What is Production Music?
Production music (also known as stock music or library music) is the name given to recorded music that can be licensed to buyers for use in film, television, radio, and other media. Often, production music libraries produce and own the music. Music producers individually compose and arrange it to license it on a nonexclusive basis. It enhances visual and audio productions, such as television programs, television and radio commercials documentaries, training videos, and additional multimedia formats.
The licenses are generally issued as synchronization licenses. This means that you must use the music min audio and/or visual project and that you cannot use it without negotiating a synchronization fee. The licensing fees are reasonable because they are nonexclusive. On the other hand, the disadvantage is that the music is not composed explicitly for a particular project. Also, the music does not match the action as well as customized music. It is rare to hear extensive use of library music in high budget projects.
Unlike popular and classical music publishers, who typically own less than 50 percent of the copyright in a composition, production music libraries own all of the copyrights of their music. Thus, it can be licensed without the composer’s permission, as is necessary in licensing music from standard publishers. This is because music producers create virtually all music created for music libraries on a work for hire basis. This is a convenient solution for media producers—they can license any piece of music in the library at a reasonable rate. In contrast, a specially-commissioned work is usually prohibitively expensive.
Production music libraries typically offer a broad range of musical styles and genres, enabling producers and editors to find what they need in the same library. Music libraries vary in size from a few hundred tracks up to many thousands. Consequently, clients frequently use this music as a theme and/or background music in radio, film, and television. Music producers create this type of music specifically for use in audio and video programs. When a school buys it, they also purchase copyright permissions not granted with standard music purchases. So, students and teachers can use this music in their video projects, make and even sell copies of the program, and broadcast the program without paying royalties or violating copyright law. When you buy production music, you’re buying the right to do this.
Producing library or production music is a competitive business. The music can be costly to produce, advertise, and promote. It is a niche business and can be lucrative for a versatile composer/producer. Dozens of companies are in the business of creating, marketing, and selling professional-sounding production music. Depending on the company, the songs may be similar in mood and style, or they may be quite different from one another. Production music composers and session performers typically work anonymously and have rarely become known outside their professional circles.
Production music is a bit more expensive than popular music. Avoiding copyright problems is one of the biggest reasons to buy and use it, but there are several other reasons. Production music is anonymous; it is perfect for narration and has acceptable context. It also creates a professional atmosphere in your studio and has various lengths. This type of music sounds quite similar to pop and jazz tunes we hear on the radio. However, it is designed to be purchased by video producers for use in programs that will be broadcasted or duplicated.