Music Licensing

Music Licensing Fees: The Different Types and Which is Right for You

5 Minute Read |

Jonathan Parks

Music Licensing Fees: The Different Types and Which is Right for You

Music to back up your story™. ALIBI was founded on this concept… that we could be a clutch resource to storytellers of all kinds, whether they’re creating content, promoting it or supporting it through advertising.

We’d develop a robust, relevant and kick-ass library tapping professional composers from around the world, and our customers would merely license what they need.

It’s the product of years spent fine-tuning as we listened to the needs of our clients to strategically structure tracks, add stems and create new search functionality, among other things.

We know that extra effort on the backend means our clients reap the benefits: simpler, more effective searches.

Finding that perfect track doesn’t have to be difficult, so why should it be any different to navigate music licensing fees? For ALIBI, this is another process we’ve gladly vetted (and re-vetted) to bring clients fair and flexible options based on the scope of their projects while allowing us to keep working with a top echelon of diversely talented composers.

“ Today we’re not only seeing more content, but also more ways to consume that content than ever before. And with 23 ½ out of 24 content hours per network channel per day typically needing music, the way we license music tracks needs to acknowledge a much more dynamic landscape where the scope of usage varies widely.” Jonathan Parks

The Different Types of Music Licenses

Those who license music or sound effects from ALIBI typically choose one of the following options:

  • online checkout
  • custom quotes
  • blanket deals
  • approved vendor rates

Related Reading:


Online Checkout for Straightforward Projects, Independent Content Creators & Social Media

Online checkout provides instant licensing on a track-by-track basis, with pricing based on the scope of usage, which you can specify during an automated, turn-key process. This is a great, straight-forward option for the most typical project scopes.

For basic, lower-to-mid-tier licensing like social media videos, this option is all you’ll ever need to add professional, high-quality music to your projects. The online checkout makes things a lot easier, and the rates are all pre-determined.

Licenses range from $19/track for independent content to $3,000 for a national broadcast commercial.

Custom Quotes for Multifaceted Projects, In-Show Music, Big-Budget Film Trailers, Network Promos & Branded Content

A custom quote is a negotiated per-use fee based on the project type, media involved and length of term, with the price based on those parameters. ALIBI understands that such project scopes can vary greatly, so we’re flexible and offer competitive rates in order to find something that works for everyone.

For example, the rate for a one-year TV license will obviously differ for a big brand with multiple versions of an ad running constantly versus a smaller brand on national television, but with a much smaller media buy. All of this is taken into consideration when determining the music licensing fees.

“Another reason it’s more expensive for a really wide-reaching campaign is that it can burn out the track. So if we license something for a Tylenol commercial that’s running every 10 seconds somewhere, not a lot of other advertising agencies are going to want to use that track right now,” he adds.

“On the flipside, an Instagram post isn’t going to get that kind of reach and won’t be seen enough on an ongoing basis to really register and get music into people’s heads like that much that’s already associated with something.”

Blanket Licenses & Approved Vendor Deals for Consumer Brands, Ad Agencies, Digital / TV Networks, Programming Production Companies or Any Company with Frequent, Ongoing Music Needs

Most of ALIBI’s network and television production studio clients fall under one of these remaining two music licensing fee options, both of which involve set rates in place that we negotiate with them, whether for in-show or promo use.

They can either have a

that provides unlimited licensing for an annual fee, or they can have a set approved vendor rate that enables them to license music provided they track and send us a report of all uses every quarter.

“While blankets are obviously my favorites (it means they’re using us a lot!), it’s important to note that all of these options are designed with the utmost fairness in mind for everyone involved, and we’re also incredibly flexible if someone needs us to work with them under special circumstances,” Parks says.

Licensing Fees Directly Support ALIBI’s Artists & Operations

Perhaps the best way to understand what comprises ALIBI’s music licensing fees is to understand where that money goes.

“ First, half the money we collect is paid to the composers. We, in particular, only work with full-time, professional composers. That’s how they make a living, they’re really good at it, and we need to pay them well so they can keep doing it.”

As far as the rest of the collected money goes, ALIBI divides it among the organizational effort – the files, client services, accounting, legal and insurance – to make sure everything runs smoothly and nobody has any complications from us or the music we provide.

“There’s also the cost of developing new music for our client base and for the use of the industry. And what’s left, of course, is profit, although lately we’ve put that right back into business. So much for that pocket-lining record label image that died with the ‘90s!” Parks says with a laugh.

Share Article: