What Is Production Music?

Production Music is used in audio and audio visual productions like radio and television broadcasts, commercials and jingles. It is also used for motion picture and video scores and soundtracks, as well as corporate & training presentations. Production Music will also make its way into Web sites, computer games, software applications and multimedia.

Production Music can be licensed as "rights managed" music or as "buyout" music.

Rights Managed Music

Rights Managed Music companies are generally more expensive to work with. Major motion picture companies, TV production companies and other large users of great quality music would usually work with Rights Managed Music companies. Generally speaking, each piece of music is licensed for a particular project that will be distributed in a particular way. For instance a piece of music could be licensed for use in a Movie that is going to be shown in theaters around the world. If the Movie was going to be shown on the Internet and there were going to be DVDs manufactured and sold as well, that would have to be written into the license agreement. That one piece of music could not be used in any other Movie – it has only been licensed for that specific Movie.

Royalty Free Music

Royalty Free Music companies are generally less expensive to work with. Smaller companies, individuals and corporations who have an eye on their budgets will usually work with Royalty Free Music. One major advantage is that when you license a piece of royalty free music, you are less restricted on its use. When you pay for a music track or CD you can use it in a production today – in a different production next week – and one three years from now without paying any additional license fee. You could broadcast the production on TV or the Internet or make copies of a DVD for sale without paying any additional licensing fee. Essentially, you don’t have to preplan how the music is going to be used.

Production Music is generally placed in the background, behind the dialog or voiceover - it can set the mood, provide a suitable backdrop for a message, promote the product, activity or event being featured, identify the location of the scene or highlight the plot’s action.

A Production Music CD typically contains 8 to 15 compositions, each one offered in several different versions or lengths: a full length version, an underscore or rhythm track version (for more subtle use under voiceovers), and a number of different broadcast lengths (60 seconds, 30 seconds and 5 to 15 second stingers). The broadcast lengths are produced to eliminate the need for the user to create edits for specific kinds of production applications (like commercial spots).

If the Production Music is used in a broadcast or public performance production, its composers and publishers are also entitled to receive performing royalties from performing rights societies like ASCAP, BMI, SOCAN, PRS and APRA.


See the Sound Ideas Production Music collections.