A license is a legal document between two parties, i.e., a licensor and a licensee, wherein the property owner permits another party to use their copyright, brand, or trademark. Licensing your music grants permission for other people to use your music in their work. This use could be within TV, films, commercials, remixes, etc.
From an artist, producer, and songwriter’s perspective, the licensing process protects your copyrighted works from plagiarism and ensures you get paid when others your intellectual property. Additionally, since all potential uses are subject to approval or denial at the rights holder’s discretion, the integrity of your work is protected.
From a licensee perspective, going through the necessary channels to obtain a license to use copyrighted works protects you and everyone associated with your project from being sued for copyright infringement and, in many cases, being required to remove the project from all outlets, which can result in a lot of wasted time and money.
Using copyrighted music without permission could constitute a violation of US copyright law. As a result, the rights holder can go after you for copyright infringement. If the rights holder decides to resolve this in court, the damages awarded in copyright infringement cases are typically much more significant than what the license would have cost initially.
When a potential licensee (you) identifies a work they would like to use, they must contact the rights holder to obtain permission. A negotiation regarding the terms and conditions of the use then takes place. A license will be issued if amicable terms are reached, and the licensor approves the use.
If you have additional questions about licensing music, feel free to contact us using the Inquiries form above.
- Mechanical License: Allows the holder to reproduce or sample the work.
- Performance License: Allows the holder to perform the song in a venue. (This also includes playing a recording of a song in a venue.)
- Synchronization License (“Synch” License): Allows the holder to use the recording in a movie, commercial, or other audiovisual work.
In most instances, there are two components to using music, especially when synchronized to your own video or when sampling. You need to reach out to the copyright holder and the owner of the copyrighted song. In many cases these are not the same party.
The US Copyright Office database is a great starting point for figuring out who you need to contact.
There is no set cost for a music license. Many factors are considered when determining licensing fees and every project is unique. Some items often considered include:
- How much of the work are you using?
- Where will the work be shown/distributed?
- How long are you planning on using the work?
- What kind of license do you need? (see above for more info)
If you are interested in licensing a work from our database and are curious about how much a license would cost, please fill out the Licensing form at the top of the page.
In short, no. If you want to utilize someone else’s original music for any purpose (commercial or editorial), you must obtain a license. Whether or not the rights holder charges you a fee is at their discretion, but you are not generally exempt from fees.
Right here! Although many companies offer licensing services, very few organizations have the expertise and success CMG Worldwide has gained over the years. CMG has over 43 years of licensing experience with esteemed organizations worldwide.
If you would like to license your music, reach out to us using the Inquiries form above.
Our music library comprises an eclectic mix of songs, with playlists curated to fit any sound you need. Click on the CMG Music logo to view our playlists and preview our extensive library. To view our whole library of music, click the Audio Library tab at the top of the screen.
*This Q&A is intended to serve as a general guide for frequently asked questions regarding music licensing. This is in no way legal advice and should not be construed as such.