What you need to know about royalty-free music

The terms ‘royalty-free’ music and ‘PPCA-free’ music can mean lots of different things and they don’t always mean that you don’t need a OneMusic Australia licence.

When is music royalty-free?

True ‘royalty-free’ music is where all the copyright owners of the recording of the music as well the song itself (the lyrics, melody etc) have came to prior payment and use arrangements and agree not to be paid ongoing royalties like most songs generate. True royalty-free music is rare.

Not all royalty-free is really royalty-free

Not all music that is called ‘royalty-free’ music is the same. Sometimes it could mean that just the recording is ‘royalty free’ and that the underlying written songs still require an ongoing payment to the creators.

A recording may be ‘royalty-free’ because the supplier already has the permission from the record label that owns the recording, or it could be that the supplier has themselves arranged for a ‘sound-a- like’ recording to be made (sometimes this is called ‘PPCA-free’).

Unfortunately, in our experience, often what is sometimes called ‘royalty-free’ music is in fact not entirely ‘free’ from the payment of ongoing royalties and that you may still require a licence from OneMusic Australia.

You may think that royalty free is a cheap option, but like anything you only get what you pay for. If you’re happy with a much smaller catalogue of music then royalty free may be OK for you. If you want your customers to feel the groove with familiar music, OneMusic has you covered.

How do I get free music?

Music protected by copyright that you have obtained for free (radio or streaming) is fine to play at home, but once it is played in your businesses you will have to get permission or pay a licence. You can get free music to play (perform) in your business if you have negotiated permission with all the copyright owners and they don't want a fee.

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