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A master license is an agreement between a music user and the owner of a copyrighted sound recording that grants permission to use the sound recording. This permission is also called a master lease or master rights.
How Do I Get a Master License?
Master licenses are custom-negotiated directly with the copyright holder upfront and can be quite complex. For help with this process, check out our Custom Licensing services or contact us for a free consultation. (Alternatively, you can always attempt to locate the copyright owners yourself and request permission.)
Challenges of Obtaining Master Licenses
Note that master licensing can be challenging because, by law, master rights holders maintain total control of their works. This means they can set any price, take all the time they want, or reject the license altogether. Many factors affect the response, including budget, use, and even the current workload of the copyright holder’s processing department. For this reason, it is important to temper expectations when requesting a master license.
You Will Also Need the Following:
Mechanical License (for audio-only projects)
Every time that you need a master license for an audio-only product (CDs, Digital Downloads, Interactive Audio Streams), you also need a mechanical license. The master license pays only the artist for the right to use their recording; the mechanical license pays the composer for the right to use their song.
Synchronization License (for video projects)
Every time that you need a master license for a video or other visual product (YouTube, slideshow), you also need a synchronization license. The master license pays only the artist for the right to use their recording; the synchronization license pays the composer for the right to use their song.
Common Questions About Master Licenses
Related Music Licenses
Learn about this music license that is also required any time a master license is needed for a video or other visual product.
Learn about this music license that is also required any time a master license is needed for an audio-only product.