If a song whose copyright is controlled by TRO is to be used for a film, television show, home video, promo, video game, merchandise, ringtone, and virtually any other type of audio-visual use, a synchronization license must be obtained from the publisher. A music publisher represents songwriters and manages the copyrights of music and lyrics, whereas a record label represents artists and manages the copyrights of recorded performances, or record masters.
A synchronization license will require a license for both the copyright and the record master
Q. What Type of License Do I Need?
- If you want to record and distribute a song that you don’t own or control, or if your business requires the distribution of music that was written by others, you need a mechanical license.
- If you would like to reprint the music and/or lyrics from a song in your print publication such as a novel, magazine, folio, songbook or educational textbooks and material, you will need permission from the publisher as well as the appropriate copyright credit to accompany the excerpt.
- If you are using a song in a film, commercial, television or other medium in which the song is synched with a visual scene, you will need a synch license.
- If you are performing a song in a concert or club, you will need to contact ASCAP and BMI for the appropriate license.
Fees for synch licenses vary greatly depending on many factors, the term, the media outlet and the type of use. Please visit our license request page to get a quote for a synch license.
“Media type” simply refers to your project’s media outlet. In other words, how are you going to share your project with the public? For example, you would select “television” if you were seeking a synchronization license for a television show or “DVD” if you are releasing your production on video on.
This website is intended for licensing within the U.S. and Canada only. For other territories, please refer to our global contacts section to locate a TRO Essex office in your part of the world.
If you would like to reprint the music and/or lyrics from a song in your publication, or if you would like to make an arrangement of a TRO songs, you will need permission from the publisher as well as the appropriate copyright credit to accompany the excerpt. If you would like to request sheet music, please visit halleonard.com for all TRO products.
- Educational Materials such as textbooks or presentations
Yes. If the song has a non-TRO affiliated co-publisher, you will need to obtain permission and licenses from all co-publishing parties.
- Proposed reproduction of the lyrics or music
- Context surrounding the lyrics
- Description of the publication
- Retail Selling price of the publication
- Number of units or Term of the License
- Territory of Distribution
A mechanical license grants the rights to reproduce and distribute copyrighted musical compositions (songs) on CDs, records, tapes, ringtones, permanent digital downloads, interactive streams and other digital configurations supporting various business models, including locker-based music services and bundled music offerings. If you want to record and distribute a song that you don’t own or control, or if your business requires the distribution of music that was written by others, you need to obtain a mechanical license. TRO issues mechanical licenses for reproductions of musical compositions (songs) embodied in sound recordings that are manufactured and distributed in the U.S only.
If you are manufacturing and distributing copies of a song that you do not own or control , you need to obtain a mechanical license. This is required by the U.S. Copyright Act, regardless of whether or not you are selling the copies that you make.
- Reproduce sound recordings, also known as “master use rights” which is the artist recording. Master use rights can only be obtained from the owner of the master recording, usually a record company.
- Include the song in a video. If you are distributing a video that includes music you don’t own or control, you will need a synchronization license.
- Perform the song in public. The performance right is granted by publishers or societies for the public performance of a song. If you need to license performance rights, you should contact ASCAP or BMI.
- Display or reprint lyrics, print sheet music
- Use the song in digital jukeboxes, background music or ringbacks
Under the U.S. Copyright Act, if you are manufacturing product outside of the U.S and distributing in the U.S and its territories and possessions, you will need to obtain an import license. With respect to licensees located outside of the U.S., there is a distinction between the licenses that are available for the reproduction of physical products, such as CDs, versus digital reproductions (permanent digital downloads, interactive streams, limited downloads, and ringtones).
Because of this distinction, a foreign licensee of digital reproductions can get mechanical licenses from HFA in order to distribute those digital reproductions in the U.S., regardless of the country in which the computer server transmitting the digital reproductions is located. If you want to manufacture and distribute product outside the U.S., you need to contact the foreign society within the country in which you will be manufacturing and distributing the product. For a list of foreign societies and the territories they represent, here.
The statutory royalty rate for licensing for physical permanent digital downloads, limited downloads, interactive streaming, and ringtones is as follows:
- Physical formats (CDs, cassettes, LPs) and Permanent digital downloads (PDD’s and DPD’s) is: $9.10 per copy for songs 5 minutes or less, or $1.75 per minute or fraction thereof, per copy for songs over 5 minutes.
- Ringtones are $2.4 per song per unit
- Interactive Streams and Limited Downloads are determined by a number of factors including service offering type, licensee type, service revenue, recorded content expense, and applicable performance royalty expense.
Yes, a video with music contains three copyrights: the video images, the sound recording, and the underlying song composition (music publishing rights). In a video where you are performing a cover song, you might control the copyrights to the video images and sound recording but don’t control the music publishing copyrights. To use the song, you need to negotiate a synchronization license with the publisher.