FAQs About Music Licensing for Commercials

A great song can help to make a commercial memorable, but before you throw your favorite track into your new ad, it’s important to know the rules. If you use music that is not properly licensed in your commercials, you could face hefty penalties and fines. Many businesses have questions about how to license music for commercials and what to expect from the process. Here are the answers to some of the questions that businesses have most often about music licensing.

What kind of license do I need to use music in my commercial?

To use music in your commercial, you will need a synchronization license, which is often simply referred to as a sync license, and a master license. The sync license is obtained from the copyright holder of the recording, which is usually the songwriter. A sync license is specific to using music with visual images, as in commercials, television, and film. The master license is available from the person who owns the recording of the music. This can be a record label, the songwriter, or the performer, depending on how the music was released. Most commonly, it is a record label.

How much does it cost to get the licenses?

There is no blanket fee that applies to all sync and master licenses. The price depends on several different factors, including how much of the song will be played and who owns the copyright. As a general rule of thumb, popular songs are more expensive to license than lesser-known tracks. Keep in mind that some copyright holders and master owners won’t approve licenses at all, so not every song is available.

How do I get the licenses?

There are multiple ways to get the licenses. You can track down the appropriate parties for the song and submit licensing requests to begin negotiating prices. You can also use services that have pre-cleared tracks for licensing, who will issue you a license for a set cost. You can avoid the licensing process entirely by using a royalty-free music library, for which licenses are not required.

Film Creations, Ltd. offers full audio recording capabilities and a royalty-free music library, so your commercials can feature memorable music without the expense and hassle of a prolonged licensing process. For more information about video production in Tucson, call (520) 624-4444.