A music sync license (or synchronisation license in its longer form) is required whenever you want to use music that you don’t hold the copyright to in a project. On the list below are just some of the occasions where you will need the appropriate sync license to legally use someone else’s music.
- Movies and movie trailers
- Music included in business and personal videos
- Wedding videos
- TV advertising and commercials
- Radio advertising
- Corporate and business presentations
- Games and game trailers
- Network TV and television shows
This list isn’t totally comprehensive, but it provides an overview of the kind of projects that will require a music sync license to legally use existing music you don’t personally hold the rights to.
What Rights Does a Music Sync License Grant You?
When a song is downloaded from sites like iTunes or purchased on a CD, this only gives the purchaser the right to listen to the music for their own pleasure.
A sync license for music allows the purchaser to use that piece of music for the intended purpose for which the license is issued. In other words, if you buy a sync license for Track A to be used in a movie trailer, you are legally allowed to use that piece of music in the trailer. That doesn’t mean you can then use the same music track for all your other projects.
Sync licensing clears the use of music with all the rights holders beforehand, so once you purchase the license you are immediately able to use it for your intended project.
Many people use music they’ve bought on CDs or whatever in projects and videos all the time, without probably realising they actually need a license to legally be able to do this. While some may get away with it on a small scale, there’s no way it’s worth the risk when using someone’s music in a film or TV show.
Sync licensing exists so music can be used for a variety of projects without the need for an outright purchase of the copyright. It also allows that same music track to be used multiple times by different people, rather than just the once. It’s more revenue opportunities for the artist as well as offering so much music to choose from for those people requiring music for their projects.
It really is a win-win.
Getting a Sync License For Music is Easy
With the internet the process of sync licensing music tracks is relatively quick and easy. Licensing sites abound on the world wide web, loaded up with many quality pre-cleared tracks available to be used in all projects imaginable.
Whether you are making an independent film or a blockbuster movie, there is a plethora of ready-made music to choose from. Likewise it’s the same for TV shows, advertising and corporate presentations. Music is everywhere these days.
My favourite music licensing site is Songtradr. It’s very easy to get around their website and the search functionality is extremely accurate, saving you time on your searches looking for something appropriate. Songtradr cover a whole variety of licenses for different purposes and everything on the site is cleared and ready for use.
You can check out the Songtradr music catalogue by clicking their logo below.
Very interesting, i had no idea that a sync license was needed to utilise music in this way on websites or for things like radio adverts.
This website, is awesome for informing people on the finer details for music laws which we all have to follow, so keep up the good work!
I was wondering though, does this apply if you know the band that made the music and they verbally said they don’t mind you sharing their music?
If you know the band and they give you the approval to use one of their songs, then you wouldn’t have to buy a sync license. If the band is signed to a label, then you would also need the approval of the music publishers for that track. I would always get things in writing, though, just to be sure.