How to Buy Music for Videos

How to Buy Music for Videos

The world of music and copyright law can get really confusing, especially with all the access you have online to songs by millions of different artists. The most important thing to remember is that if a song is copyrighted, you need to pay or have permission to use it in a video. The idea is that you can’t use music someone else wrote and performed without paying them for their work, which makes sense. Do your due diligence and check to make sure you are infringing on any copyright issues before releasing your video to the public.


Method 1 of 2:
Buying Copyrighted Music

1
Get a synchronization license if you want to do a cover of a song. A “sync” license covers the lyrics and the score of a particular song, which is perfect if you want to do your own version for a video you’re making. [1] X Research source For example, if you want to create a mash-up of original music and Taylor Swift’s “Lover,” you’ll need the sync rights to “Lover” to promote or use your music in the public domain. If you just want to play music at home but don’t intend to release a video or try to make money off of your creation, you’re free to do whatever you want. But as soon as you plan on using a video for monetary gain, for an advertisement, or even just for entertainment, you have to get permission.
2
Purchase both a sync and a master-use license to play a recorded song. The sync license covers the lyrics and the score, and the master-use license covers the actual end-product. So to use a song you hear on the radio or through a streaming service, you’ll need to get both licenses. [2] X Research source Even if you just want to play a few seconds of a song, you still need permission. The cost for various songs differ from song to song and artist to artist. A lot of times, popularity determines how much a song costs. For example, a song by the Beatles may cost $500,000 to use in a video. A song by a lesser-known artist might run $100.
3
Buy a sync license for popular songs through sites like SESAC. SESAC (the Society of European Stage Authors and Composers) is one of the major Performing Rights Organizations that manages the rights to tons of the top musical artists in the world. Out of 30,000 artists and millions of songs, chances are high that you might find what you’re looking for there. [3] X Research source Other organizations, like ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers), BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.), and GMR (Global Music Rights) also hold sync licenses for popular songs. If you don’t find what you want at SESAC, search these other sites next. A lot of these sites, SESAC included, require you to buy a license from them. Some of them have to be renewed annually, while others are just a one-time fee submitted with your application. After that fee, you still have to pay for the license to a specific song. If you can’t find who holds the sync license for a specific artist or song, just contact the licensing representative for that particular artist. Most websites will include that contact info so you can send an email.
4
Purchase a master-use license through the record label that owns the music. This sounds complicated, but all you have to do is find out which record label produced the song you want to use, go to their website, and find the contact information of licensing. Purchasing copyrighted music is a really common thing, so the process is actually fairly straightforward. [4] X Research source For example, if the artist records under Sony Music, go to their website. From there, you can find a link to www.sonymusiclicensing.com, and from there you can submit your request. If you aren’t sure of the record label, you should be able to find that information online. For example, you could search indie artist “Andrew Bird record label” to find the details for who produced each of his albums.
5
Submit your requests for each license and pay any required fees. Remember, you’ll need to submit an application for a sync license and a master-use license separately. Often, you’ll submit an application or request and have to wait for someone to get back to you with a quote for the song. The quote may differ from person to person or company to company, just depending on what the song will be used for and what its reach will be. If you accept the quote, you’ll sign the paperwork, make a payment, and get the needed license. [5] X Research source If the song you want to use includes parts by multiple artists, you’ll have to get permission from the record label of each individual artist. If you don’t get permission, you could face really large fines, have your videos removed from their platform, and potentially incur a lawsuit.
6
Keep records of payments and documents related to your purchase. Just in case you ever get called out for using copyrighted music, you want to be able to easily prove that you are doing so legally. Save emails and consider printing hard copies of documents just so you never lose track of anything important. [6] X Research source Start a file on your desktop and save PDF versions of emails, correspondence, contracts, and other related information.
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Method 2 of 2:
Exploring Other Options

