Music Sync Licensing

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Music Sync Licensing

A Brief Introduction About the Music Sync Licensing

A music sync license is also recognized as music sync licensing, is known to be a music license that is granted by the owner or composer of a particular piece of work. The license permits the licensee or buyer, the right to use the music in a visual piece, like a movie, video game, or commercial.

Who Takes the Music Sync Licensing?

Music sync licensing is an agreement made between a music user and the owner of a copyrighted composition (i.e. song), that grants permission towards releasing the song in a video format (YouTube, DVDs, and Blu-ray discs). This permission is known as synchronization rights and sync rights.

Purpose of the Music Sync Licensing

For any music syncing companies Music sync licensing helps grants permission toward the release of a song. When you release a recording of a song that some other person has written in a video format, no matter how small of a portion it is, you require a music synchronization license. Music Synchronization Licenses are mostly used for YouTube videos, also song videos, wedding videos, and commercial and business videos.

Contents of the Music Sync Licensing

A sync license agreement usually includes

  • The intent of the director or producer to make use of a particular song in his work.
  • A specific fee for one-time use by the owner. The cost depends on the prominence of the piece, how it would be used, how much of the song shall be used in the piece, and whether or not the piece shall be utilized in its original form or enhanced through another artist.
  • The scope of use which comprises of three components
    • License Term, or the length of the agreement
    • License Territory/Market, which determines to which markets and territories the license will apply
    • Nature of Use which refers to the way in which the music will be synced.

Depending on the song, the cost could range from a small fee to hundreds of thousands of dollars for a well-known song.

The right towards the music typically belongs to the publishing house that represents the owner. The copyright is divided into two parts:

  1. Master Sound Recording: This is the actual studio recording and is owned by a record label.
  2. Composition: This includes the music notes, lyrics, as well as tunes written by the composer and songwriter, commonly owned by the publisher.

How to Draft the Music Sync Licensing?

How to get a sync license? It must be obtained from the copyright owner of the music, which is usually the publisher. A “song” mainly has two components: the composition (music notes and lyrics of a song, which is made by the composers) and the original recorded audio (recording of musicians who play the song, which is made by the artists).

Many times the composers and artists could be the same people, but not always. These song components could be owned separately through different entities. For this purpose, there are two types of licenses in order to protect the two creations:

  • A Mechanical License (audio-only) or Synchronization License (video) for the composer to protect the composition,
  • A Master License in order to record the artist to protect the original recording. It’s important to realize both components, and both types of licenses when getting permission for a “song”:

You can refer to a music synchronization license template while drafting.

  • Composition (Mechanical or Synchronization Rights): The composition is usually music notes and lyrics that define a song. The rights towards the composition are generally owned by the composer or their publisher. Permission is received through a mechanical license (audio-only) or synchronization license (video).
  • Recording (Master Rights): The recording includes the performance of the composition (song). The rights towards the recording are generally owned by the artist or their record label. Permission is received through a master’s license.

This agreement pays a royalty towards the copyright holder (owner) of the composition which he has created (song). This is made generally by the composer or their publisher. Though, sometimes rights are being sold. In case the synchronization rights are sold, a song may have a new owner, apart from the original composer or publisher. For this purpose, it is vital to locate the current copyright holders before making any synchronization request. how to license music

Benefits and Drawbacks of the Music Sync Licensing


  • In the case of independent artists or “upcoming” professionals, music sync licensing could be a major source of revenue and an effective way to reach out to new fans. When new fans listen to it, they might love it, share it with their networks, or purchase the material. It could be a great way to get exposed to a larger audience.
  • This agreement could put a new life into music that was out for a while. A video, TV show, or commercial could bring new attention to an older piece, bringing in new royalty payments as well as fresh attention.
  • Though most artists emphasize their business plans on selling CDs and downloading and on booking live shows, this agreement makes opportunities for artists to get passive income through continued royalties or usage fees. One of the highest benefits of this licensing is that it could lead to “passive income.” Thus, once the music is written and produced, sync licensing could continue generating revenue for artists.


  • Synchronization licensing could be challenging because, by law, synchronization rights’ holders have total control of their works when it pertains to video. This implies they could set any fee, take all the time they require and reject the license outright.
  • Also, different factors affect the response, which includes budget, use, and even the present workload of the copyright holder’s processing department. For this purpose, it is vital to temper expectations when requesting music sync licensing.

What Happens in Case of Violation?

This agreement usually involves publishers, labels, and third parties. This at times might result in permanent strikes on your account, take down of the material, as well as in some cases legal action.

A Music Sync Licensing is essential no matter how small a portion of the song you use. However, you do not need music licensing for songs that you wrote yourself or songs that are available in the public domain. Rest, signing a music sync license can aid you if you are coupled with thought regarding how to license music, and further assist you in the licensing process(1).