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Why Using Copyright Free Music for Your Film or TV Project Isn’t the Smartest Option


In an ideal world, a filmmaker or social media influencer would freely use any song or track they felt would enhance their project or production. They do so at no cost and with no danger of ramification or criminal proceedings and with the full blessing of the writer of the music in question.

Sadly, we don’t live in an ideal world.

When it comes to putting together the score for your project, whether it’s a feature film or a 90-second social media post, you’ll want to use the best resources available to find the best music that most effectively complements your visuals and the narrative or the story you are telling.

You will have perhaps heard of the use of copyright-free music, but in practice, such a resource isn’t really an option and is far less plentiful than you might suspect.

Music Without Copyright

Perhaps for budgetary reasons, you are looking to use music that has no copyright, but the fact is that such a thing doesn’t really exist. There are, of course, occasions where a piece of music or a composition has seen its copyright expire, but the number of options in this area is limited, to say the least.

Music without copyright or in the ‘public domain’ almost always relates to music produced at least 75 years ago. Therefore, unless you are shooting a Victorian period drama, it’s unlikely to suit your purposes. This is more likely also down to the fact that knowing how to copyright a song wasn’t a key concern in the era the music was created.

Additionally, the quality of the music file may well be poor, meaning that even from a production perspective, it’s not suitable.

Why Can’t I Just Use Existing Mainstream Music?

Some unscrupulous individuals may consider using existing mainstream music or well-known scores for their projects. They’ll hope to do so without attracting attention, knowing full well that their actions are illegal in nature.

We’d strongly advise against this course of action, especially given that in 2021 the technology available is able to seek out the use of copyright-protected content within seconds.

This is particularly evident in social media circles. If you’ve ever happened to post a video onto your feed and only then noticed that there was copyright-protected audio playing, it’s very likely that your account will have been suspended. This can happen within a split second; such is the level of protection afforded to copyrighted material.

Maybe you are considering the possibility of acquiring the rights of mainstream music; if that’s the case, then you should take into account the massive costs associated with getting the relevant permissions. This is doubly so if the project you require the music for is commercial in nature.

The cost of even a single song may well end up using up your entire budget, and then there’s the very real possibility that the chosen artist may not offer you the permission you need anyway.

You Should Consider Royalty-Free Music

There is an alternative, and it’s a smart one to consider. Royalty-free music is becoming hugely popular for filmmakers and producers of content of all varieties. This option provides users with a massive resource that is purpose-built for their needs.

Royalty-free music providers offer large libraries of content that are available for any use you require it for, and there is no need for additional clearance or permissions. The quality of the work is of a high standard, especially if you sign-up with one of the premium services such as Artlist.

The musical output is produced by musicians, singers, DJs, bands, and collectives that align themselves with a relevant provider and, in doing so, secure a steady source of income; this is key given that there are fewer and fewer opportunities to do in a world where physical music is rarely sold and concerts are less commonplace due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Endless Benefits of Royalty-Free Music

As well as offering a large selection of songs and samples to use for your film or video project, the top royalty-free music providers also provide a suite of SFX (sound effects) that will be invaluable for your productions.

These are well organized and make it easier for you to find precisely the effects in the mood and style you are looking for. Using a service such as this is hugely beneficial for producers, directors, and editors who want to be able to utilize as many assets as possible to make their scoring of their projects as efficient as possible.

The Power of Music

Finding the right music and sound effects to accompany your visuals is critical to making your whole production tick, and it’s not something you can leave to chance or be complacent about.

The massive increase in the level of content production, due to our insatiable appetite when it comes to using social media and a never-ending series of streaming services, has made the royalty-free field what it is today.

Now is very much the right time to try out royalty-free music as the market has matured into a hugely effective resource for those who need it, and the number of players in the industry has helped to drive the subscription costs down to an inexpensive level that makes the opportunity to test what’s on offer all the more enticing.

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