Music has the power to make vlogs attractive, podcasts interesting, and ad campaigns influencing. It can hook the audience and add life to your content. But, as a content creator, you cannot legally use existing music without taking permission from the artist who created it.
So how can you use music without getting copyright claims? It’s simple – by obtaining a music license. In this article, we will discuss Indian music licensing and its types with a focus on sync licenses.
A music license ensures that the original copyright owner of the music receives royalties for their music creation. When someone else wants to use it, they need the legal permission of the copyright owner. The licensed use of copyrighted music will determine the usage and term rights. It also tells other artists how long they can use the original music. Additionally, it ensures that the original artist is compensated well for their work.
The cost of a music license varies depending upon the artist and the track. You will need to get permission from the legal entity representing the work of the artist. It can be a record label, publisher, or music licensing company.
What happens if you don’t use legally licensed music?
Using music in your videos or podcasts without the permission of the author or copyright holder is against the law. Most digital platforms today have technology that prevents the illegitimate use of music.
On YouTube, for example, creators using music without permission often receive Content ID claims that prevent them from monetizing those videos. Additionally, it also affects the reputation of the channel within the digital ecosystem. Repeated unauthorized use of music could result in copyright strikes or the channel being blocked.
Let’s discuss these quickly to give you an idea of the types of licenses.
Master License: The owner of the recording of songs gets the master’s license. They will have permission to use the pre-recorded version of the song. However, this doesn’t allow them to re-record the song for any project. Mostly, it is issued along with a sync license.
Public Performance License: This is the most common music license type used nowadays. It is used to broadcast the music of the artist. It includes music businesses involving stores, jukeboxes, concerts, or any form of public performance. It is managed by performing rights organizations (PROs), including BMI, SESAC, ASCAP, and others. They are also responsible for issuing royalties to the artist.
Prints Rights License: When anyone complies with the printed music sheets, they need prints right license. It refers to a physical copy of the music that the artist has created.
Mechanical License: This license is needed whenever anyone wants to reproduce the artist’s work in the form of CDs or any tangible form. The original artists will make an agreement with the record labels, publishers, and distributors. They will be paid per copy. Additionally, it is needed when you want to use a part of the original song for re-mixing, adding your own lyrics, or changing anything that affects the integrity of the artist’s composition. It is needed for audio-only products.
Theatrical License: Special license is required to perform a copyrighted music piece on the stage in a theatre in front of an audience.
Sync licensing is used when the original music piece is paired with visual media. It refers to an agreement between the user and the owner of the copyrighted song. It allows users to release the song in a video format such as Blu-ray discs, YouTube Music, or DVDs. The permission conferred in this case is also known as sync rights or synchronization rights. Sync licensing is required even if a content creator uses a small portion of a song as a vlog audio.
Sync license is required for studio films, commercials, personal films, streaming advertisements, internal communications, and many more. It ensures payment to the composer of the song.
They are most commonly used for cover song videos, wedding videos, commercials or corporate videos, and YouTube music videos. For instance, vloggers who want to release a promotional video of their work on YouTube with a famous Bollywood song in the background need a sync license.
However, there are some exceptions when you don’t need a sync license:
Getting a music license has become easier for artists. Earlier, it was a lengthy process where one needed to reach out to many stakeholders who licensed each music piece. Nowadays, artists can use digital platforms that offer sync licensing. Here is the list of the best sync licensing websites and music licensing companies in India suitable for content creators:
EpidemicSound: It is a subscription-based service for content creators that help them enhance their content by adding music. They distribute music to platforms and pay artists upfront fees for the music. EpidemicSound provides royalty-free tracks or copyright-free Hindi songs. Additionally, they give a direct license covering all rights and protect the user from copyright claims and other legal negotiations that can come along the way. Content creators can choose the Epidemic sound subscription plan to have access to copyright-free music.
Hoopr: It is the leading music licensing marketplace for content creators, brands & enterprises. Hoopr has 25,000+ tracks and sound effects in Indian languages, too, that can be used to create top-quality and highly engaging video content. It also provides the most affordable subscription plan of Rs. 99 for unlimited downloads.
Soundstripe: It is also a subscription-based platform where content creators can get access to royalty-free tracks for their work. Its subscription covers the cost of every song license, and they continuously add new music to the website weekly.
Artlist: At Artlist, you can get independent artists’ work to meet the specific needs of your projects. The royalty-free Indian music tracks allow indie artists to tap into income from the sync licensing and also expand their reach to new listeners across the globe.
Smartly choose the kind of music license as per the type of content and the audience you want to engage. The kind of music license will also decide the usage, duration, and term rights for the royalty-free music.