Why you should go beyond royalty-free music for your business

Want to find a simple, safe music license for your business? Epidemic Sound’s got you covered. Learn how to take your enterprise beyond royalty-free and keep your content safe.

Epidemic Sound artist Chibi Power
Epidemic Sound artist Chibi Power

If you’re a business looking to soundtrack your content, events, or digital experience, you’ve probably heard of royalty-free music. But is royalty-free music right for you, and is it enough to cover your needs? Let’s take a look. 

Why do businesses use royalty-free music?

Royalty-free music is music that you can use in content without having to pay royalties to artists or rights-holders every time it’s played. It’s convenient.

However, royalty-free music companies aren’t always alone in owning the rights to the music in their catalogs. This means you might still get copyright claims from other rights-holders.

For example, public performance rights — which you need to lawfully play the track in your public content, offline or online — often aren’t included in royalty-free licenses. If you don’t secure the correct rights, you could face surprise fees, takedowns, lawsuits, retroactive royalties to Performance Rights Organizations (PROs), and more.

Epidemic Sound artist Rikard From
Epidemic Sound artist Rikard From

PROs can be particularly tricky. Different countries have their own PROs, each with specific licensing terms and conditions. To clear content for global use, you’d traditionally have to negotiate with — and pay! — PROs in every territory you’re covering. This becomes costly, and if you forget to deal with PROs, you can be held liable for damages — up to $150,000 per song, in some cases. If you go beyond royalty-free and obtain a PRO-free license, you can remove stress and a lot of guesswork.  

Robert Freund, attorney cited by Forbes and Bloomberg

“The difference between royalty-free and PRO-free is very important, because royalty-free can mean a lot of different things. It’s a mistake to think that just because something claims to be royalty-free, that means I can use this content however I want, wherever I want, in any context.”

If you’re interested in more music-related legal tips for your brand, check out Robert’s advice here. 

Epidemic Sound artist Ramiro LR
Epidemic Sound artist Ramiro LR

Why do businesses use Epidemic Sound?

Businesses including Red Bull, Sephora, and Discovery Networks use Epidemic Sound because we provide peace of mind. How? With a direct license.

We exclusively own the rights to each of the 40,000+ tracks in our catalog, including public performance rights. Every song is composed by our signed artists, in collaboration with our in-house production team. This lets us offer you a license including all necessary rights to use the music from our catalog in your content. You can publish it anywhere online, offline, and anywhere in-between — across all markets and platforms. 

And if your publishing needs change in the future? No worries. Regardless of which new platforms your content might appear on going forward, our license is flexible enough to cover all bases.  

Epidemic Sound artist DJ DENZ The Rooster
Epidemic Sound artist DJ DENZ The Rooster

Our bespoke Enterprise plan covers everything included in our Commercial plan, plus a whole lot more. This includes:

  • All rights included for TV, streaming, and advertising 
  • The right to use our music for offline events
  • The right to use our music to soundtrack video games  
  • Multiple user accounts, for your team members and clients
  • Clearance for owned and operated channels, plus influencer or creator channels
  • Dedicated Customer Success Manager
  • Bespoke custom tracks and music supervision for your projects

The Epidemic Sound Enterprise plan goes beyond royalty-free, removing the headache of licensing and freeing you up to do what you do best. You can enjoy the safety of our license hand-in-hand with our massive catalog of 40,000 tracks, covering just about every genre you can think of. You’ll also gain unlimited access to our advanced search functions — finding the right sound’s never been easier. 

Interested? Read more about our Enterprise plan here and hit up our Enterprise team below. 

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How does Epidemic Sound keep the process worry-free?

We keep our licensing agreements clean by paying our artists competitively and fairly. This includes upfront payments between $1,200 and $6,000 for each track; a 50/50 split on all streaming platform royalties, even if the artist no longer works with Epidemic Sound; and a quarterly ‘Soundtrack Bonus,’ which splits an annual pool of $2.5 million between all of our artists. 

We also work closely with our artists, providing feedback on all tracks, mastering their music in-house, and offering support every step of the way. We take the same amount of pride and care toward our artists and catalog as we do our customers — Epidemic Sound’s catalog is a fine-tuned, top-quality resource for which musicians are proud to contribute and businesses are proud to use. 

Members of our production and A&R teams have worked with everyone from ABBA and Robyn to Kings of Leon and Miley Cyrus. Our roster features artists who are Grammy-nominated, have written songs for Eurovision, won American Idol, and played drums for punk bands dressed as Darth Vader — we’re anything but inexperienced.

As a result of our generous compensation model and industry expertise, our artists allow us to hold the rights to their work. The tracks they record for us are in no way affiliated with PROs, so you don’t have to worry about PROs when you use Epidemic Sound. We own the public performance rights, meaning we’re the only people you have to deal with.

Epidemic Sound artists at our 2019 New York Summit
Epidemic Sound artists at our 2019 New York Summit

Which businesses use Epidemic Sound?

We pride ourselves on our relationships with all our users, from amateurs to multimillion-dollar businesses and everything in between. Here are just a few words from some of our Enterprise clients, and why they stand by our worry-free offering. 

Andy Mackenzie, head of audio and films at The Telegraph

“The results from using Epidemic Sound’s music in our videos have been staggering, with longer watch time and higher engagement.”

Stephen Leck, senior film editor at Lululemon

“Prior to working with Epidemic Sound, our music options were often too ‘stock’ sounding, and we’d spend a ton of time going back and forth on track approvals. Because of the high quality of Epidemic Sound’s music, our workflows are much smoother and we can iterate faster to find that perfect track.”

Jakob Osborne Edman, senior global brand and communications manager at Wasa (by Barilla)

“If you look at not only the cost, but also the work that would go into clearing tracks within different regions, and the resources spent reporting use into your local Performance Rights Organization — it’s such a long process. By having a centralized contract with Epidemic Sound that’s paid once a year and gives us access to all of these globally cleared tracks, we’re seeing significant marketing efficiencies.”

There’s so much more to safe music usage than just going royalty-free. Even if you do your homework, it’s easy to miss a certain clause or term of usage — don’t risk your business with a risky license. Go beyond royalty-free with Epidemic Sound and soundtrack your world, your way.

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