The changing face of music licensing
Stock music is a term that most people do not really comprehend in terms of music production. There is a general expectation that this music will be of low quality or provided with certain licensing costs hidden somewhere. Where this may be true for some music it is definitely not the definitive association that one should have with stock music. To understand better how such music has added to the enhancement of music licensing, one need to understand the basics of licensing in regards to music usage.
Royalty Free, Drop Needle, and Stock Music
These are the three most common licenses for music. Understanding these is not difficult at all.
• Royalty Free licensing – This licensing allows the user to pay once for the music and then be able to use the music without paying a fee. This does not mean that one gets the copyright to the song or that one can modify and edit the song. This simply means that the person can use and own the copy of the music without having to pay the artist every time that the track is used. (For more information see prior posts)
• Drop Needle – Drop Needle or per play licensing is named such due to the way in which artist get paid. In the days of Records (those black things that spin to a needle) artist would get paid every time the needle dropped on their track. Although technology has changed, the term has remained the same. Either way, this is an expensive way in which to acquire music.
• Stock Music - Much like royalty free music this type of music covers a vast area of genres and tracks. The good thing about stock music is that generally these tracks can be cut down to fit within the music composition or film in which it is used. This is not to say that the track can be edited, and again, this does not give the person the copyright of the music. This form of music just gives the user more liberty in how the music is used.
Stock Music as opposed to Music Download sites
If you are like me you have a strong desire to get new music. The industry is constantly changing and so are our ears. New tracks emerge every day and influence things from fashion trends, movie genres, to speech in general. What has proven to be a plague upon the music industry is the public’s migration to music download sites.
For the most part, music downloading sites offer their music under the understanding that the public will not infringe upon the copyrights or licensing laws of the artist. This being stated, a great majority of these sites know that the music which is being downloaded is indeed pirated as no licensing or royalties are being paid to the artists. Please note, there are legitimate sites out there. However, one should tread very cautiously when approaching such sites. Many persons thought they were downloading legal content from Kazza a few years back only to have their computers seized and their person served papers.
Stock music on the other hand is essentially transparent in its use. The individual pays for the track once and then can download and listen to the track. One that would state that paying for a track is absurd; I would ask if they ever have downloaded an app for costs. Stock music also offers for quality music at a low cost. An artist can feel confident that he or she will get paid for his or her tracks. This increases the selection quantity as artist are more apt to make more tracks. This also increases the quality as artists can use the funds paid to make more compelling pieces. You are benefitted because you get a quality track from artists and not from a site that could or could not have proper licensing.
Overall, Stock music has helped to revolutionize the way in which music is presented to the public. One should note that Stock music is generally used with someone’s music and not as a track all in itself. For example: If one is looking to have a film made, he or she may use stock music in the background or behind the title sequence. If one is making a sound track, he or she may use a stock music loop (such as a drum beat) to help enhance the track. As with any music, one is strongly encouraged to see the specifics licensing terms associated with the track which one is trying to acquire prior to downloading such a track. Ignorance is never an excuse when it comes to the legality of the music one is downloading. Hopefully, a little more light has been shed on the subject of stock music and licensing in general.