Royalty free music (aka buyout production music) is music that can be used for a variety of purposes such as, background sounds, in film and television productions, websites, on hold (telephone) purposes for companies, and relaxation/healing music used as part of wellness programs. Although the word “free” is in the title, royalty free music does come with a price, a purchased license, for use in your productions, as many times as you want with no further payments.
Because you, as the producer have to have permission of the copyright owner to use any piece of music, by paying for the usage of the royalty free music, it is legal transaction. It can be compared to commissioning a piece of music from the composer directly and then they give you permission to use it in your production. Now, let’s say you want to use the royalty free music for a CD project. This means you can produce anywhere from one to ten-thousand CDs for sale and yet only pay a one-time fee to do so. Plus, now the music is yours to use and re-use whenever or however you want in various formats. You can also use the music for TV commercials and radio advertisements, whether they are seen and heard just locally or around the world.
What about background music? Radocy & Boyle defines it as, “any music played while the listener’s attention is focused primarily on a task or activity other than listening to the music.” So, whether you’re shopping, studying or doing anything else while there is music playing in the distance, you’ve got what we call background music. Educational institutions have also found in controlled studies that background music actually promotes learning and helps with students’ retention of important facts and figures.
Royalty free music can also be used for PowerPoint presentations and on web sites, on which games or flash modes are enabled. Businesspeople everywhere have taken advantage of royalty free music and used it to create attention grabbing presentations that help them “make the sale” and keep their clients coming back again and again.
Music On Hold (MOH) is of course the music we listen to when a company puts us on hold while they search through our records or accounts so they can “serve us better”. Many customer service departments utilize this feature as part of their everyday business activities. And although we tend to get annoyed with some of the chosen music we may have to listen to, in the long run, it’s better than silence in most cases, so the next time your subjected to it, try and enjoy it.
Relaxation/healing music has become very much an integral part of treatments in wellness facilities, spas, yoga centers, geriatric homes and critical care units. Combined with other therapeutic techniques, such as aromatherapy, reflexology, massage and exercise, healthcare professionals have found it to be very successful in contributing to the overall well-being of its recipients.
One important thing to remember is that even with royalty free music, you have to report any public performances (basically through whatever means the public can hear the music) that you may be planning to your local Performance Rights Organization. In the USA this would be the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP), the Broadcast Music Incorporated (BMI) and the Society of European Stage Authors & Composers (SESAC). In the UK, it is the Performing Right Society (PRS). Canada, Australia & New Zealand, France, Germany, Spain and Argentina all have their own separate organizations too. The International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC) and Christian Copyright Licensing International (CCLI) are also available.