Royalty free music comes in various forms and usually covers all the known genres of music. Its usage allowances are widely-considered to be the most convenient for the majority of production and media companies. Most royalty-free music is specifically created in order to fit a specific use, be it on the television, radio or film, as well as for use in computer games. They are often specifically composed to capture the mood and theme of a particular media production.
Different libraries have various unique ways of offering their royalty free music to the market place. This means that the terms and conditions offered vary from one library to another. It is important to find out how each of them work. There are some libraries that allow usage of this music over and over again, once it has been purchased. This approach is confined to small scale projects. However, when it comes to large scale usage, usually by high end users like TV advertisement copmanies, additional licensing is required even for royalty-free music. Other libraries use the traditional form of licensing where a buyer pays per use of a particular piece of music. This form of usage is also known as a needle drop licensing system.
The royalty of the music is acquired via a very straightforward process. It is mainly obtained from payments that broadcasters pay in order to broadcast music. This payment is used to acquire a license which is usually provided by a performing rights organization. This is a body established by musicians, music publishers and the royalty free music libraries under one global umbrella. For accountability purposes, broadcasters like CNN and BBC keep a record of which music they have used by filling in cue sheets.
These are forms which are designed to track the music they have used, and it helps when it comes to auditing or if there is an investigation into copyright issues. Its components include the name of the music, name of the program for which it is used, how the music is specifically used, the length of time it is used and the number of times it is used. These are a way to track the music usage in order to define what royalties need to be paid. Subsequently, the cue sheets are presented to the performing rights organizations who calculate the amount of royalty owed. This will be shared by the musicians, the music library and the publishers accordingly.
It is advisable for big productions to use royalty free music instead of commercial music. This is because it is simpler and faster to organise such usage. They will be spared the need to look for the holder of the copyright, then apply for legal rights to use the music. This saves valuable time, as well as saving costs. Furthermore, it will prevent disappointments during film production when the producer has to get rid of a piece of music in a film due to copyright issues. In simple terms, royalty free music aims to serve the same needs that commercial music would have served but with easier working practices.