License to Jam: How to Win at Music Licensing

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Music licensing can seem daunting. In order for no one to simply use it for a campaign, it's a good idea to always protect yourself and what you create.

You’re in marketing and you’ve just found a Top 40 hit from years ago that’s perfect for your next campaign. Thankfully, for musicians, the company must gain the rights to use your music. That means no matter what, music licensing should be a priority for all of your music. As a solo artist or band you want to make sure you get royalties if your music should ever be used for a marketing campaign.

It’s important to always be updated on music licensing laws and knowing about it whether for you to use someone’s music or have others use your music.

Going through music licensing may seem like a daunting task, but it’s always better to be informed and safe than sorry, especially when copyright infringements are all too real and all too costly.

As an artist you never want anyone to be able to use your music without you being credited. This is what is helpful with music licensing. It makes it clear that there’s no question of if music licensing should be done. As stock music puts it, “if your music isn’t licensed… anyone can use your music without your permission and without you making any money.”

For those synchronizing or using music to bolster their own business, there’s always the risk that proper protocol wasn’t followed and that those pink papers from the copyright owner will appear in your mailbox.

Musicians who create music run the risk of missing out on rightful royalties or even infringing on someone else’s creative work (ahem, remember that age old technique called sampling?). Like everything, the key to being successful is to know as much as you can about what you wish to do. In order to fully avoid any of these issues, it’s important to make that everything involving royalties and music licensing is properly done. If you do not know how to do this, it’s best to invest in a lawyer so you don’t end up losing money. 

Consider the steps below if you want to protect your tunes or take your professional ventures to the next level with licensed music:

  1. Know What You Want – There are so many ways that licensed music can be used – in business or even your own creative endeavors – so it’s important to know what you want to do so you can understand and execute all related policies and rules to a T.
  2. Don’t Be Afraid to Mix It Up – If you’re using music to bolster your business, there’s many ways to do it. Don’t be afraid to mix it up or consider avenues you may have never considered before.
  3. Research, Research,  Research – Know everything you need to know about music licensing to handle issues that may arise (ie someone who used your licensed music takes advantage of songs you don’t make available for license).
  4. Give Credit Where Due – Make sure credit is given where credit is due and always read anything you sign. After all, you wouldn’t want to sign your hard-earned creative works away to someone else without realizing it.

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