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How to buy music for videos

The music world and copyright laws can be really confusing, especially with all the access you have online to songs by millions of different artists. The most important thing to remember is that if a song is copyrighted, you must pay or have permission to use it in a video. The idea is that you can not use music that someone else wrote and performed without paying them for their work, which makes sense. Make sure you are infringing copyright issues before releasing your video to the public.


[[[[Edit]Buy copyrighted music

  1. Get a sync license to cover a song. A “sync license”
    ; covers the lyrics and notes of a particular song, which is perfect if you want to make your own version of a video you create.[1]
    Buy music for videos Step 1 version 2.jpg
    • For example, if you want to create a mix of original music and Taylor Swift’s “Lover”, you need the “Lover” sync rights to promote or use your music in the public domain.
    • If you just want to play music at home but do not intend to release a video or try to monetize your creation, you are free to do whatever you want. But as soon as you plan to use a video for monetary gain, for an ad or even just for entertainment, you need to get permission.
  2. Purchase both a sync and a master-use license to play a recorded song. The sync license covers the texts and notes, and the master usage license covers the actual end product. So in order to use a song that you hear on the radio or via a streaming service, you need to obtain both licenses.[2]
    Buy music for videos Step 2 Version 3.jpg
    • Even if you only want to play a few seconds of a song, you still need permission.
    • The cost of different songs differs from song to song and artist to artist. Many times, popularity determines how much a song costs. For example, a Beatles song could cost $ 500,000 to use in a video. A song by a lesser known artist can cost $ 100.
  3. Purchase a sync license for popular songs through sites like SESAC. SESAC (Society of European Stage Authors and Composers) is one of the largest organizations for Performing Rights that manages the rights of many of the best music artists in the world. Out of 30,000 artists and millions of songs, the chances are high that you will find what you are looking for there.[3]
    Buy music for videos Step 3 version 2.jpg
    • Other organizations, such as ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers), BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.) and GMR (Global Music Rights) also have synchronization licenses for popular songs. If you do not find what you are looking for on SESAC, search these other sites.
    • Many of these sites, including SESAC, require you to purchase a license from them. Some of them need to be renewed annually, while others are just a one-time fee that is submitted with your application. After that fee, you still have to pay for the license for a particular song.
    • If you do not find who has the sync license for a particular artist or song, just contact the license representative for that artist. Most websites contain that contact information so you can send an email.
  4. Buy a license for master use via the record company that owns the music. This sounds complicated, but all you need to do is find out which record label produced the song you want to use, go to their website and find the contact information for licensing. Buying copyrighted music is a very common thing, so the process is actually quite simple.[4]
    Buy music for videos Step 4 Version 2.jpg
    • For example, if the artist is recording under Sony Music, go to their website. From there, you can find a link to www.sonymusiclicensing.com, and from there you can submit your request.
    • If you are not sure about the record company, you should be able to find that information online. For example, you can search the Indian artist “Andrew Bird record label” to find the details of who produced each of his albums.
  5. Submit your requests for each license and pay any fees. Remember that you must submit an application for a synchronization license and a master usage license separately. You often submit an application or request and have to wait for someone to come back to you with a quote on the song. The quote may differ from person to person or company to company, just depending on what the song will be used for and what scope it will have. If you accept the quote, you sign the paperwork, make a payment and get the license you need.[5]
    Buy music for videos Step 5 version 2.jpg
    • If the song you want to use contains parts of several artists, you must get permission from the record company for each individual artist.
    • If you do not get permission, you can get really large fines, remove your videos from their platform and possibly be prosecuted.
  6. Save payments and documents related to your purchase. If you are ever asked to use copyrighted music, you want to be able to easily prove that you are doing it legally. Save emails and consider printing paper copies of documents just so you never lose track of something important.[6]
    Buy music for videos Step 6 Version 2.jpg
    • Launch a file on your desktop and save PDF versions of emails, correspondence, contracts and other related information.

[[[[Edit]Explore other options

  1. Use free music that is public. The public contains music that was published during or before 1924. You should double check the Public Domain Information Project website to make sure the song you want to use is included. If so, you do not have to worry about buying the rights![7]
    Buy music for videos Step 7 Version 2.jpg
    • Because many of these songs are dated, they may not have the sound you are looking for. But – you can take one and use parts of it to create something new.
  2. Watch Creative Commons material for free contemporary music. The music you open through Creative Commons is usually free, but there may be certain conditions for its use. For example, you may have to agree not to use the song for profit, or you may need to make sure to give credit to the artist.[8]
    Buy music for videos Step 8 version 2.jpg
    • If you find a song you like, just be sure to read the terms and conditions carefully before using it.
  3. Search for copyrighted music on YouTube for free tracks. When you find music you like, whether it’s for a YouTube video or something else, just click the download link to move it to your computer. From there, you can select that file and add it to your own media. Here are two of the most common ways to find available music to download from YouTube:[9]
    Buy music for videos Step 9 Version 2.jpg
    • If you are making a YouTube video, you can use the YouTube Audio Library, which can be accessed through your creative studio.
    • Check out YouTube channels like NoCopyrightSounds. Be sure to read the description for each video to see what rules apply to the music. Sometimes there is a specific wording that you need to copy and paste into the description of the video.
  4. Ask an independent artist for permission to use their music for free. Contact them via email, Twitter, Instagram or other social media platforms. There are many artists who are willing to let you use their music as long as you give them credit, and it never hurts to ask![10]
    Buy music for videos Step 10 version 2.jpg
    • Check out SoundCloud and Bandcamp to discover amazing music by independent artists.
  5. Subscribe to a copyright-free music website to browse hundreds of new tracks. This is technically not a free option, but it can be much cheaper than buying the rights to a single song. Depending on the website, you may have to pay a monthly fee, or you can purchase songs individually. Check out one of these reviewed platforms:[11]
    Buy music for videos Step 11 Version 2.jpg
    • Jungle Audio
    • Epidemic sound
    • Music bed
  6. Buy “royalty free” music to pay a one-time fee to use a song. Audio Jungle, PremiumBeat, Pond5, Soundstripe and Audioblocks are all reputable websites that have millions of songs to choose from. Some songs cost as little as $ 1, while others can cost $ 30 or more.[12]
    Buy music for videos Step 12 Version 2.jpg
    • Royalty-free means you do not have to pay an ongoing fee or renew a license to use a song. You simply pay a one-time fee and use the song however you want.
    • You can also use the song you bought as many times as you want. There is no limit to single use.


  • If you are looking for legal advice, you may want to work directly with a lawyer. While you can get useful information online, there may be nuances that a lawyer would have more knowledge about.[13]
  • It can take a lot of work to track down all the permissions you need to use a piece of music! Some TV shows have employees who only focus on these tasks.[14]


  • It’s not worth the risk to just use copyrighted music without permission! You may face severe fines, plus the work you did will no longer be usable.
  • It does not matter how short a clip you want to play. If it comes from a copyrighted song, you have to pay for it. It is a myth that you have free access as long as the clip is for 30 seconds, 20 seconds or 10 seconds.[15]


  1. https://copyrightalliance.org/ca_faq_post/im-making-short-film-want-add-music-supposed-contact-famous-artists-get-permission/
  2. https://copyrightalliance.org/ca_faq_post/im-making-short-film-want-add-music-supposed-contact-famous-artists-get-permission/
  3. https://copyrightalliance.org/ca_faq_post/im-making-short-film-want-add-music-supposed-contact-famous-artists-get-permission/
  4. https://copyrightalliance.org/ca_faq_post/im-making-short-film-want-add-music-supposed-contact-famous-artists-get-permission/
  5. https://youtu.be/Mlk3y9Ljzn0?t=54
  6. https://blog.promolta.com/3-ways-legally-use-copyrighted-music-youtube-videos/
  7. https://blog.promolta.com/3-ways-legally-use-copyrighted-music-youtube-videos/
  8. https://learningsolutionsmag.com/articles/using-copyrighted-music-and-media-in-your-podcast
  9. https://youtu.be/OJVSHjKIMOs?t=120
  10. https://youtu.be/OJVSHjKIMOs?t=637
  11. https://youtu.be/OJVSHjKIMOs?t=813
  12. http://www.publicdomainsherpa.com/royalty-free.html
  13. https://copyrightalliance.org/education/faqs/
  14. https://youtu.be/Mlk3y9Ljzn0?t=126
  15. https://diymusician.cdbaby.com/music-rights/clear-samples-to-copyrighted-music/

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