Information on royalty free music

What is royalty free music?

Royalty free music is music whose rights are not managed by a performing rights organization. This is the case if the author of a music title is not a member of a performing rights organization. The use of royalty free music is often cheaper for the customer, since no performing rights organization needs to be co-financed. In addition, the licensing process is generally much more unbureaucratic and thus much faster and more transparent.

Performing rights organizations

What exactly do performing rights organizations (PROs) do?

The pieces musicians compose are automatically copyrighted as their intellectual property under German law. Only the author may grant permission for the music to be used for commercial purposes (a so-called usage license). However, since a professional musician hardly has the means to monitor all media to check whether his protected compositions are being used, he can entrust a performing rights organization with this task. In turn, the performing rights organization carries out inspections in restaurants or at trade fairs to check whether the copyrights of its members are respected, i.e., whether written permission has been given by the artist or a performing rights organization for the public performance of the piece for commercial purposes. Such permission (or license) must be purchased from the performing rights organization. The revenue from these license sales is then distributed to its members by means of a complex system.

Royalty free music

What is royalty free music?

Not all musicians, composers or music publishers are members of a performing rights organization, preferring to retain sole control of their compositions. In such cases, licenses for the public performance of a piece for commercial purposes must be obtained directly from the artist himself or from a representative such as musicfox.

Advantages of royalty free music

As a rule, the use of royalty free music is very cost-effective, since no performing rights organization needs to be co-financed. In addition, the authors are completely free to structure the tariffs for which they grant a user license. Therefore, the terms of use are far more flexible and purchasing usage rights is simple and unbureaucratic.

Licensing royalty free music is generally quick and easy when ordering online. After completion of the order process, a one-time payment is made, after which no further costs are usually incurred. The customer thus has to deal with much less paperwork and can purchase the rights to use music at very reasonable rates.

Legally safe use of royalty free music

When a royalty free music title is licensed, the provider gives the customer an exemption document in addition to the usage license. In the exemption document, the composer of the musical title is named, and written confirmation is given that the author is not a member of a performing rights organization and that the music title is royalty free.

The exemption document is an important legal document, since it serves as proof of exemption from royalty fees in the event of an inspection.

Professional quality of royalty free music

Exemption from royalty fees is, in itself, no indication of the quality of the music. Nevertheless, royalty free music is still firmly linked to low-quality music in many people’s minds. This is due to the origins of royalty free music, for which this was often the case.

In the meantime, however, a large repertoire of royalty free music has developed, which is in no way inferior in terms of quality to the repertoire which is subject to royalty fees. musicfox’s repertoire of royalty free music is produced by a professional and experienced composer team and utilized by well-known companies such as Mercedes, Nestlé or Deutsche Bank. For examples of movie soundtracks with royalty free music from musicfox, please see our References page.

Music collection