When discussing the topic of copyright, a mass of terms within ever-changing rules and laws, can make it seem almost impossible to keep everything straight. While it may be difficult, it is possible for you to understand (and maybe even master) copyright.

Let’s start by building up your music licensing knowledge. Here, we will cover the basic topics and ideas, breaking it down into smaller, easily manageable pieces that will soon have you on our way to music licensing mastery.

What is a Composition and what are Publishing Rights?

The first step is to know that there are two sides: Master (which covers the sound recording) and Publishing (which covers the “composition” or “work”). A Composition is the underlying notes, melodies, lyrics, song structure etc. that can be written out on paper. Subsequently, the rights to ownership of a musical composition are known as Publishing Rights.

Who owns the Publishing Rights?

The owner of the publishing rights is usually a music publisher or if the songwriter(s) do not have a music publisher, control remains with the songwriter(s).

What is a Synchronization (Sync) License and why is it important?

A synchronization license (sometimes called “synch” or “sync”) is the legal agreement that grants permission to reproduce the musical composition in “sync” with moving images in a media project, such as film, TV shows, commercials, wedding videos, video games etc. Like a master use license, a sync license details how the song will be used (background music, main theme song etc.), where it will be used (major film vs. indie film), compensation, and other terms.

How can Songtradr help?

As is the case with masters, there are often multiple songwriters and/or publishing rights owners for a piece of music, some of which may not be easily researchable and/or publicly available. This can make the process of music licensing difficult and costly. For buyers, Songtradr cuts through the red tape by connecting all copyright owners in one place. On the sellers’ side, all parties receive alerts when an offer is made and can approve how the song will be used, as well as how much the copyright will be licensed or sold for. Once the transaction is complete, the appropriate payout is distributed to each owner, making the music licensing process quick and painless for both sellers and buyers.


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