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What Exactly Is Royalty Free Music?

This is a question that we get commonly asked and it seems that there are a few misconceptions about what ‘Royalty Free Music’ is exactly. To help clarify what this term means, this article will explain the definition and the common misconceptions that people have about royalty free music.

Essentially, Royalty Free Music refers to a type of music licence that you only need to purchase once and is cleared for use without the need to pay extra royalties or licensing fees to bodies. Simply buy once and you can use the music forever.

The term ‘Royalty Free’ often confuses people for a variety of reasons, but the definition is that the music is ‘free of royalty’. So the video producer is exempt from paying any further fees when synching the music to their video. One single purchase of royalty free music enables you to use the music as much as you want, without needing to pay fees (royalties).


Image of a woman listening to music through headphones. 


The Common Misconceptions

The term ‘Royalty Free Music’ has its fair share of misconceptions and it’s understandable why some people might think certain ways about this. The truth is, there are better ways to describe ‘royalty free music’ such as ‘pre-licensed’ or ‘single fee’ music or buyout music. However, the term ‘royalty free music’ seems to be the most popular and is sticking around for time being.

Here are a few common misconceptions of royalty free music: 

Royalty Free Music does not mean Free Music.

One of the most common misconceptions is that people think its free music. ‘Free of royalty’ music does not mean cost-free. While you don’t need to pay extra royalties for using the track, you still need to pay for the music track itself. For example, when an item is ‘tax free’ it is free from tax, but the product itself is not free.


Royalty Free Music is often confused with Stock Music or production library music.

Production library music is different from royalty free music.  With production library music, a video producer can select a music track and synch it to their video. However they will need to pay the mechanical fees and performance fees everytime they use the music in their production. Costs ( needletime ) are calculated depending on the duration of the music used and how many times it features, also if the same music is used in a series eg signature tune then the producer will have to pay the fees everytime. If you are producing many episodes , this can be quite expensive. With Royalty Free Music this does not apply, you can purchase the music once and then it doesn't matter how many times you use the music on your video. Buy once use forever. Headache free music.


Royalty Free Music is not low-quality music.

Some people believe that because a music track doesn’t have any fees, they automatically presume that the quality of the music is poor. Ten years ago, royalty free music did have a poor reputation for churning out cheesy music produced very cheaply, however, nowadays this is no longer the case. Royalty free music is now of such exceptional quality, it's often used in broadcast. It’s usually the management of the library that constitutes the overall quality of music selection. In the AKM music library, we hand select every single royalty free music track and make sure they meet a very high-quality standard. We only take on composers, who have extensive media composition experience and only accept the finest music productions. Unlike some libraries, we do not allow composers to upload their music without previewing and approving their compositions to ensure only the best is available for your video and TV productions.


Browse AKM Music for Royalty Free Music

AKM Music is a UK-based library that produces high-quality royalty free music for all types of media and video productions. We provide an extensive library of music genres including action, cinematic, comedy, dance, festive, romantic, sports, and many more.

Browse our range of music tracks and albums here.

For more information about our music or licenses, please call us on 01926 864068 or you can send us an email through our contact form and we will be in touch shortly.


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