Music Publishing and Licensing Blog

Why license your music?

There are several primary rights that you, as a music publisher, can use to license your music: Mechanical, Performance, Sound Recordings, Synchronization and Print Rights. A detailed overview of each can be found (listed in alphabetical order) on our Music Publishing And Licensing Terminology guide.

Compositions + recordings = intellectual property

Since music compositions and recordings represents intellectual property, music is most commonly promoted and sold via a wide range of unique licensing types with pricing based on the terms of usage. For example, the most familiar kind of music license is the “personal-use” license used for retail sales, allowing audiences (aka fans) to play their favorite artist’s music, such as yours, on their CD player, iPod or other player means. This license is only for personal use and can therefore not be used for any other purpose which would require a different kind of license, such as a commercial license for use in a video game, film, radio, tv ad or slide show, etc.

Standard license types

For a list of the most common kinds of music licenses, see our list of Standard License Types. Each license type includes a brief description and usage details. To learn how the standard (default) pricing is determined for the LicenseQuote calculator, please review this question on our FAQ page. For a broader overview of the various Music License Categories And Types, review our blog article by the same title.

What makes you a music publisher?

If you own or represent copyrighted music and recordings and make them available for sale (i.e. licensing), you are considered to be a music publisher. As a music publisher you have the rights and opportunity to make your music available to the public for personal use (i.e. retails sales to fans) and for commercial use to licensees (the music licensing buyers) who will pay you a licensing fee based on their use of the music for their various commercial projects.

Retail vs commercial licensing sales

Increasingly in today’s multi-media environment, commercial business-to-business music licensing applications often out-perform sales of the basic “personal use” licenses. As a publisher it’s advantageous to offer both, as one kind of sale can promote and increase the value of the other. This is a business and marketing decision each publisher, record label and content library needs to decide for themselves how to best exploit and promote the licensing of their various music rights assets.

Increased sales and profits from commercial licensing

From our research and experience, over a 1 – 2 year period many publishers can generate about $3 – $4 of commercial licensing sales for every dollar of personal-use retail sales to fan audiences. Commercial licensing sales are less frequent but can quickly surpass the revenues of hundreds, and even thousands, of personal-use (CDs and downloads) sales to fan and live event audiences.

Additional resources

If you are new to music publishing and licensing, visit our “Music Licensing 101” page to access a variety of orientation resources.

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