What Does Royalty-Free Music Mean?

When you see “download royalty free music,” you may think this is free music. Royalty-free music can be free, but usually it is not. In this blog, I will explain what it really means so that you can be more confident when downloading the right music without unexpected costs.

What does royalty-free music mean?

What it means

Let me take a moment to explain the term “royalty-free” in detail. When you need music for your project or video, you will usually have to compensate the creator every time it is played. In other words, you are paying the composer “royalties”. However, with royalty-free music, you don’t have to worry about this. Basically, you can use the music without paying any royalties. 

Is royalty-free actually free?

Usually no. It just means you don’t have to pay ongoing royalties. However, you will mostly have to pay a one-time fee to purchase the license. Though, royalty-free music can be free if the creator decides to share the license with you. For example, you can download some of our Restful Mind relaxing music without any payment. Visit our website for more information.

Is royalty-free music the same as copyright free?

No, there is a difference between copyright-free music and royalty-free music. We now know that royalty-free music means you don’t have to pay ongoing fees whenever the music gets played. Still, there is copyright on this music which means you will have to buy a license from the creator that proves you are using the music legally. 

Copyright-free means that there is no “owner” or “creator” of the music that you need to consider. Copyright-free music is rare because music creators automatically gain copyright when they create new music. Sometimes music is called copyright-free, because the composer is allowing it to be used without needing a license. In theory this music still has copyright, but you can enjoy the use of it without any limitations. 

Different kinds of royalties​

Musicians and songwriters receive different types of royalties when their music is played or performed. The most common types of royalties in music include mechanical royalties, performance royalties, synchronization royalties, and print music royalties.

  • Mechanical royalties are paid to songwriters for the replication of their music onto CDs, tapes, and digital downloads.
  • Performance royalties are paid to songwriters and publishers for the public performance of their music, whether through live performances, radio airplay, or streaming platforms.
  • Synchronization royalties are paid to songwriters and copyright owners for the use of their music in film, television, and other media.
  • Print music royalties are paid to songwriters and publishers for the sale of sheet music.

In conclusion, each type of royalty compensates artists for different uses of their music, and it’s important for musicians to understand and track their royalties to receive fair compensation for their work.

Where to get royalty free music?

Many websites share royalty-free music from many artists. You can subscribe or pay a fee, depending on the site. A few well-known sites with all kinds of music genres are:

If you are looking for relaxing and meditation music specifically, these are a few of the best options:

Written by Maura ten Hoopen

Written by Maura ten Hoopen

Founder of Restful Mind || Meditation + Hypnosis Music and Blogs

Maura ten Hoopen is the talented composer and founder of Restful Mind! She pursued her passion for music by graduating from dance music production at the Herman Brood Academy in the Netherlands. Her royalty-free relaxing music is a reflection of her passionate approach to meditation music. She also created a community by starting the Restful Mind blog written by coaches, for coaches. 

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