Our team have done extensive research on each library. In this guide, you can easily review pricing, features and usability to help you make the best choice for your needs when licensing music. If you spot anything in this guide that we've got wrong or is out of date, do please drop us a line and we'll correct it!
Production Music Library Overview
So before we get started on the nitty gritty, here's a quick overview of each of the libraries we have reviewed:
That's us! We license production music for pretty much anything. As we own all our music exclusively, we can essentially create a license for any production. We work with anyone from vloggers to large ad agencies and TV broadcasters.
Audio Network -
Audio Network license their music in almost exactly the same way as Cinephonix. Their library is large and their prices are higher compared with Cinephonix.
Premium Beat -
Renowned for their excellent blogs, Premium Beat license music for online, TV, ads, games and radio as well as providing an extensive library of sound effects.
License Lab -
A production music library aimed primarily at commercial projects.
Music Bed -
Perfect if you're looking for an indie inspired production music library. They represent both composers and musicians giving you the ideal blend if you're not sure which you want.
Audio Jungle -
Royalty free production music at rock bottom prices. Works great if you're on a budget and they're also powered by the Envato Market giving you access to stock photos, videos, themes and graphics too.
Another platform that isn't just all about the music. Their huge library gives you plenty of choice on both music and stock footage.
Audio Blocks -
Access royalty free music, sound effects and loops covering every mood, style and genre you can think of.
Pump Audio -
Powered by Getty Images, Pump Audio has hundreds of production music, sound effects and artists for music licensing.
Exclusive Vs Non-Exclusive - THIS IS A REALLY IMPORTANT POINT
Some music libraries only accept music on an exclusive basis meaning the tracks you find in that library can't be found in any other music library. Other libraries except non-exclusive music so a composer could upload a track to one library, then 're-title' the same track and upload it to another library and so on.
Our opinion is that you should be careful when using non-exclusive music libraries. In this digital age where sites like Facebook and YouTube have copyrighted content scanning technology there are a increasing number of cases where one library is claiming ownership of a track - and could force ads on a video - when the video owner has actually licensed the same music track from another library. It can land you in a bit of a pickle!
If you like reading the small print, you can find more details on the finer points of music licensing here.
One thing's certain, you're going to have a budget for music - be it large or small. Prices differ hugely across music libraries - we've grouped them into 3 categories so you have a handy overview of the costs.
£ = under $25
££ = around $45 mark
£££ = over $99 mark
Most libraries also offer blanket licenses.
Prices correct on music library websites on 28.3.17.
View Cinephonix Rate Card
STEMs are the individual instrument files that make up a track. Using the STEM files rather than the single master track gives you more control in your edit. For example, you can remove instruments, fade out the melody line but keep the background beat. You can essentially customize the track to suit your edit.
Using Cinephonix STEM Packs
Try Before You Buy
We all know what happens - you love a track, purchase it, put it in your edit and then your client or director doesn't like it and wants it changed. Being able to download a track before you pay for it is very useful.
Some music libraries let you download the full quality track before paying, others provide a 'watermarked' version (usually a voice over saying something about copyright) and others simply don't offer this service.
There's nothing more time consuming than selecting a heap of tracks and having to download them one by one. A number of music libraries offer a bulk download service - usually by sending you a zip file containing all your licensed tracks.
Finding a perfect track can take hours, if not days! You can cut down on search time by having the music library do the initial searching for you. Choosing a library that offers search assistance can save you hours of frustration!
Help Me Find Music!
Automated cue sheet generator
Filling out cue sheets can take up a lot of time, especially if you've used a lot of music in your production. Most libraries who have a lot of clients producing TV commercials and TV broadcast productions will have some form of automated cue sheet generator.
So hopefully this has given you a few pointers to get you started. Ultimately though, it always comes down to the music. Features and functionality can save you time and money but great music will make your production shine! Good music, well categorized music, high quality music. In our opinion, these are the most important points. Have an explore of all these libraries - we're sure you'll see and hear one that works for you!
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