The first thing to know is that you cannot afford -under any circumstances- to use a song if you don’t have the proper use license.
If you use a song unlicensed, your advertisement could be, for example, muted or blocked on the Internet or even face legal problems, with the disastrous consequences that such action would have on your company.
In the following, we will explain in detail everything related to this industry.
All about music for advertising and commercials
So let’s answer these questions one by one:
Can I use famous or well-known songs for my ad?
Many famous singers or labels refuse to give up their rights for the use of their songs in some ads, just because they don’t want to associate its name with a particular brand or product. Others give their songs for free and others claim large amounts of money for their usage. You could find any of those situations.
Will I have to pay royalties or copyright fees? How much they cost?
There is no price list, it always depends on what the label or author considers. Some can be free and there are others who can claim up to $90,000. The smartest thing to do is to always contact the artist itself, their label or his/her representatives and just ask.
What steps do I have to follow to get those rights?
You can do two things, one is to contact directly with the record company or artist in question, as we explained in-depth in our article about buying music rights.
On the other hand, you can also contact the Performance rights organization (P.R.O.) of your country. In the case of the United States, there are three main ones: BMI, ASCAP and SESAC. If you live in a different country, you can consult the full list here.
Can I make covers of a famous song and use them?
If you want to make a version of an original song, the steps to do that would be the same as we mentioned to purchase a license of a famous song: contact the label and/or artist and ask them about it.
If your goal is versioning a song just to avoid paying the use license, that it is not recommended.
It’s true that sometimes is not easy to discern when a song is an original or a copy, and the decision -when the issue is brought to court- is often based on expert musical experts.
These experts are responsible for conducting a technical report of the song, in which the structure of the piece, its beat, and rhythm are analyzed. Both the defense and who initiates the process commission a study, in addition to the independent report which usually claims the judge.
The economical amount of the compensation charged by the author is usually similar to what it would have cost the license to use the song. Therefore, if you want to make a cover, contact the owner of the rights first.
Can I find high-quality songs that can be used easily without copyright problems?
Of course, and in fact, that is often the best choice when it comes to choosing music for your commercials, for three reasons:
You will save time by not having to look for different ways to contact the artists or label, negotiate with them, etc.
You will save money since the licensing of these songs are much more affordable.
You will win in originality for your advertisement, because the music itself will not be the same as the ones played hundreds of times in other places, such as nightclubs, TV, the radio or the Internet.
Do I have to hire a company to do it?
You don’t have to.
You could hire a company or a specific artist that creates “tailored” music for your project.
On the other side, just take a look at the current marketplaces around the Internet, specialized in royalty-free music.
Royalty-free songs are songs created from the very beginning with the goal to be used as music for advertisements. Therefore, they adapt perfectly to other voices or sounds that we can add over them.
Is there any cheap way to get quality songs without copyright?
Yes, as we mentioned, there are Internet websites dedicated to selling the licenses for the use of this music.
Specifically, there are two that, due to their number of songs and the quality of them, stand out from the rest:
Epidemic Sound not only it provides us with a versatile library of thousands of songs from all the existing genres (updated daily) but also provides a monthly subscription through which we can download all the music we need without limits, and also a great and useful search engine.
The price of the monthly subscription includes:
Access to all tracks
New tracks added every week
Unlimited use in all your owned and operated channels
No copyright claims or royalty fees
Cancellation at any time
On the other hand, on Audiojungle you can also find lots of background music. However, the main difference with the first one is that here licenses are paid for each song downloaded, instead of having a monthly subscription.
You’ll see that they have 5 different licenses. To be able to use the music in an ad you will have to choose the license named ‘Music Broadcast (10 Million)’.
Download music for your advertising spot in 5 simple steps
Following the steps below, you can download royalty free music in a matter of minutes:
Sign up easily on any of those platforms.
Search among categories or with the search engine the mood of the song or sound effect you are searching for. Listen at least to a dozen of them to get an idea of the background music that best fits your advertisement.
Once you choose the song, download it!
Now you can modify and use the song without worrying about restrictions on copyright or being blocked by major websites like Youtube.
Following this, we make sure we’re using music in our ads which fulfill all the rules on copyright terms.
And where to get Sound effects for advertising?
Many times we will not be looking for complete songs, but sound effects. For example the sound of water falling, a passing train or a phone ringing.
We can find them on Audiojungle and the good news is that the cost is significantly reduced, in between $1 and $4.
Getting the right background music for your ad or spot doesn’t have to be a complicated task these days.
Thanks to Internet services like Epidemic Sound, we can download all the necessary music in exchange for a monthly subscription that, compared to the prices of ‘normal’ licenses, is really affordable nowadays for any company or advertising agency.