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Different Types of Online Music License

calendar04 Mar, 2020
timeReading Time: 5 Minutes
Online Music License

In the present scenario, technology is taking over people’s life at an extraordinary level, The Music owners, creators or Music distributors own the copyright for their Music and grants Online Music License to earn the royalties as compensation for their Music. Online Music License grants legal permission to the person who’d like to use the music work of the Copyright owner.

Music cannot be used by any person without obtaining an online Music License. Also, for sharing the Music externally on the internet as an advertisement, it is important to obtain an Online Music License.

For streaming the Music online for any songs or lyrics which a person did not write, it is important to get permission by taking an online Music license. The types of Music License depend on the type of stream a person is opting for. In this topic, we will discuss the need for obtaining the Online Music license, Different Types of Online Music License.

What is an Online Music License?

An online Music License is a license in the form of an agreement between the owners of the Music and the music user to use their Music. Artists or Copyrighted owners make money in the form of royalty by giving Online music licenses to music users. It also grants them exclusive rights. Though only the owner of the Music can enjoy the below-mentioned privileges-

  • Use their Music in Public.
  • Audio and Video music recording of their song.
  • New arrangement and variations in the song.
  • Produce copies of the printed lyrics or Music.
  • By using the recording on the radio or television.

A music user can also enjoy the same privileges after getting an Online Music License by the Copyright owners.

Types of Online Music License

Before using copyright music, it is important to get permission from the owner of the Music by obtaining Online Music License. There are different types of Online Music License where the owner can grant a license based on the type of stream the music user wants to opt-

Online Music License is of 6 types which facilitate permission for almost all the uses of Music –

Types of Online Music License

Synchronization License

Synchronization License is an Online Music License issued when a music user wants to record a song that someone else wrote in a video format. For YouTube and cover song videos, and corporate videos synchronization licenses are most commonly issued. It is an agreement between the music user and owner of songs that have copyright, that permits the user to release the song in video format.

Note – Even if the user is using a small part of the song, he needs a synchronization license.
Synchronization License

Exception-In exceptional cases, a synchronization license is not required: Synchronization license is not required where-

  • The person wrote the song for herself.
  • Songs that are already known to the Public.
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Mechanical License

The Mechanical License is a license issued to grant permission to the music user to release the song in the Audio format. This License is generally issued for cover songs or to use the copyrighted song. Same as the case of Synchronization License, even if the user is using a small part of the song, he needs a Mechanical license. A Mechanical license is an Online Music License issued for Audio-Songs only, and it can be in any form of Audio Product-Compact Disc, Digital Downloads, Communication Audio streams.

Using the original song(Audio) belonging to someone else needs a Mechanical license, where the user will pay the composer for the right to use the composition. To foster the creativity in the music field, a special section of copyright was implied, named as the Compulsory Mechanical Licensing.

Mechanical License

Master License

A Master License is a custom negotiated Online Music License the form of an agreement between a music user and the owner of a copyrighted audio recording that gives a permit to use the recording. Master License can be granted by the copyright holder only and can be a bit complex process. An attempt is required to be made to find the copyright owners by yourself and to obtain permission for Master License.

Example-For Commercial or Corporate purpose, use of the popular original recording, requires a master license. Other examples are Mashups, Campaigns for advertisement, television, film also required a Master License.

Why is it difficult to obtain a Master License?

Master Licensing is difficult to obtain because the Master holder keeps a proper check on their work. In case of a master license, the owner can set the price as per his wish and can also reject the License.

Print License

A Print License grants permission to reorganize, print, or display the music notes or lyrics of the song. Print License is like a Master license, i.e. Custom Negotiated which can directly be granted by the Copyright Holder. Before anticipating the release date of distribution, it is important to secure the Print License because it is hard to obtain the Print License.

Note – Even for the small portion of the song; you need a print license. Any new arrangement of an existing composition requires a Print License

For example, It the lyrics of a copyrighted song is printed, or there is a display of song lyrics on the web site of your company, you require a Print license. Even for the use of a small portion of the song, it is required to obtain a Print license.

Public Performance License

A Public Performance License is an Online Music License that grants permission to play the song in public or online. Whenever a user performs in Public a song that he did not write, he must obtain a Public Performance License. Also, if the recorded Music is played in Public, i.e. in club or concert, Public performance licenses are required.

Who handles the Public Performance Right?

Public performance rights should be handled by the institutions, venues, and radio stations that particular Music is being used. However, in the case of Private Events, Small artists and DJs often don’t need to secure a public performance License.

Public Performance Right

Theatrical License

In the theatre industry, Theatrical licenses are very common. Theatrical License is an Online Music License that provides permission to an individual to use a Copyrighted song in a Play, theatrical show or a dramatic performance.

Before any Public display, it is required to obtain Theatrical License. Theatrical License is required at any time a copyrighted work is performed on-stage in front of the Public.

Same as in the case of the Master License, an attempt is required to be made to find the copyright owners by yourself and to obtain permission for Theatrical License.


Online Music License is the primary source where the artists or Copyright owners can receive the royalties for their work (Music), by granting permission to the individuals who want to use their work. Online Music License varies from Synchronization License to Theatrical License. Types of Online Music License helps the user to use the copyrighted work for various purposes. The License includes rights and tenure for which the licensee can use the copyrighted Music or material related to Music.

Read our article: How to get a Music License for playing Music in Restaurants in India?

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