What Is Royalty Free Music?

Royalty Free Music is not free and does not come without royalties. It is also known as buyout music or stock music.

Someone who uses Royalty Free Music pays an upfront price to purchase unlimited lifetime synchronization rights to a musical track, but does not purchase the copyright or ownership of the music itself. After paying this one-time upfront fee, the purchaser can use the music as many times as they want, for as long as they like and in an unlimited number of different projects or productions. There are no additional license fees based on usage after the initial purchase of the music track.

The license for a piece of Royalty Free Music permits usage of the music in a personal or professional context for yourself, your clients or your employer. You can make money from it, or commercialize it. But the music itself may not be sold, transferred, bartered, traded, shared, leased, or given away to any other party and the synchronization license to the individual track may not be subleased to another party. The music cannot be resold unless it is an intrinsic part of your own project or production, i.e. you have made and are selling a video work that is complete in itself and uses the music as a background track.

You cannot sing over the music track with lyrics that you have written yourself or add a new instrumental line and then market the resulting composition as your own music or as your own original song. Even if the original track has been transformed or edited; or if you add other instruments or vocals to the music the copyright of the music composition and recording always belong to the composer and publisher of the music. This manipulation would be called a 'Derivative Work' and is definitely not allowed.

You are allowed to record your speaking voice and use the music as an audio background for an audiobook, storytelling, hypnotherapy, guided meditation, self-help program or any kind of narration. The reason this is allowed is that the music is used as background for a product that is not marketed as a 'song' or a musical product. The purpose of the music is not altered in any way and the copyright of the music remains clearly and entirely in the hands of the composer and the publisher.

Royalty Free Music from Sound Ideas is offered in a wide variety of modern and period genres, styles, moods and tempos - everything from classical orchestrations to animated cartoon compositions.

If Royalty Free 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. Please note that the synchronization license you purchase with Royalty Free Music does not include public performance rights. If you are unsure whether your project falls under the scope of public performance, please contact your local Performance Rights Organization (PRO).


See the Sound Ideas Royalty Free Music Collections.

See What's New in Music at Sound Ideas.