Many think of libraries as places to obtain books and other materials. When hearing the word ‘library’ after ‘music,’ it’s understandable to think of music libraries as a place to get music. Although versatile and valuable, music libraries don’t exactly work with the traditional concept of libraries that the public is used to. For example, you cannot check out a CD from your local library and use those recordings in a work or school project.

Let’s learn about how music libraries are used and where someone can get songs to use in their projects.

Music Libraries vs. Popular Music

Music Libraries are pre-made collections of music created with production use in mind, including clearance of copyright permissions. For example, one company owns the publishing and recording rights to the music, which means there is no complicated process of getting permission to use the music. The composers know their music will be used in TV, commercial, movie, or other productions.  Thus, there is no need to get artist or composer permissions, as is often needed for popular music.

Music Libraries are very rarely repositories of popular, known songs, but they do an incredible job of keeping up with music trends, what is requested and trending, and what works within the worlds of the production that these libraries support. These collections include genres ranging from classical to country and rock to hip-hop to light and happy tracks that sit well behind voice-over.

Using a High-Quality Music Library

What makes a high-quality music library experience? Here are some questions to ask before you make a purchase:

  1. Quality of music: Did the library take the time and effort to work with good composers, find excellent recording facilities, and ensure the created sounds complement trends in popular music?
  2. End user indemnification: Did the library follow legal practices? If there is an issue, will you be supported? Have they verified the works are clear of samples and that the composers created independent works of their own?

Music Clearance

How does someone find and use a favorite song? It’s not a quick process. Music Clearance is the process of granting varying levels of permission to use music. Costs might include fees to help secure rights as well as the cost of publishing and master rights. There are professional services available to help ease the burdens, such as locating a perfect song or negotiating rights, that can be involved with the music clearance process.

The difficult process and resources involved with clearance helped with the evolution and creation of music libraries. Another challenge with selecting music includes exclusive licensing agreements, meaning a specific song might be licensed to a TV, commercial, movie, or other production. Music libraries help users to access their desired selections in a timely fashion, and in many cases, in more cost-effective ways with less burden to the end user.

A reputable music library will tick all these boxes and will be an invaluable production resource. To learn more, visit here.


Author: Zak Sirlin

Zak helps a wide variety of clients find and license beautiful music. He grew up in McLean, Virginia, and graduated in 2015 from Trinity College Dublin as a Psychology major. At Trinity, Zak was a vocalist in classic rock cover bands and DJed at parties in the Irish countryside. He moved to Los Angeles after college, and took jobs selling software to high-rise buildings, as well as financial services to produce farmers. Pivoting to pursue his dream of working in the music business, Zak was thrilled to join the APM family in 2019.
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