in Los Angeles, CA.
“ORFIUM’s dedication to helping music creators protect and monetize their work on UGC platforms is incredibly important as the need for effective digital licensing grows” said Morgan McKnight, Executive Director of the Production Music Association. “We’re thrilled they will be joining us as the PMC presenting sponsor for 2022.”
ORFIUM offers the most powerful automated license clearance software on the market – Synctracker – ensuring your customer’s licensed music use won’t get claimed, while capturing all revenue from unlicensed usage of your music. UGC platforms lack a mechanism to proactively clear licensed use of music on a video-by-video basis. Most companies address this problem by either not monetizing UGC content or by whitelisting entire channels. ORFIUM is solving this problem with Synctracker.
Synctracker is the only solution that programmatically checks each video for licensed music usage before a claim is placed. It is able to distinguish between licensed and unlicensed usage of music, allowing rights owners to monetize true UGC. The API provides for seamless integration with both UGC platforms and your website, managed web application or CRM.
“Sync licensing is seeing huge growth across the UGC, Digital, TV and Film space, with creators desperate to find legitimate ways of licensing the best music catalogues. We are delighted to be working with the Production Music Association and its partners on what should be an incredible conference,” said Francis Keeling, Executive Vice President of Business Development at ORFIUM.
ORFIUM will also join the Production Music Association community on Tuesday, August 23rd from 10am-11am PT for a virtual meet & greet networking and presentation session. You can get more information and RSVP at www.pmamusic.com/events
Megatrax – Remote
High growth sales opportunity licensing music for corporate/enterprise clients. Join a great team at an established, reputable, innovative production music company pitching music, developing new business and seeking out new licensing opportunities. Salary plus commission and benefits, work from home. Must have 5+ years outside sales and account management experience with a proven track record of new business development and sales success. Music or media production industry experience preferred.
Megatrax – East Coast
High growth sales opportunity licensing music for advertising, brands and film/TV/video productions. Join a great team at an established, reputable, innovative production music company pitching music, developing new business and seeking out new licensing opportunities. Salary plus commission and benefits, work from home. Must have prior experience in sync licensing and music pitching for advertising and brands, and a successful track record in sales and business development. East Coast-based candidates preferred.
The Production Music Association strongly condemns the abhorrent and inhumane Russian invasion of Ukraine. War has no place in this world, and we stand with the people of Ukraine as they so boldly and bravely fight back against this brutal attack on democracy and human rights.
Our hearts go out to our friends, colleagues, family, and community members that have been impacted by this war.
PMA Publisher Members below have made their catalogs (or portions of their catalogs) available on a gratis basis for licensing to Ukraine-related humanitarian/non-commercial productions. The following libraries can be contacted at the email address listed.
- APM Music – please contact Chad Elbert at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Konsonant Music – please contact Andrew Gross at email@example.com
- BMG Production Music – please contact Darrel Shirk at firstname.lastname@example.org
- 11One Music – please contact Randy Wachtler at email@example.com
- 4 Elements Music – please contact Akari Hashimura at firstname.lastname@example.org
- VideoHelper – please contact Maura Murphy at email@example.com
- Howling Music – please contact David Grow at firstname.lastname@example.org
- de Wolfe Music – please contact email@example.com
If there are any additional publishers within our community that are also offering catalog(s) for usage, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can add you to this list.
Additional Resources to Help Ukraine (via ASCAP & CISCAC)
Part-time, Remote Position
Led by Emmy-winning composers and music publishing entrepreneurs Joel Goodman & Frederik Wiedmann, Icon Trailer Music is a production music catalog distributed worldwide by Universal Production Music. We are a friendly team of professionals creating award-winning epic music for use in trailers, tv promos and programming, advertising and more.
We are looking for someone to oversee and coordinate all aspects of production for our catalog.
• Research current trends in the trailer industry
• Meet with exec producers to establish album concepts and production schedule
• Create project briefs, hire composers and oversee production
• Prep final deliverables for post-production
• Coordinate with mastering engineer, music editor, meta-tagger, and graphic designer
• Oversee all post-production and coordinate final album delivery
• Post-delivery admin – invoicing, internal record keeping, etc.
• Prep marketing materials
• Oversee organization and backup of all assets
• Help fulfill various needs/requests from distributors, as necessary
• Experience in the trailer music industry, preferably as both composer and producer
• Prior experience in the production music industry
• Strong communication skills
• Working knowledge of Microsoft Excel, Google Docs and other software
• Diligent, efficient and highly detail-oriented work habits
• A self-starter who can work independently with little to no supervision
• Fluency with current trends
• Honest, trustworthy and respectful with a positive can-do attitude
• Ability to work remotely
• Part-time position
• Nice group of successful, creative people
• Salary commensurate with experience
• Hours are flexible/deadline-oriented.
• Must produce a minimum of 7 albums per year.
The Production Music Conference returns to Downtown Los Angeles this fall. The event will likely consist of virtual components and in-person components, with further details to be announced soon. For the latest on PMC 2022, be sure to visit https://pmamusic.com/events/pmc-2022/
Just how important is music to movies?
Not too important, according to the producers of the upcoming Academy Awards, who have decided to relegate the score Oscar — along with seven other categories — to an off-air segment prior to the three-hour telecast.
It is a slap in the face to the hundreds of composers, arrangers, orchestrators, musicians, engineers and other professionals whose work provides the emotional foundation for so much of today’s cinematic storytelling.
Anyone who saw “Dune” in a theater knows that it was an immersive experience of sight and sound, the latter led by an evocative, powerful soundscape created by musicians and singers. Even if you watched “Encanto” at home on Disney Plus, you were entranced from start to finish by the authentic musical sounds of Colombia. The music of “Don’t Look Up,” “Parallel Mothers” and “The Power of the Dog” was also recognized by Oscar’s music branch as making a significant contribution to what we watched and how we felt during those films.
Read the full article at https://variety.com/2022/awards/opinion/oscars-original-score-music-left-off-telecast-1235188124/