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Royalty Free Music Definitions

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'Royalty Free Music' and 'Production Music' are the two most commonly associated terms for describing music that is used for film, TV, media, website etc. Below is a list of related keywords you may have heard, and what they mean:

Production Music

Music written and recorded specifically for use within media productions. Media producers will pay a fee to the music owner to use the music. Music owners can also claim royalties when their music is publicly performed for example, broadcasted on television or radio

Stock Music

Same as Production Music: Music written and recorded specifically for use within media productions. Media producers will a fee to the music owner to use the music. Music owners can also claim royalties when their music is publicly performed for example, broadcasted on television or radio

Royalty Free Music

Similar to production music but intended to be a much simpler and easier way to license music. Media producers pay a one off fee to use music for a specified use without having to pay royalties to the music owner

Buyout Music

Another term for 'royalty free music' where a media producer can pay a one off fee to use music in their production without having to pay royalties to the music owner

Library Music

Also known as Production Music which is produced licensed and distributed through a catalogue where media producers can select and audition music to use.

Production Music Library

A music library providing a catalogue of production music available for licensing to media producers. Many Production Music libraries have an online catalogue of music across many genres for immediate licensing

Background Music

Music used in a professional environment for a specific purpose from entertaining the public to accompanying a montage of images or video.

Background music is a much generalised term. It can have a wide variety of uses. Music used as background sound can be used to provide a distinct sound to a project but it can also be used as nothing more than to break up the silence and give a project some sound.

A good example of background music used to provide audio for a reason is music used in retail outlets. The store and the image/product it sells, will define what music is being played through the store's radio to comfort and invigorate customers to browser and spend money. The differentiation between music depends on the store and its desired customers. An example of this in use is trendy clothes stores playing the latest, pumping and exciting pop music and club beats.

An example of music being used to intentionally be present but not necessarily noticed is that of background music played in restaurants. This music is played to provide a level of ambience and break the chatter of a quiet evening, or the noise of a busy evening. The music is not intended to be listened by customers but provide an ambience in the background contributing to the overall experience of the restaurant. A typical example of this use is Italian music being played in an Italian restaurant.

Music On Hold

Music used usually on a telephone answering system where callers are asked to wait for the next available member to take their call or when no one is available, music is played during the voicemail message.

Music on hold (royalty free hold music) is commonly used throughout large businesses and call centres when a high volume of customers/clients are expected to call the offices or call centres. When a caller is waiting to be connected to a specific person or department, music is played to the caller during their wait. This music is intended to essentially, calm and loosely speaking, entertain the caller to reduce the likelihood of impatience and stress while waiting on the phone.

The type of music played is very important and is chosen based on its style and its appropriation for use. For example, you wouldn't expect to find Iron Maiden featured on an on-hold system. This music is more for a specific niche audience. Music used for an on-hold service is usually quite familiar, associative and soothing. There can be different intentions behind the use of on hold music. The first and most generalised use of on hold music is to provide the caller with a gentle, none intrusive piece of music to break up the silence of waiting.

Another use of on hold music is to represent the image of the company the person is calling. This music will generally be in a similar styling to that of the business or provide a general corporate feel.

A third form of music on hold is the use of popular music. This can include pop music the caller will most likely recognise and associate with. This is a more entertaining form of pop music giving the caller something to listen to while waiting.

Music Library/Music Libraries

Music libraries are publishers and distributors of music collections or catalogues providing a license solution for media producers to use in productions.

Many music libraries have an online catalogue of music across many genres for immediate licensing. The term 'library' is used as customers can browse through the collections of music as they would a regular library, sample the music and purchase a license if it suits their needs, and provide a legal and certified form of licensing providing the customer with the rights to use the music as specified.

Until recently, many libraries would provide users with a large catalogue of physical CDs to play through, and choose the right music for the purpose. A user would then inform the library of which music they wished to use, and for what purpose in order to purchase a license to receive the rights to do so.

Most music libraries are now online, or have an online catalogue for customers to use. Rather than search through CD after CD check-listing track numbers against titles, users can click a category and preview each track at the click of a button and purchase instantly. Another benefit of an online catalogue is the use of descriptive keywords. Tracks can be given meaningful descriptions to describe the track and can also be 'tagged' with keywords to provide accurate, short-listed results. An example could be:

Description:

"A positive, confident and uplifting track with analogue synths and a solid bass line. A nice ambient track with a sound you want to listen in on"

Keywords:

Positive, confident, uplifting, bass, ambient

The description of the track and keywords help narrow down a user's search to find the music they want, quickly and effectively rather than auditioning every track in a category.

Music libraries such as beatsuite.com offer immediate licensing of the music and instant download access. A user can select an appropriate license and once paid for via the online checkout, are provided with a download link.

Royalty Free Music Library

A music library providing a catalogue of royalty free music available for licensing to media producers. Many royalty free music libraries have an online catalogue of music across many genres for immediate licensing. A royalty free music library provides music for any use from background music for a website, to a theme tune for a television show. The term 'library' is used as customers can browse through the collections of music as they would a regular library, sample the music and purchase a license if it suits their needs, and provide a legal and certified form of licensing providing the customer with the rights to use the music as specified.

Until recently, many libraries would provide users with a large catalogue of physical CDs to play through, and choose the right music for the purpose. A user would then inform the library of which music they wished to use, and for what purpose in order to purchase a license to receive the rights to do so.

Most music libraries are now online, or have an online catalogue for customers to use. Rather than search through CD after CD check-listing track numbers against titles, users can click a category and preview each track at the click of a button and purchase instantly. Another benefit of an online catalogue is the use of descriptive keywords. Tracks can be given meaningful descriptions to describe the track and can also be 'tagged' with keywords to provide accurate, short-listed results. An example could be:

Description:

"A positive, confident and uplifting track with analogue synths and a solid bass line. A nice ambient track with a sound you want to listen in on"

Keywords:

Positive, confident, uplifting, bass, ambient

The description of the track and keywords help narrow down a user's search to find the music they want, quickly and effectively rather than auditioning every track in a category.

Music libraries such as beatsuite.com offer immediate licensing of the music and instant download access. A user can select an appropriate license and once paid for via the online checkout, are provided with a download link.

Music listed in an online royalty free music library is provided by a body of composers, working with the library to distribute their music. Each time a track is licensed, the fee paid is split between the composer and music library under defined terms. Composers, or content providers submit their music to royalty free music libraries under specific conditions that allow users the rights to use their music without having to pay royalties.

Copyright Free Music

Commonly associated with royalty free music but is not technically true. No music is copyright free, however this term is attached to the production and royalty free music industry to describe music that can be licensed to others to use.

Media producers can acquire music for use in a production for an arranged price or 'license fee'. This license fee is in exchange for the composer to grant the producer permission to use the music under specified terms.

Composers or content providers produce music with the intention of distributing it as copyright and royalty free music. They are willing to allow their music to be used in various ways for an agreed price. In most cases, the composer will always legally retain the copyright to their music as their intellectual property and therefore it isn't technically copyright free. However, composers can waive the rights to their music in exchange for a buy-out price exclusive to the license owner meaning it can no longer be used by anyone else and is owned by the customer.

Rights Free Music - Follows the same lines as copyright free music in the assumption that no one specifically owns the music and it is available for licensing use without requiring any specific rights: Music rights have to be given by the composer/owner/publisher for use

Flash Loops

Short parts of music tracks that have been professionally cut down in both length and file size to provide a seamlessly loop-able piece of music. The term 'Flash Loop(s)' is derived from the use of these short pieces of music in the program 'Flash'. Flash users would build website templates and use these loops as background music, hence the term 'Flash Loops'.

Loops usually range from 3 to 20 seconds in duration. Parts of a music track are cut at specific points so that it can be played from beginning to end and repeated without a noticeable transition. Loops were very popular during early Internet website design as they provided a continuous background music solution, without taking up a large amount of file space and therefore could be loaded into the template quicker. Unlike regular music tracks, loops cannot be encoded to MP3 and must be used in their uncompressed .Wav format. This is due to MP3 being a compressed format and not fully reliable to loop seamlessly.

Flash Loops are also useful for simple music mixing. A 3 minute music track could be cut up in loop form and then rearranged as the user desired. Loops that are professionally cut and mastered can be extended and rearranged without ruining the flow or rhythm of the track.

Audio Idents/Audio Stings

Short bursts of music that are used to create or give an identity to a particular brand or production. The most common use for Idents is on radio and television. Radio stations use a particular audio Ident to identify their station so that when it is heard, the listener can immediately identify which station they are listening to.

The most common form of Ident on television is the visual station Ident. Similar to the use behind radio Idents, the station Ident informs the viewer visually of the station they are currently watching and is accompanied buy an audio ident. These idents are often intended to be as memorable as possible to leave a lasting impression and provide a familiarity with the channel and viewer.

Audio Idents are also used to identify brands and companies. When used in advertising, idents can often be referred to as a 'Jingle'. This musical jingle or ident creates a relationship between the sound and the brand or product, putting the two together. However, a jingle is usually a unique short slogan or catchphrase to identify the product or brand rather than a simple sound by itself.

In television advertising an audio ident is most commonly played towards the end of a product's advert to link the name and sound together. Audio Idents can be used for many different purposes. They can be used to start a particular show or part of show that audibly informs the viewer or listener of a change or start in something different. Audio Idents are often used on DVDs. When a user selects an option on the DVD, a particular sound may play to audibly confirm that selection has been made. In most cases, the audio ident will have a similar sound to that of the film/programme featured on the DVD to create an audible relationship.

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Royalty Free Music from Beatsuite.com