1
Use music that is in the public domain for free. The public domain contains music published in or before 1924. You should double-check the Public Domain Information Project website to make sure the song you want to use is included. If it is, there’s no need to worry about purchasing the rights! [7] X Research source Because a lot of these songs are dated, they may not have the sound you’re looking for. But—you could take one and use parts of it to create something new.
2
Look into Creative Commons material for free contemporary music. The music you access through Creative Commons is usually free, but there may be some stipulations for its use. For example, you may have to agree to not use the song for profit, or you may need to make sure to give credit to the artist. [8] X Research source If you find a song you like, just make sure to carefully read the conditions before using it.
3
Search for “no copyright” music on YouTube for free tracks. When you find music you like, whether it’s for a YouTube video or something else, you just have to click the download link to move it to your computer. From there, you can select that file and add it to your own media. Here are 2 of the more common ways to find accessible music to download from YouTube: [9] X Research source If you’re making a YouTube video, use the YouTube Audio Library, which can be accessed through your creator studio. Check out YouTube channels like NoCopyrightSounds. Make sure to read the description of each video to see what the rules are for using the music. Sometimes there’s specific wording you have to copy and paste into your video's description.
4
Ask an independent artist for permission to use their music for free. Contact them via email, on Twitter, on Instagram, or via other social media platforms. There are a lot of artists who are willing to let you use their music as long as you credit them, and it never hurts to ask! [10] X Research source Check out SoundCloud and Bandcamp to discover some great music by independent artists.
5
Subscribe to a copyright-free music site to browse hundreds of new tracks. This technically isn’t a free option, but it can be a lot less expensive than buying the rights to a single song. Depending on the site, you may have to pay a monthly subscription fee, or you may be able to purchase songs individually. Check out one of these well-reviewed platforms: [11] X Research source Audio Jungle Epidemic Sound Musicbed
6
Purchase “royalty-free” music to pay a one-time fee to use a song. Audio Jungle, PremiumBeat, Pond5, Soundstripe, and Audioblocks are all well-reviewed sites that have millions of songs to choose from. Some songs cost as little as $1, while others may cost $30 or more. [12] X Research source Royalty-free means that you don’t have to pay an ongoing fee or renew a license in order to use a song. You simply pay a one-time fee and use the song however you want. You can use the song you bought as many times as you want, too. There isn’t a single-use limit imposed.
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Method 1 of 2:
Buying Copyrighted Music

1
Get a synchronization license if you want to do a cover of a song. A “sync” license covers the lyrics and the score of a particular song, which is perfect if you want to do your own version for a video you’re making. [1] X Research source For example, if you want to create a mash-up of original music and Taylor Swift’s “Lover,” you’ll need the sync rights to “Lover” to promote or use your music in the public domain. If you just want to play music at home but don’t intend to release a video or try to make money off of your creation, you’re free to do whatever you want. But as soon as you plan on using a video for monetary gain, for an advertisement, or even just for entertainment, you have to get permission.
2
Purchase both a sync and a master-use license to play a recorded song. The sync license covers the lyrics and the score, and the master-use license covers the actual end-product. So to use a song you hear on the radio or through a streaming service, you’ll need to get both licenses. [2] X Research source Even if you just want to play a few seconds of a song, you still need permission. The cost for various songs differ from song to song and artist to artist. A lot of times, popularity determines how much a song costs. For example, a song by the Beatles may cost $500,000 to use in a video. A song by a lesser-known artist might run $100.
3
Buy a sync license for popular songs through sites like SESAC. SESAC (the Society of European Stage Authors and Composers) is one of the major Performing Rights Organizations that manages the rights to tons of the top musical artists in the world. Out of 30,000 artists and millions of songs, chances are high that you might find what you’re looking for there. [3] X Research source Other organizations, like ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers), BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.), and GMR (Global Music Rights) also hold sync licenses for popular songs. If you don’t find what you want at SESAC, search these other sites next. A lot of these sites, SESAC included, require you to buy a license from them. Some of them have to be renewed annually, while others are just a one-time fee submitted with your application. After that fee, you still have to pay for the license to a specific song. If you can’t find who holds the sync license for a specific artist or song, just contact the licensing representative for that particular artist. Most websites will include that contact info so you can send an email.
4
Purchase a master-use license through the record label that owns the music. This sounds complicated, but all you have to do is find out which record label produced the song you want to use, go to their website, and find the contact information of licensing. Purchasing copyrighted music is a really common thing, so the process is actually fairly straightforward. [4] X Research source For example, if the artist records under Sony Music, go to their website. From there, you can find a link to www.sonymusiclicensing.com, and from there you can submit your request. If you aren’t sure of the record label, you should be able to find that information online. For example, you could search indie artist “Andrew Bird record label” to find the details for who produced each of his albums.
5
Submit your requests for each license and pay any required fees. Remember, you’ll need to submit an application for a sync license and a master-use license separately. Often, you’ll submit an application or request and have to wait for someone to get back to you with a quote for the song. The quote may differ from person to person or company to company, just depending on what the song will be used for and what its reach will be. If you accept the quote, you’ll sign the paperwork, make a payment, and get the needed license. [5] X Research source If the song you want to use includes parts by multiple artists, you’ll have to get permission from the record label of each individual artist. If you don’t get permission, you could face really large fines, have your videos removed from their platform, and potentially incur a lawsuit.
6
Keep records of payments and documents related to your purchase. Just in case you ever get called out for using copyrighted music, you want to be able to easily prove that you are doing so legally. Save emails and consider printing hard copies of documents just so you never lose track of anything important. [6] X Research source Start a file on your desktop and save PDF versions of emails, correspondence, contracts, and other related information.
Advertisement

