How Music Licensing Works

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Whether you're a songwriter, musician or owner of a music label, you'll most likely need to consider licensing your music to others in order to make more money.  If you're a filmmaker, advertiser or working on a television series, you'll likely want to use some piece of music in a commercial, movie, television show, etc.

How does this process work?  The first thing you must do if you want to use a piece of music is make sure you have licensed use of copyrighted music.  This will prevent unnecessary lawsuits, costs and headaches if the rights owner gets wind of the unauthorized use and decides to sue.

Music Licensing Process

Most music rights permission must go through a performing rights organization.  The most well known music rights groups are ASCAP and BMI.  Artists who belong to a performing rights organization collect royalty payments from that organization when someone uses the artist's music in a film, commercial, television show, etc.

Type of Music License

Once the license to use a particular piece of music is negotiated and paid for by the entity that wants to use it, the type of music licensing sought must be figured out.  There are different types of music licensing.  The type of licensing that is agreed upon can affect the availability of a piece of music in different countries and venues such as commercial DVD releases of a TV show.

One type of license is a master use license.  Master use licensing allows a recording of music to be used in a motion picture, such as in the soundtrack.

Music Licensing Legal Help

This article is merely a guide & not a substitute for legal advice.  An experienced music licensing attorney will be able to give specific guidance for your situation and make sure you proceed correctly.

This article is provided for informational purposes only. If you need legal advice or representation,
click here to have an attorney review your case .
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