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There are two types of watermarks. LicenseQuote does not deal with either one, but you can add such watermarks to your files before you upload them to LicenseQuote. LicenseQuote does not alter your files, and the watermarks will remain intact.

Inaudible watermarks

These cannot be heard and no one knows they are there. Their purpose is to track (unauthorized) usage of your songs after the fact. There are companies specializing in this kind of watermarks, and in later tracking the “airwaves” to identify usage of these watermarks. Without the tracking part, this kind of watermarking is not very useful.

Audible watermarks

Many music libraries put an audio watermark on their tracks every 20 seconds or so.  The reason this is done is to ensure that the track cannot be used without permission and that a user will need to buy a license to get the unwatermarked version. This acts as a deterrent.

In general, you find that the cheaper royalty-free style libraries that are selling licenses for around $20 (e.g. Pond 5 and Audio Jungle) are doing this, but some higher-end libraries are doing this as well. It’s a mater of philosophy.

Many users for obvious reasons do not like audible watermarks. If you’re pitching to music supervisors, or advertising agencies with licenses in the $1,000s then even if you do audio watermarking it would not be advisable to send them files with watermarks as they may be using the track under dialog and a watermark would interfere with that. It’s also just not what they expect, so you should practice your best judgment.

One possible, hands on, strategy is:

When a new customer registers with your store, you can do your research and qualify them to make sure they are authentic. You should have a good idea as to exactly who is downloading your music (assuming you enabled preview/demo track downloads in your Rate-Card). The store also provides you with information on customer activity through tools like the ‘Sales Report’. With this, you can see who downloaded a preview track from your store. You will also get an email notification whenever a preview file is downloaded, so you’ll know who is downloading what.

The majority of your good business will probably be with customers that you have built a relationship with and with whom there is mutual trust. A strategy can be to follow up with anyone who has downloaded a preview. Although not 100% failsafe this can almost be as effective as watermarking.

Depending on your market you may or may not want to add watermarks. You need to consider the balance between putting off potential good customers due to the watermark, and the security of knowing that your music is probably (though not certainly) not going to be used without a license being purchased.

If you want to add audible watermarks to your tracks we highly recommend this tool (we tested and used it ourselves):

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