Business Affairs

Music Licensing

Acquiring music for a project is a detailed process that demands accurate copyright research, knowledge of current licensing trends and music valuation, expert negotiation, and meticulous contract administration.

Licensing a piece of music requires some, or all, of these clearances:

  • Synchronization Rights: Permission to use the underlying composition in your video project. Sync rights are obtained from the publishers who represent writers (composers and lyricists) or their heirs. Many licenses require syncs from multiple publishers representing different writers, each to be separately negotiated and contracted.
  • Master Rights: Permission  to use the sound recording of your choice. A popular song may have dozens of different recordings each controlled by a different record label, library, or independent artist.
  • Performer Rights: Record companies are including increasingly tougher language in their contracts about union payment obligations. Whether union or non-union, TTC can help you determine your talent costs or negotiate a fee for the principle performers on the master recording.

The TEAM Companies are well-versed and well connected in the music business and our music clearance and business affairs experts will:

  • Determine which of the above permissions are needed for your project
  • Advise on what clearances based on your music budget
  • Research and ascertain the sync and master rights owners
  • Negotiate an accurate and favorable license and fee
  • Make sure agreements are airtight and protect the Licensee
  • Advise on SAG-AFTRA and AFM requirements
  • Contract with the performers for the rights to use their performance

If your music choice for your creative is bigger than your budget, The TEAM Companies can:

  • Hunt for a different master recording from a lesser-known Artist that still fits your creative vision
  • Contact and negotiate with the star to re-do the song especially arranged for your project (eliminating the record company and possibly the union)
  • Recommend a range of music libraries  that offer high caliber Needledrop recordings that provide both the sync and master and are free from royalties and talent payments.
  • Recommend a music production company or independent artist to record a new master or original composition created as a Work-for-Hire or licensed to you for substantial savings

It’s What You Know

Just because a song is in the public domain doesn’t mean licensing isn’t required to use it. Public domain rights vary from country to country. Even though the composition may be in the public domain, the arrangement you wish to use may still be under an active copyright.

The TEAM Companies works closely with public domain experts to help assure all aspects of the song you wish to use is in the public domain and will work with you on proper licensing of any part that is not.