Here are a few professional tips that will help you know exactly what to look for when it comes to finding the right music for your project.
You’re probably reading this right now because you need to buy some music for an important project or something like that. Perhaps it’s only for the background music and it’s not so high up on the list of priorities, yet you still want to be on the safe side just in case it blows up or turns into a music copyright nightmare.
Royalty-free, or RF music, means you don’t have to pay royalties to the owner for each use. You also don’t need a license, but there are terms. Understanding what “royalty-free” actually means is extremely crucial when it comes to choosing where you source your music from. If you’re still not sure which license is best to use, you’ll definitely want to keep reading.
“It’s just background music.”
Of course, it’s important! Let me explain the difference between “Royalty Free” music and so-called “Free Music”, or “Common Courtesy” music (CC music). When you download “free stock music” or a “free” track and use it for any kind of marketing purposes, chances are, it won’t go very far. Here’s why. ISRC codes and Content IDs.
Have you ever used Shazam or SoundHound to identify a random song you liked that was being played in public somewhere?
Every song has a sound ID that helps detect who the owner is, acting sort of like a fingerprint for music. Nowadays, with the streaming era in fullmotion, Google, YouTube, Spotify, Netflix, and all the other major streaming giants out there like SoundCloud, Tidal and Apple Music; music tracking technology has progressed a lot. A unique ISRC code is automatically assigned the moment any song is registered online for digital (and physical) distribution.
When music is registered for distribution, whether for “free” or with a fee, it is 100% being “tracked”.
YouTube uses its own music tracking system most commonly known as a “Content ID” which can also be applied to video files. If you’ve found a great track on YouTube for free, even if it’s low quality, guaranteed, it’s still being tracked. Sometimes the same song can have multiple IDs assigned to it from various sources. This is another reason why you should insist on using legally licensed music in all your projects. Even if it’s only background music, using legally licensed music is crucial to your project’s long term success.
“But, YouTube has a free music library. Isn’t that enough?”
Yes, BUT! Only on YouTube – as an individual, hence the “creator’s” license. If you only need it for your vlog, then have at it. It’s 100% legal for you to use YouTube’s free music for monetizing your YouTube channel.
As long as it stays only on YouTube, you shouldn’t have a problem, and I say “shouldn’t” lightly because nothing is for free. YouTube still reserves the right to change their terms and conditions without notice. If YouTube decides to terminate an agreement that they have with any particular song, or if they remove the track, there goes your license. YouTube will be able to monetize your videos with ads you can’t control. Still free?
Read the Fine Print
The bottom line is that YouTube’s free music library is strictly intended for using on YouTube. It is not a legit commercial license for business use or meant to be used for any other platform other than on YouTube. It makes sense if you think about it. Besides that, as a creative professional, do you really want to use the same music that millions have already downloaded before you? – Take a look at this…
Check it out. In YouTube’s Creator Studio – be sure to visit their Terms and conditions page at the bottom of the screen of their Audio Library.
As soon as you open the Terms and conditions, the very first sentence states that their “Terms and conditions are subject to” the “Terms of Service” – Which service is that? YouTube, itself, of course.
It then clearly states that you can make money using this music on YouTube; money from views. That’s IT! If you use YouTube, then you must abide by the terms which means you cannot use any free YouTube music for any other reason on any other platform, and definitely not for resale. That last one is important, “not for resale”, meaning it is illegal for business or monetary profit.
YouTube Terms of Service
When you visit the link in the Terms and conditions, the very first sentence states that you may use YouTube’s free music, based on the Terms of service, which translates to “Your relationship with YouTube”. What exactly does that mean? It means everything. YouTube controls all the music and they know how to track it, too. If you were to use their music and sell it for a commercial and it gets detected, or even worse, traced back to you… better call a lawyer (unless you have a license).
The next big thing that you need to know is it also states that YouTube has the right to change the Terms and without notice. That literally means that you do not have any control over the music for your project. Why risk it being removed or monetized by the owner with YouTube ads?
Ultimately, you might have to redo the entire project with new music (hopefully, with a license this time) and reupload it just to regain control. Unfortunately, all of your previous work’s online traction in terms of traffic and views gained cannot be transferred.
If your project hits hundreds of view, there’s a good chance it will be monetized with YouTube ads in the future. Most people don’t care, as long as they get the views, but there’s a lot more money to be gained from ad revenue than there is from just YouTube views. Think about it.
Now that you know everything’s being tracked, here’s how to find the right Royalty-free music license for your project.
Here’s the important part, so listen up! Generally speaking, in the complex world of stock music, there are two types of music licenses available for professional royalty free music licensing.
