Music Publishing and Licensing Blog

Film Sync License – License music for a movie production

This article introduces the most common uses relating to the Film Sync License, one of the popular LicenseQuote standard license types.

Film sync license basics

Basic title: Film Sync License or just Film Sync.
Short description: License music for a movie production.
Usage detail: This license is for any video or film project which will be shown in theaters. If your project will not appear in theaters, a “video” or “single units” license is what you need.
Base Price: $210 (Based on “For Profit” usage, lower for non-profit and student film usage)

License property options

The property options listed below provides the most common suggested uses. When selected, the pricing is calculated according to the Publisher’s pre-set values, and can be changed by the buyers to compare different usage scenarios. Custom uses, not available with the standard options, can also be negotiated via a Custom or Request quote license option to be negotiated with the publisher.

Property Type – For profit, non-profit, student film
Distribution – Festivals only, Theatrical (USA), Theatrical (local/regional), Internet Only, Theatrical (Worldwide), Theatrical (Non-USA)
Trailor Usage – No, Yes
License Duration –  Up to one year, Perpetuity
Usage Type – Background or source music, Feature music, Theme / Credits Music

Film sync licensing, related terminology

Audio/Visual Work
An industry term for film, television or any other visual production.

Film Music
Music and recordings for film can be licensed from publishers and record labels. Unlike licenses for normal broadcasting or performance, rates for these master use and sync licenses are not fixed, so film (video, advertising, etc.) makers negotiate a price. Library and catalog music providers offer ready made, pre-cleared recordings for a wide range of video (and other) applications, while films with larger budgets often have custom music created on a for-hire basis with license pricing additionally negotiated.

Music Library
A collection of musical compositions that are licensed by the publisher or administrator for use as background, theme, or score music, on radio, broadcast and cable television, films, or video productions.

Master Use License
A phonographic copyright license to pay recording owners for music used in film, video, or TV soundtracks. There is no fixed fee for master use licenses, but is commonly about equal to the value of the composition for a specific license usage, or about 50% of licenses which would include both the composition and master.

Pre-Cleared Music
Music that is ready to be licensed for various commercial uses including video, film, advertising and the like. See also Film Music.

Production Music
See Film Music.

Synchronization Licensing
Synchronization (or sync) license is the licensed right for a film or other audiovisual medium to use music to synchronize (match) to recorded images in an audio-visual product. It can be a commercial, video game, film, TV show, music video, DVD or website, etc. A sync license usually produces a negotiated fee for certain rights depending on the usage. Synchronization rights are licensed by the music publisher to film and video producers, ad agencies or other program or product producers.

Other common Sync License uses:

A synchronization or “sync” licence is needed for a song or instrumental score to be reproduced onto a television program, film, video, commercial, radio, or even a phone message service. It is called this because you are synchronizing the composition as it is performed on an audio recording to a film, TV commercial or spoken voice-over. If a specific recorded version of a composition is used, you must also get permission from the record company in the form of a “master use” license. The synchronization royalty is paid to composers and publishers for use of a song used typically as background music for a movie, TV show, or commercial.

Please visit our Gallery to preview a sampling of publishers with various production music libraries available for sync licensing with your film, tv or other audio/visual projects. Most of them also offer custom music production upon request.


  1. Pamela Royal says:

    Hi, Can you please tell me where I can get these contracts:
    1. RATE SHEET, for licensing and usage of music.

  2. Pamela,
    LicenseQuote has several articles which discuss standard rates for typical license uses. Use the blog search tool (at top right) to search for these terms to learn more:
    1. standard pricing calculator
    2. license pricing research

    Record labels and music publishers using our LicenseQuote subscription service have access to standard and custom automated licensing contracts which cover the most common music licenses including mechanicals, synchronization and various custom licensing deals. You can learn more on our FAQ page: