For any filmmaker, YouTuber, commercial director, or any content creator, royalty free music is a real issue. Music is a key element in any production to convey emotions, and getting the attention of the viewer often involves using impactful background music. However, acquiring quality soundtracks can be expensive, and it’s likely that you can’t afford Hans Zimmer’s fees (yet at least). The answer to this struggle is simple. Here are 10 things to get you started with royalty free music.

1. What is royalty free music?

“Royalty free music” is a term for a music license that works by paying a single fee to use a track as many times as you want, on any media. You do not have to pay any additional fees (royalties) related to the number of views your content receives, or the broadcast type. So, for example, you pay no more royalties to the creator when your YouTube video gets a million views than 200 views.

2. What’s the difference with copyright-free music?

The term “copyright-free music” implies that no copyright is attached – which is theoretically – impossible: every creator owns her art when she creates it. However, a piece of music, according to the law, belongs to the “public domain” 70 years after the death of its creator (although copyright legislation varies from country to country). Even then, a song in public domain is not fully copyright-free since recording royalties are still necessary. Also, people often use the term “copyright-free” music to describe songs under free license such as Creative Commons.

3. Is royalty free music good quality music?

The term “royalty free music” tends to be overused on the internet, and is sometimes looked down on as a music source. However, calling music “royalty free”does not describe the quality, the genre, or the standard of a song. It is legal terminology. Online libraries have been producing quality content free of royalties for years. YouTube Audio Library is not the only place you can find soundtracks for your creations. BAM Music, for example, dedicates itself to offering high-standard music collections.

4. Royalty free music is not free

If you followed up until here, you understand  that royalty free music has a cost. That one-time fee ranges from $5 to  $1500+, all depending on the library, the sound, the desired content audience, legal conditions and terms, etc.

5. Why is everybody talking about it?

Royalty free music has been getting a lot of attention lately, due  particularly to the rising numbers of YouTubers, the continually easier access to online creation, and improving technology in general. Royalty free music has also gained traction in the digital world due to the tightening up of legal policies and increased enforcement of copyright infringement by major platforms such as YouTube and Twitch. It appeared as a solution to get along with copyright algorithm.

6. Is royalty free music a must-have?

We’d be tempted to say yes. Since copyright policy went further on those platforms, it’s essential to get your content in line with the legislation. You don’t want your video to be demonetized, or worse, getting a strike, on YouTube for example. Using royalty free music is also a good way to find the perfect fit for your video content at a price feasible for most budgets. Most online libraries offer “stems” (layers of the track), which basically means that you can modify a sound according to your need, for example, deleting a bass line or adding a vocal track on top. Traditional online libraries often offer customization services.

7. Is royalty free music fair?

At the same time that royalty free music libraries are gaining more and more importance, some may be questioning their fairness. One argument is that this model does not appropriately remunerate music producers. While it is 100% legal, fast, easy and often economical for purchasers, what about the artist? Are they really getting a fair deal for their musical creations? With regards to the sentiment that royalty free doesn’t serve the artist himself, some creators prefer to license using the more traditional system.

8. What’s the alternative to royalty free music?

The alternative would be to create your own sound through DAWs (such as Logic Pro X, or Ableton). But that can be a costly investment, in terms of time and money. An easier alternative is using music licensed under a free license or Creative Commons, such as YouTube Audio Library. One downside is that, as free music, some songs tend to be over-used by content makers, or might be of low quality. In the end, finding a high-quality licensing music library is the safest bet.

9. The limits of royalty free music

Royalty free music does have some limits. Some licenses can be restrictive when they include limits for streams, views or revenue. Many licensors will ask you to update your license if you start making real money on your content.

Additionally, your content becomes outdated as soon as your license expires. That can be very problematic as you will no longer be able to make revenue from it.  Because these limitations are such an issue, there are even companies that now specialize in buying back licenses, effectively stealing creators’ revenues by claiming copyrights.

10. Alternatives for royalty free music

Music providers such as BAM Music offer a variety of sounds designed especially for creators, filmmakers, advertising and media companies and more. The sounds are original and customizable, and the license system is easy to use, simplified for the ease of creators. You can start downloading and using BAM’s catalog right now by registering for free here!