You may have heard of royalty free music or copyright free music. However, you may not be an expert on what these terms mean. Music licensing and copyright protection can be complex topics, but the basic concepts are likely all you need to be concerned with to keep your project protected with safe music choices that won’t land you in legal or financial trouble.
You know what a great feeling it is to finish a creative project and share it with the world. All of your energy and efforts can finally be seen and appreciated! That is, until you are contacted for copyright infringement, unpaid music royalty fees, or unfair use of a music track in your project. No one wants to deal with copyright strikes and threatening emails! But fear not, this stuff is not as complicated as it might seem.
So what can you as a creator do to stay on the right side of the law?
What is Royalty Free Music?
Music, like many works of art, can be reproduced and shared. Sharing music with other people is really the whole point! But because music can be shared, it can also be difficult to protect the rights holders (composers, songwriters, recording artists, copyright holders, and their representatives) and compensate them for their work. That’s where music licensing comes in. When you license a piece of music and pay a fee to the rights holders for the use of their work, that compensation is called a music royalty.
There are many kinds of music royalties depending on the use case, like digital streaming rights or public performance rights. There are also many different entities who might need to be paid, like the recording artist or distributor.
Royalty free music simplifies music licensing and all of the legal and financial complexity that goes along with it. By offering music with all of the rights managed, royalty free music services like Rocket Summer can provide straightforward licensing for one price—leaving you free to focus on your creative project.
What is Copyright Free Music?
Royalty free music is all about simplifying the compensation for rights holders. Copyright free music, on the other hand, means that there are no rights holders at all. The music is free from copyright, meaning that is in the public domain. No entity can have a legal claim on ownership of the music.
As you might imagine, copyright free music is not very easy to find. There are two basic types of music that you might come across that aren’t protected by copyright law. First, there is music that is in the public domain. This generally means that the copyright on the music has expired. As of 2021, this means works that were published in 1925 or before in the US. However, keep in mind that the music in the public domain generally refers to the song or work itself, not recordings of it. Recordings are likely still under copyright protection.
The second type of music you might encounter is anything shared under alternative protection like the Creative Commons license. Creative Commons licensing is a way for artists to share their works freely but retain some rights. There are different conditions that might have to be met, such as attribution (giving explicit credit to the artist), commercial restrictions (inability to make money from your project), or requiring any project that uses the work to also be shared under the same terms.
While copyright free music may seem like a shortcut to getting around copyright rules and licensing fees, it can cause just as many headaches, if not more. And the time you spend sourcing and vetting the music for your project can quickly eat up time you could be spending on creative pursuits instead.
Safe, Sane, Simple Music Licensing
So what’s the best way to navigate all of the complexity of music royalties and copyright protection? That’s where Rocket Summer comes in. We started this service as a way to provide safe music that is simple and straightforward to license without a subscription. Any track you purchase on Rocket Summer is entirely rights-managed, so you never have to worry about music royalties or copyright strikes. Your license gives you the right to use the track in your project worry-free. Want to learn more? Check out our license and pricing to get started.