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Hi, I'm Dan-O. I am a singer songwriter and I also like making instrumental music which you can use royalty free. Click here for info on licensing my music and songs for your video, photo slideshow, film, app or other media. For questions about my music see the FAQ.

What is Production Music?

When I tell people I run an open source production music library, I often get asked “What is Production Music?”. Its a bit complicated, but I’ll try to explain it here : )

While popular music publishers hold about 50 percent of the copyright in a typical compositiona production music library usually owns the entire copyright of their music. This means the music can be licensed without the permission of the composer.

Many media producers like to use music libraries as it’s a convenient solution for them. They can license a piece of music quickly at a good rate and they don’t have to spend the thousands required to license more popular works.

These libraries contain all styles of music and various genres so the producer or editors can find the types of music they want to use. Libraries can have several hundred tracks or many thousands of tracks. In 1927 De Wolfe Music created the first production library for use in silent films.

Examples Of Production Music

In radio, television, and film, the background music often comes from a production library. British T.V. shows like BBC’s Grandstand, the Benny Hill Show, and Monty Python’s Flying Circus all used production music as a background during the shows. American T.V. has used production music too such as in Monday Night Football, The People’s Court as well as The Ren and Stimpy Show.

The performers who work in production music are usually anonymous and they aren’t known outside of their professional circle. Some composers have achieved cult status such as Keith Mansfield, John Cameron, and Alan Hawkshaw. There’s a bigger interest in their production music from the 1970s, and 1960s. Some of these production composers have given performances under the name KPM Allstars in recent years.

The Business Model

There are two income streams in production music which are:

License or synchronization fees—these are paid to the library upfront to synchronize the music to video, audio, or film. The fees for this vary greatly from country to country.

Performance Royalty or Performance Income—When the music is publicly performed this type of royalty is generated. The broadcasters give these fees to performing rights organizations who distribute the income to their members. A library can receive about 50 percent of this income and the performer the other 50 percent.

Libraries

Some libraries are affiliated with large publishing and recording companies like EMI, or Universal Music Publishing Group. However, there are both large and small music production companies in the UK, US, Canada and other locations.

Some smaller libraries don’t charge customers for licensing music upfront. The customer will purchase a CD where the content is licensed to them to synchronize when they wish. These libraries get royalties from performances for the bulk of their income.

Some libraries are non-exclusive which means the library gets the composer to sign a non-exclusive agreement which allows the artist to license the piece of music to other clients and libraries. The composer can’t have exclusive contracts with other companies, however.

So to sum up, when people ask me “What is Production Music?” I explain that the main difference between what I do on DanoSongs and what a record label does, is that I sell music to people to actually use and not just to listen to.

cc license photos

flickr.com/photos/opensourceway
flickr.com/photos/morula_org

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