Skilled, Strategic, Responsive

  1. Home
  2.  → 
  3. Entertainment Law
  4.  → 5 key terms to include in your music licensing agreement

5 key terms to include in your music licensing agreement

Licensing your music can be exciting. It gives you the opportunity to monetize the art that you’ve poured your heart and soul into, and it can give you the sign of success that you’ve been looking for.

Yet, music licensing can be incredibly complex. Licensing agreements are often riddled with legalese that can be difficult to decipher, putting you at risk of leaving out key terms or failing to understand them. This can put you at a significant disadvantage. You might lose out on compensation, and you could even lose control over the music that you’re licensing.

So, before you take the plunge into licensing your music to others, you should understand some key terms. Let’s look at a few of them now.

Key terms in a music licensing agreement

There’s a lot that can go into a music licensing agreement. Here are some terms that you’ll want to be sure to address:

  1. The right to alter: Many license agreements include the right to reproduce, allowing the other party to create a copy of your music for their use, whether that be to place it in a commercial or to utilize in a film or television scene. Under that right, your agreement may or may not touch on the right to alter. This is key because this term can dictate the amount of artistic control you retain over your music. If you grant the right to alter, then the other party can cut out parts of your song, quiet down certain parts of it, and even add vocals and other musical components to it.
  2. Territory: The purpose of this term might seem obvious, but you’ll want to be careful with how much use you’re granting to the other party, as it could impact your ability to financially gain from widespread use of your music. So, consider what geographical scope your comfortable granting to the licensing party.
  3. Exclusivity: Here, you’re going to address how the music in question can be used. For example, if you’re licensing it to a marketing company, can they use it for any product that they’re promoting? Or do you want to limit it to only one category of products? How you address this term will affect your ability to shop your music around to others who may be interested in licensing it for their purposes.
  4. Term: Be cognizant of how long you’re granting use of your music to the other party. The longer the term, the more you should be paid since a longer term restricts you from licensing the music to others.
  5. Royalties: There are a variety of ways to structure your payment under the license agreement. You could take one lump sum payment, or you could include a royalties provision in the licensing agreement. In the latter, you’ll be paid a set amount each time your music is used. Carefully analyze your situation so that you know which option is best for you.

Keep in mind that these are just some of the terms that you’ll want to address in your licensing agreement. So, if you want to learn more about how to competently negotiate your agreement, then continue to read up on the key terms that you’ll want to be sure to address.

Do you have other music-related entertainment law questions?

There’s a lot that you can do with your music to make it profitable and to help it gain exposure. Many of those option include taking legal steps to protect your art and your interests, though, which is why you should ensure that you know how to utilize entertainment law to your advantage.