Music Licensing Agreement Template

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A music license agreement is used in the music industry to establish the rights for a copyright owner. This legal document explains who owns the legal rights in an exclusive or non-exclusive fashion to a piece of music, a video, or a song to someone who is using that piece of music, video, or song. Fill out this legal form on Lawrina in minutes and download a ready-made document for multiple uses.
Paper titled "Music Licensing Agreement"; music playlist; woman singing and playing the guitar; microphone standing in front of the woman

The music industry is tightly connected with media, people, and legal paperwork. Anyone who wants to use music samples in movies, TV, or other visual media must get a license from the music creators. This is where music license agreements come into play to help the parties legalize the deal and ensure the protection of intellectual property rights.

In this template description, we will cover types of music licenses, scenarios of using a music license agreement, and steps on how to create a personal music license agreement according to your needs.

What Is a Music License Agreement?

A music license agreement outlines all the terms and conditions for music use between the copyright owner (licensor) and the party intending to use the copyrighted music (licensee). The licensor is usually a composer, a songwriter, or a record brand –– the sole owner of the music. Licensees can be TV producers, filmmakers, video game developers, and others willing to apply music to their materials.

When to Use a Music License Agreement

The worldwide music industry and related areas offer various scenarios for employing a sample music license agreement. The common cases are the following:

  • Television and film industry, where various musical compositions are must-haves;

  • Advertising campaigns;

  • Live events like concerts and festivals;

  • Streaming services;

  • Other visual media.

Before creating a music license agreement template, it is essential to understand music license types.

Types of Music Licenses

Here’s a non-exhaustive list of music licenses necessary for distributing the copyrighted music:

  1. Synchronization license (sync license):
    This type of license is required when a licensee wants to add music to visual media (e.g., commercials, TV shows, YouTube videos, etc.). Since these projects are introduced to a large audience, licensees must be authorized to use soundtracks with a music licensing contract.

  2. Master license:
    This music license enables the licensee to deploy a pre-recorded music sample or master recordings in a project.

  3. Public performance license:
    This license is granted when sound recordings are broadcasted in public places like restaurants, clubs, stores, transportation, etc. Music owners may require royalty payments for using their music in public.

  4. Mechanical license: 
    This music license allows for creating cover versions or remixes of existing music in physical or audio-only formats, such as CDs or downloads. 

  5. Print license:
    This permits licensees to reuse the song lyrics.

Knowing the necessary type of music license you want to grant or obtain will help you create the right music license agreement. Lawrina offers a professional music license agreement template, ready to be customized to your unique situation online.

Benefits of Music Licensing

1. Shielded intellectual property

A music recording is a product of the mind that should be protected by intellectual property and copyright laws. Without music license agreements, composers, songwriters, and other parties creating music will not be able to prove their authorship rights and will not be paid for their work.

2. Clear payment terms

Music license agreements allow the parties involved to spell out fair compensation rules for the usage of a song or master recording. This section should also explain royalty payments issued every time the music product is used in public. When all payment terms are written in detail in a music license agreement template, the parties will avoid future legal disputes or lawsuits.

How to Write a Music License Agreement

A simple music license agreement template should cover the details of a music sample, the selected type of license, its geographical scope, royalties, termination, indemnification, and warranties. Below are the clauses you should fill out in your future legal contract:

  1. Music sample. This information includes the type of music, its name, and the author’s name. If the owner is a record label or a publisher, mention the company names and the names of its legal representatives.

  2. Grant of rights. This explains the rights the licensee acquires after signing the music license agreement. The rights may allow the licensee to perform, distribute, or reproduce the music during the contract terms. 

  3. Type of music license. The licensor must clarify the purpose of using music and the exact channels through which it can be used. A licensee who fails to follow the defined terms risks breaching the music license contract.

  4. Territory. This clause specifies the geographical area where the licensee can use the music. For example, if the licensee may publish or perform the music only within the U.S., any performance in other regions would cause the contract termination.

  5. License duration. The parties themselves define the validity period of the music license agreement, whether it’s a couple of months or perpetual music licensing.

  6. Royalties and compensation. A royalty fee may depend on the number of times when the music is used and listeners. Other fares, payment methods, and terms of renegotiating fees should also be mentioned in this provision.

  7. Termination and breach. This section describes how the parties can end their music license agreement and the termination conditions. The party willing to end the cooperation must inform the other party of their intentions with a prior written notice. 

  8. Indemnification and liability. The parties to the music license agreement should be aware of all possible legal claims and exclusions.

  9. Governing law. Here, the parties should specify the jurisdiction in which this music license agreement operates. For example, if it abides by California state law, all legal disputes and conflicts must be resolved under California state law respectively.

Other essential details to include in a music license agreement template are force majeure and confidentiality clauses. These standalone sections elaborate on unforeseen circumstances and terms of keeping the contract information confidential.

Conclusion

Creating a DIY music license agreement is no longer a complicated process. Simple template-related questions offered by Lawrina will help you add correct information and prepare an original legal contract for negotiations. After the paper is revised, design an electronic signature on Lawrina and put it on your newly created music license agreement to ensure the intellectual property rights are safeguarded, and music licensing is legally enforceable.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is responsible for paying music license fees?

Usually, the individual or entity intending to use the copyrighted music must pay the music license fees. This cost forms part of the music license agreement along with any other distinct stipulations that may impact the calculation of fees due. Both parties must come to a consensus on a payment formula, which should cover the method of payment, initial expenses, royalties, publishing, methods of navigating payment discussions if terms need to be adjusted, and all other financial commitments. 

How do I license my music officially?

Secure your copyright through the U.S. Copyright Office. This process underpins your artistic rights and ensures your legal ownership. Then sign up with a Performing Rights Organization (PRO) — ASCAP, BMI, or SESAC — who will collect royalties for you by tracking public performances of your music. 

Why should I license my music?

Licensing establishes your legal ownership, protecting your original work from unauthorized use or infringement. Beyond mere protection, licensing unlocks financial opportunities, enabling you to earn from your creativity. Every time your music plays publicly — in a club, on the radio, or in a film — you receive royalties.