Everything About Music Licensing and its Types

Music Licensing

No matter how many songs you listen to in a movie, TV series, commercial, show, and so on, all of them are licensed. What does it even mean? When a piece of music is licensed, it primarily means it is authorised to run in that specific movie only. No other show has the right to use that particular piece of music in theirs. Quite in anticipation, with an uncountable number of movies, TV shows, and visual mediums produced around, even greater numbers of songs are produced. So, does every song holds a licence? To understand this, it is essential to understand the different music licences available. If you are an Australian, you can gain knowledge about this from various music licensing companies in Australia (P.22).

What is Music Licensing?

First things first, music licensing can be defined as a right or authority held by a person to use a particular piece of copyrighted music. It is widely available and an everyday thing in commercials, television shows, internet videos, and related platforms that want licensed music. In Australia, a copyright is valid for 70 years from the date of the commercial release of the song or album. The symbol ‘P’ on Australian albums indicates that the contents are under copyright protection.

What are the Characteristics of a Music License?

A music licence holds certain characteristics, as can be noticed from the music licensing companies in Australia (P.22).

  1. The music, a song or any other piece can be played at any part of the visual but for a limited amount of time.
  2. Music is primarily used to sell a product in a particular commercial.
  3. A music licence is useful for personal video projects used for innovative purposes.
  4. Video games have their own music licensed for in-game entertainment.

Types of Music Licences

To understand music licensing in detail, learning about the types of music licences is essential. 

  1. Master Licence: You might be familiar with the phenomenon of artists, music companies, and studios holding a specific recording, known as a ‘master recording’ or simply a ‘master’. The master licence can be defined as the authority presented to the owner of the music – either the artist or the record company. People having the master recording have the power to use that music in a work of visual art. 
  2. Synchronisation Licence: This is one of the most common music licences that allows you to utilise either the master or the re-recorded music version in any visual platform. The most common example of a sync licence is the slowed version of old songs you notice in movie trailers or movies.
  3. Mechanical Licence: A mechanical licence is a right derived from the physical reproduction of an artist’s work. This license is majorly required for physical or tangible forms like the manufacturing of CDs or the distribution of music. 
  4. Public Performance Licence: Another regular license used in various platforms, it is required for any sort of broadcast of an artist’s work or performance. This involves businesses playing music in jukeboxes, stores, concerts, or public performances. 
  5. Prints Rights Licence: This is the licence that is referred to the tangible copy of the sheet music devised by the artist. This licence is necessary when a person marks a sheet music compilation. 
  6. Theatrical Licence: As can be observed from the name, a theatrical licence is offered majorly to the theatre industry. This license must be shown whenever any copyrighted work is performed on the stage. Therefore, whenever you watch a show at the Enmore or Palais theatre, remember that the show has been theatrically licensed. 

Music licensing is an important aspect to know if you are someone curious about producing music or engaged in theatre or other performing arts. It is mandatory to gather licensing to perform without any hindrance. 


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