Direct Licensing: Explained

Direct licensing covers all rights, including public performance. It's made possible by companies owning all economic rights to their music.

Direct Licensing: Explained

Let's talk about direct licensing. In this article, we’ll explain the benefits of using royalty-free music through direct licensing – whether you’re a music creator or a content creator.

What is direct licensing?

If you get a direct license for royalty-free music, you can use the track in content without paying royalties to artists or rights holders every time it’s played. But royalty-free music companies aren’t always alone in owning the rights to the music in their catalogs, meaning you might still get copyright claims from other rights holders and lose the right to monetize your content when you publish it on digital platforms.

Confusing, right?

‘Royalty-free’ refers to the license with which you obtain the music – not the music itself. It’s an easy mistake to make. In turn, the license concerns which parts of the copyright are covered, rather than the actual track. This is why it’s extra important to check the license covers everything before you publish soundtracked content on public platforms like YouTube, Facebook and Instagram.

Why direct licensing?

Direct licensing is usually chosen for one of two reasons:

  1. Music creators are confused. They don’t know when and where their music is used. They’re also frustrated because they aren’t compensated for it.
  2. Content creators in need of soundtracks are equally frustrated by the uncertainty and risk-taking around licensing. They don’t know if using a track in their content will get their video blocked, muted or taken down.

Direct licensing solves both problems.

  1. Music creators are paid upfront for their work, meaning they can focus on new music instead of complex deal structures. They transfer the rights to a company purchasing the music, but can still receive royalty payments in the future. For example, at Epidemic Sound, our model ensures artists are paid fairly. We pay music creators upfront, split streaming revenue 50/50, and annually distribute a $2M Soundtrack Bonus to our artists, based on the performance of their tracks.
  2. Content creators who acquire royalty-free music through a direct license are given all necessary rights, without having to worry about problems with copyright.
what is direct licensing

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

Royalty-free music companies that don’t offer a direct license may include synchronization rights, but rarely have the full package of rights required. This leaves content creators responsible for paying for the rest.

Direct licensing is a one-stop shop for all the rights you need to publish soundtracked content. Synchronization rights, mechanical rights and public performance rights? All included. Additional fees or royalties? Forget about it. That’s what Epidemic Sound offers users. Check out our catalog of 40,000 royalty-free tracks and 90,000 sound effects below.

How does direct licensing work?

A direct license covers all rights. It’s made possible by companies owning all rights to the music in their catalog, like Epidemic Sound. One upfront payment – or recurring, if you subscribe – gives you access to a huge selection of high-quality, royalty-free music to be published on your platforms.

What are the benefits of direct licensing, plain and simple?

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.

With Epidemic Sound, you can publish your soundtracked content anywhere online, royalty-free and worry-free.

Get started with Epidemic Sound below and start soundtracking the world.

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