Music revenue is essential for music artists to keep going and pushing their careers. But revenue for musicians isn’t just about selling physical merchandise or service and getting paid like it is for other businesses. You can protect your songs and get your music license so as to be able to earn the royalties on your music.

As the internet has made it today, selling music isn’t so easy anymore as people can easily stream and download kinds of music for free. Musicians are now tapping into other means of driving revenue.

Music licensing is one of the core ways musicians have been earning royalties for years.


Music Licensing

This is the licensed use of copyrighted music. This is done to ensure that the owner of a song gets duly compensated based on an agreed amount whenever a song is used by someone else, e.g. used in a movie, restaurant, radio ad, TV commercial, etc.

If someone wants to use your song for a public event other people will hear, that someone will have to get a license giving him/her authority to use your music and get you will be paid royalties for the song to be used.


This usage will include usage and term rights which determine how the song will be used.



Whatever case scenario that stands, you always keep the rights to your music when you license them. Irrespective of the kind of deal you sign; whether exclusive or non-exclusive.

In an exclusive license; you give permission to use your song to only one party whereas in a non-exclusive license; you give permission to an unlimited number of parties to use your songs.

If you work by yourself; you get 100% of the music rights but if you work with others like a co-writer, the rights to the song will be split between the involved parties.

To protect these rights, you need to get your music license.


What You Need To Understand

Whenever you write a song and record it, two copyrights are created;

  1. The lyrics and melody that make up the song, the composition, can be signed away to the publisher.
  2. The recording of the composition can be signed away to the record label.


Types Of Music License

There are 6 different types of music licenses that are used for different purposes, that is, depending on what the music is going to be used for.

Before aiming to get your music license, you need to understand what the music will be used for and the type of music license you’re aiming to get.

The use of the original work of a music artist ranges from sheet music reproduction to theatre productions, down to jukeboxes and motion pictures. The types of music licenses are listed below.


Synchronization License

This method of licensing refers to music that is going to be paired with some form of visual media output (film, television shows, advertisement, video games, accompanying website, movie trailers, etc)

This is the most common of sought for license now as visual media has taken over.


Mechanical License

It is an agreement between a music user and owner of a copyrighted song that grants permission to use a song in an audio-only format, even if it’s just a small part of the song that is needed for the project.

This is needed for a physical reproduction of an artist’s work. This could be reproductions like CDs, a vinyl, a cassette, or any other support form in which the music track is going to be distributed and if a different version of the same song is to be recorded like a song cover, added lyrics, remixing or just anything that alters the original recording.

The act of fixation also allows for duplicating these reproduced copies for marketing and selling. This thus could be another means of creating awareness and music promotion for you.

These licenses are mostly gained by music distributors, streaming services, DJs.


Print License

This refers to the physical copy of the sheet music that an artist has created. This license type grants permission to rearrange, print or display the music notes or lyrics of a song, like a subtitle on a video.

The permission given is called prints right.


Master License

This license is usually issued in conjunction with a sync license. In this license, the rights to the original recording of the song are transferred to the customer.

The master license gives the customer permission to use a pre-recorded version of a song in a visual or audio project but does not permit the user to rerecord the song for a project.

When a customer wants to use your soundtrack for an audio-visual project, the customer has to get both the master and sync license.


Public Performance License

This type of license permits a music track to be used for public broadcasting. This includes concerts, radio, television, and live music played in business places or on the streets.

They give permission for a soundtrack to be publicly performed and for that particular performance to be broadcast.


Theatre License

This type of license is required anytime a copyrighted work is performed on-stage in front of an audience. The song is allowed for use only in a theatre like a theatre play.



How To Get Your Music Licensed

The need for music in movies, TV shows, videos games, commercials, and events is so much, and getting your music on board for this will of course be a very nice way to own royalties.

There isn’t just one way to get your music license. Below are some of the ways to get your music license;


Licensing Companies;

A licensing company is where creatives and companies go to find licensable music for their projects and events.

These companies have a library of tracks that are licensable. They act as a third party that negotiates the rights with each artist and then licenses the tracks directly to the customer.

In simple terms, they take you as a client, then help you get music placement deals.

Music licensing companies for Nigerians;

  1. Fresible
  2. Icoson
  3. Replete
  4. Just Jojo

International music licensing companies;

  1. Marmoset
  2. Pond5
  3. Music Vine
  4. Musicbed
  5. Epidemic Sound
  6. Artlist

Apart from getting registered on music licensing companies, you can also approach professionals and companies that might need your music for an upcoming project.

The idea is to create a strong network along your journey in the music industry and use this network to push your career.

These connections are very helpful as you might know someone who knows someone that might need your type of music for a project.

Below is a list of professionals who sought licensable music;


Film Makers

Music has always been and will always be an essential part of films. Filmmakers are always looking for good music that suits the film project they are working on.

Filmmakers usually prefer to work with people they know can provide good songs they need or custom create one for their project.

You can approach filmmakers and pitch your music to them. You could as well create a custom track for one of their films of videos and email them the links to the song and how the film inspired it.


Music Supervisors

Music Supervisors are qualified professionals who oversee all music-related aspects of films, television, advertising, video games, and other existing or emerging visual media platforms.

You can approach and pitch your music to them. Supervisors use metadata to songs in their music library, so you should make sure your tracks have metadata.

Licensing Managers

Licensing managers work for companies such as record labels that handle the license for many different artists. They find companies that might be interested in using a particular artist’s work and then convince the company that a track is fit for a project.


Getting your music licensed helps in protecting your royalties. So while you’re aiming to promote your music on social media, also aim to get your music license as this will help you acquire all the returns from the songs you promote.

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