How to License Music

How to License Music. Whether you have created an original song, own a restaurant or business that plays music or are interested in using a song in a commercial, obtaining a music license isn't just a good idea; it's imperative. Securing one is easy and will protect your music and business from becoming victim to copyright infringement.

Know which type of license you want to obtain. There are many different licenses for different purposes, and it will ease the process if you learn exactly which one you need. For example, if you own a business that plays CD's in the background, you would want to obtain a "blanket license." These licenses are much different from individual copyright licenses or ones for advertising use.

Visit a licensing agency website. You can obtain music licenses on the web by going to the "ASCAP" or "BMI" websites. Both agencies provide a surplus of information and make it extremely easy to secure music licenses. Also, there is an agency named "Muzak" which offers various "blanket licenses" for restaurants and businesses.

Fill out the appropriate forms and required fee. No matter what type of license you wish to obtain, it's going to cost you. However, each agency's price is fair and is a lot less than the penalty for copyright infringement. Once the paperwork is processed and the fee is paid, you will have the license and, therefore, are protected under a legal binding contract.


  • It is a good idea to copyright your original music if you are shopping it around or playing it publicly. Though anything you create is automatically copy written as soon as you write it down, obtaining a physical copyright holds much more clout in court, if ever needed. You don't need a license if you are a business or restaurant that plays the radio as background music; since the radio station already holds a license to broadcast music. However, if spinning CDs or music digitally through an iPod, you should secure one to save yourself any trouble.

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