Method 2 of 2:
Exploring Other Options

1
Use music that is in the public domain for free. The public domain contains music published in or before 1924. You should double-check the Public Domain Information Project website to make sure the song you want to use is included. If it is, there’s no need to worry about purchasing the rights! [7] X Research source Because a lot of these songs are dated, they may not have the sound you’re looking for. But—you could take one and use parts of it to create something new.
2
Look into Creative Commons material for free contemporary music. The music you access through Creative Commons is usually free, but there may be some stipulations for its use. For example, you may have to agree to not use the song for profit, or you may need to make sure to give credit to the artist. [8] X Research source If you find a song you like, just make sure to carefully read the conditions before using it.
3
Search for “no copyright” music on YouTube for free tracks. When you find music you like, whether it’s for a YouTube video or something else, you just have to click the download link to move it to your computer. From there, you can select that file and add it to your own media. Here are 2 of the more common ways to find accessible music to download from YouTube: [9] X Research source If you’re making a YouTube video, use the YouTube Audio Library, which can be accessed through your creator studio. Check out YouTube channels like NoCopyrightSounds. Make sure to read the description of each video to see what the rules are for using the music. Sometimes there’s specific wording you have to copy and paste into your video's description.
4
Ask an independent artist for permission to use their music for free. Contact them via email, on Twitter, on Instagram, or via other social media platforms. There are a lot of artists who are willing to let you use their music as long as you credit them, and it never hurts to ask! [10] X Research source Check out SoundCloud and Bandcamp to discover some great music by independent artists.
5
Subscribe to a copyright-free music site to browse hundreds of new tracks. This technically isn’t a free option, but it can be a lot less expensive than buying the rights to a single song. Depending on the site, you may have to pay a monthly subscription fee, or you may be able to purchase songs individually. Check out one of these well-reviewed platforms: [11] X Research source Audio Jungle Epidemic Sound Musicbed
6
Purchase “royalty-free” music to pay a one-time fee to use a song. Audio Jungle, PremiumBeat, Pond5, Soundstripe, and Audioblocks are all well-reviewed sites that have millions of songs to choose from. Some songs cost as little as $1, while others may cost $30 or more. [12] X Research source Royalty-free means that you don’t have to pay an ongoing fee or renew a license in order to use a song. You simply pay a one-time fee and use the song however you want. You can use the song you bought as many times as you want, too. There isn’t a single-use limit imposed.
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