Individual Licenses and Commercial Licenses. Whichever one you are, you’re still going to need a license for that “simple” background track. Here’s how you can tell which license you need, or better yet, your project needs.
- If you are a business, company, establishment, etc. you will need a commercial license. An individual license (AKA “creator license”) just won’t cut it.
- If the final project is to be published on TV/radio, or if there is any monetary gain (products/broadcast/internet) – individuals are required to own a commercial license.
For example, if the music in a project is published on TV or radio by an individual, they will definitely need a Commercial License, even if there is no monetary gain.
Another reason you may need a commercial license is if the music is being used inside, or, as part of a product which can be marketed or purchased such as video games and software apps. Even if the product is free to use, the music in it will still need to be legally covered.
If there is any commercial use at all whatsoever without a Commercial license, get one!
Now let’s talk about quality, because not everything works.
Studies have shown that music has the power to drive action. The science behind how music can influence our emotions is still but a mystery. Music can naturally help in restoring speech, memory, and other cognitive skills. It’s traditional and cultural, it can bring us to tears or peace and it’s a universal language that is inherent to humankind alone. Did I mention the energy, the “vibes”? Frequencies matter and the music you select can either make or break the entire vibe.
Quality > Frequency
We have two aspects to consider now; quality of production, and selecting the right frequency vibes. The first point is quite obvious as to the logic behind selecting a high-quality track over a track with poor production quality.
The second part, however, pertaining to frequencies, don’t worry too much about this part because we got you covered. Finding a high-quality soundtrack you can work with is way more important. You want a clean, clear, and crispy sound for the best results.
There are hundreds of Royalty-free music stores available today, each with a rainbow of licenses and terms. With thousands of stock music catalogs to browse through and no real guarantee of high quality, where does one begin? The majority of royalty-free music for sale is submitted by individual creators and there’s no real quality enforcement if it is paid to get listed. They might have a few HD tracks, but the rest can very well be rough-cuts and demo versions.
That same music may even be available on Soundcloud for free, so why pay some random site for a bogus service? Usually, the same underground producer who owns that track for sale on one site will have multiple locations for selling and their music on other sites, and that’s fine and all. There’s nothing wrong with promoting your music as an independent producer or artist in as many ways possible.
However, when it comes to creating professional content for commercial intent, it’s best to be on the safe side. There’s no way you can know if the track you’ve purchased is even legal itself. It happens all the time when artists infringe on someone else’s copyright without even knowing. You just can’t be sure with big, music-pool sources that accept paid and non-paid submissions.
Don’t Make This Mistake – Illegal Cover Versions!
As consumers, we will always be more inclined to purchase a song that feels familiar to us since it’s easier to connect with as we might recognize it from before. The biggest mistake is when someone tries to sell a cover version without having a license from the owner to record the cover, let alone resell it. This is why when you select your background music, be sure it’s not an illegal cover version that sounds so good that you buy it without checking if it’s an original work or not. Even if you purchased it, it’s still illegal unless the producer can provide legal proof.
How to Select the Right Frequencies for Positive Vibes
Alright, here’s the part you’ve been waiting for! – What is the best way to gauge which frequency will produce the best results for your project? It’s simple. Positive vibes bring positive results.
Unless you’re project holds a heavy or dramatic message, it’s best to go with something neutral. There is a music genre known as “Corporate Music” or “Motivational Music” and it’s made of uplifting, universal frequencies. This genre of music remains neutral and allows the message to determine the listener’s mood.
Less Is More
If the music is too intense on the emotional triggers, you will want to avoid using it in the background. Royalty free background music for any kind of commercial project works best when it’s barely noticed by the consumer. If the music goes mostly “unnoticed”, that means it worked and they were entranced by the overall production. Afterall, it’s JUST BACKGROUND MUSIC, right? Exactly.
We never really consider how important background music is because that’s just what it is… in the background. However, this concept should always be applied when considering the right track for your project.
There are only a number of promotional music companies that specialize in commercial music production, creating jingles and earworms for TV and radio campaigns that get stuck in our heads. Usually, it takes a very unique individual with a lot of musical talent and business experience to produce the world’s most genius and influential music pieces. Creative sound engineers understand how to create catchy and unforgettable jingles that generate powerful results when it comes to marketing and advertising. Background music also has a recipe, just the same as a jingle.
Why Choose Foximusic? – Glad You Asked!
Considering the above mentioned metrics, our Royalty-free catalog was created to serve you. Our high-quality production music has been engineered by experienced music producers and sound experts and A/B tested for successful results. Designed to make a lasting impression, Foximusic will enhance your project’s overall executive feeling and give it a professional and powerful, winning edge.
Find your perfect production music track on our royalty free music catalog