Everything You Need to Know About Music Licensing on Your Apps
Created your own app? Depending on the purpose it serves, you might want to bolster your users' experiences by injecting some of your favourite tunes into the environment. Maybe you've created a game, or your sole purpose is to offer a more localized platform to stream music from. Sadly, there's a problem with that - due to a little thing called copyright.
Why Music Licensing Exists
Actually, to put it bluntly, it's not such a little thing at all - the penalties for neglecting copyright laws can be massive - often as much as $150,000 - and, really, the reasons are fair enough. For example, you wouldn't want anyone monetizing your music if you'd made it, right? Sure, there's such a thing as fair usage; but if you plan to use anyone else's content commercially - whether it's music or any other form of media - you might wind up with a hefty fine or simply a notice to remove it from your app if you're lucky.
If it can be proven that you've made money while hosting someone else's music, you might find that the music you're illegally using belongs to an artist that's set on targeting you in the jugular. Take YouTube, for example - anything you upload containing material that doesn't belong to you will be wiped off the platform until you correct it.
The thing is, there's a right way and a wrong way to properly apply music licensing to your apps. So if you want to do it properly and avoid potential litigation, read on for the way to go about it.
How To Avoid Music Licensing Issues
Create Or Pay for Your Own Music: If you're able to produce your own music, why rely on what other people have created? You have the insight in terms of what belongs on your app, so you're halfway there already. If you can't create music of your own, then paying someone else to do it for you is a more-than-viable option.
There are so many platforms available now where you can get anything from content to music creation, all for far less of a cost than perhaps what it might have set you back some years ago. If this is your way forward, make sure you spend plenty of time letting the producer know precisely what it is you're looking for - it pays to have this in mind before you reach out to anyone.
Get Permission from The Creator: Let's be honest, it's very unlikely that you'll be able to make contact with David Gilmour, let alone gain approval to use the Pink Floyd tune you were hoping to put in your app. But, who knows, maybe you're reading this as someone who's got a seriously well-established mobile platform where this is a possibility. Let's be honest, though, that's not really the case - is it?
As a content creator of sorts, that's just made a new app or hasn't been in the game for too long, the best thing you can do is work with other people that are trying to get their name out there as well. There are many talented yet unknown producers out there that can deliver exactly what you want without the need to get dangerous with music licensing. It's an opportunity to help each other progress while also gaining quality music that's entirely unique to your app. Food for thought, anyway.
Source Free-To-Use Music
This is the ideal solution for anyone that's stepping into the new territory of app creation. And it's not even just utilized by these people - some of the biggest YouTube channels still rely on free-to-use music to enhance their videos. The problem there, though, is that the music they use is often heard across various channels. But needs must, and all that.
As someone that's currently creating or trying to further their app's exposure, a steadfast solution to avoiding music licensing issues is to simply take advantage of free-to-use music. It's perhaps not your ideal solution, but it certainly works for the short term.
There are plenty of websites hosting free music out there - all for commercial use too. While you get the chance to utilize entirely original music, amateur producers have the opportunity to put their work out there and create a portfolio with your help.