Music transmits emotions, exalts any experience, and enriches any content. Thanks to these attributes, we are tempted to include music in our content when we create videos, applications, video games, advertisements, publications, and so on.
Before making use of any musical work, we must confirm that we have the authorization to “synchronize” it.
Music synchronization: to add a musical work to another work.
If the music you want to include in your content is not your own, you need to make sure you have the necessary authorization to use it.
In the ideal scenario, the music that you are interested in is already in the public domain, i.e., the exclusive economic rights have expired or have been waived by the owner, so anyone can freely use the musical work. Here is an example of both cases:
Original musical work in the public domain, performance under open license
In this example, there are two works: the musical work and the performance. The musical work Clair de Lune originally published in 1905 is in the public domain and the artist who made the performance we are listening to offers her related rights under a creative commons license that only requires attribution to the performer. If you want to use this performance or another work under the same conditions, just make sure you include the attribution to the author. Here you can check more music under the creative commons license.
It is essential to understand that many countries recognize the so-called “moral rights,” which generally do not expire and cannot be waived. These moral rights regularly require the identification of the author and the safeguarding of the integrity of the work, among other prerogatives.
If you are on the other side, meaning the musical work you want to synchronize is under the exclusive economic rights of a third party, you must request authorization and, in many cases, pay for the use.
To request a license to use third-party musical works, you can go to a collective management organization. These organizations are responsible for managing the rights of their members (authors, composers, producers, among others). Here are some examples, where you can check if the musical work you are interested in is in their repertoire:
- United States of America: The American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers
- Spain: Sociedad General de Autores y Editores (SGAE)
- United Kingdom: PRS for Music Limited