Let's talk about direct licensing. In this article, we explain the benefits of royalty-free music through direct licensing for both music- and content creators.

What is direct licensing?

Royalty-free music through direct licensing gets you all rights required to use the music in content. This means you can distribute it across platforms and countries without having to deal with copyright, royalties or public performance.

Why direct licensing?

For two reasons:

  1. Music creators are confused because they don’t know when and where their music is used, and frustrated because they aren’t compensated for it.
  2. Content creators in need of music for their content are equally frustrated by the uncertainty and risk-taking around licensing and using music in their productions.

Direct licensing solves both problems.

  1. Music composers get paid up-front for their music and can focus on new music instead of complex deal structures. They transfer all economic rights to the company purchasing the music, but can still get royalty payments in the future. For example, at Epidemic Sound, we split all royalties collected from music streaming platforms 50/50 with the composer, even if they no longer work with us.
  2. Content creators using royalty-free music through a direct license get all rights required in one license, including public performance. When uploading soundtracked content to public platforms, like YouTube, the uploader needs to pay for public performance rights for the music used. Uploading without public performance rights means risking getting a claim, block or copyright strike.

What’s the difference between royalty-free and direct licensing?

Royalty-free music companies that don’t offer a direct license often include synchronization rights but rarely cover public performance rights. This leaves the customer responsible for paying public performance royalties or risk getting their content claimed, muted or blocked.
Direct licensing is like a one-stop-shop. Direct licensing covers all necessary rights, including public performance, for you to use the music in your content and publish it on public platforms.

Remember, "royalty-free" relates to the license with which you obtain the music, not the music itself. In turn, the license is about what parts of the copyright it covers. When purchasing a license to use music in content that you want to publish on public platforms, you need to make sure that license includes all necessary rights to do so.

How does direct licensing work?

A direct license covers all rights, including public performance. Direct licensing is made possible by companies owning all economic rights to the music in their catalog, like Epidemic Sound. One upfront payment, or recurring if you’re subscribing, lets you use an entire library of high quality music in content to be published on public platforms, like YouTube.

For music creators: payment upfront and peace of mind.
For content creators: freedom of choice and value for money.
For everyone: less risk and more time to create.


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