What is it, why does it exist, who does it affect?
A music license is an agreement between a music user and the owner of that music that says it's okay to use their music.
Why do music licenses exist?
The United States copyright law helps musicians make money by giving them (and only them) five exclusive rights when it comes to the use of their music. Only the creator of the song may:
- Perform their song in public (Public Performance Rights)
- Make audio or video recordings of their song (Mechanical Rights for Audio, Synchronization Rights for Video, Master Rights for Recordings)
- Make new arrangements of their song (Print Rights)
- Make copies of the printed music or lyrics (Print Rights)
- Play recordings of their song on the radio, Internet, or television (Public Performance Rights)
These five rights are important to musicians because music is largely intangible and can be easily reproduced. The protection of the law is the primary assurance that a musician will be compensated for their creation. Music licenses are simply agreements to "lend out" these exclusive rights (with conditions, and for a fee). They are the vehicle by which permission is requested and granted, and creators are compensated.
For Music Creators
This is good news for you. You have many ways to make money with your music. You can benefit from a good understanding of your rights, and the ways you can make money by "lending them out" in the form of music licensing.
For Music Users