Copyright and Audio Licensing for Beginners | Beatoven

Music licensing is the licensed use of copyrighted music. Music licensing is intended to ensure that the owners of copyrights on musical works are compensated for certain uses of their work. A purchaser has limited rights to use the work without a separate agreement.

The right, granted by the copyright holder or his/her agent, for the broadcast, recreation, or performance of a copyrighted work. Types of licensing contracts can include a flat fee for a defined period of usage, or royalty payments determined by the number of copies of the work sold or the total revenues acquired as a result of its distribution. In addition to a basic fee, most music licensing agreements require additional payments to the copyright owner when the work in which it is included (movie, play) is financially successful above a certain threshold.

While some have an in-depth understanding of how copyright and audio licensing work, we see others who find the concepts confusing. Therefore we’ve written in this article that hopefully explains the difference between copyright and licensing, what each means and why they’re important to understand and adhere to.

Understanding Copyright

Copyright is an assigned legal right to a creation that is given to the creator. In this case, a sound effect or music track. Copyright is automatically assigned to any audio work for a fixed number of years, which is slightly different depending on the country it is published in. For example, in America and the UK, this term is the life of the author, plus an additional 70 years. Unless the author has explicitly decided to waiver their copyright, then you should assume that any audio recording is under copyright.

Copyrights do not mean you cannot use a piece of audio in your work, which is sometimes one of the confusions we experience via our support channels. It simply means that someone else owns the copyright of the audio, but by publishing it on a sound library, they have granted permission for others to use it, via a license.

The copyright refers to the ownership of the rights to the audio
The license refers to the rights to use the audio, granted by the copyright owner.
The rights granted to you via a license will vary, depending on who is granting them. So it’s always important to read, understand and agree to these rights before using any audio.

Some of the terms you’ll see in audio licenses

As stated, not all licenses are the same. Some will have restrictions that others don’t, so it’s always important to make sure you read, understand, and agree to the terms of any license before using the audio the license is granting use. Here are a few of the terms you’ll likely come across and what they mean:

Attribution or giving credit

This point isn’t something you’ll often find in a library that you pay a fee to download and use audio from. It’s more than likely in this case that there is no attribution or credit requirement.

Beatoven has become a leading platform for royalty-free beats. So, if you are looking for royalty-free music for free download, Beatoven is all you need. By providing the best quality music library packaged in a straightforward manner beatoven aims at helping you save time. We hope you like the royalty-free music library as much as we do.


The licensee is you, the person who is being granted the license to use the audio in their work. Beatoven is a subscription-based program with three different subscription plans, USD 20/ month, and USD 40/ month, catering to individual content creators, agencies, and production houses respectively.


The licensor is the creator or library, who is granting you the rights to use the audio in your work. It’s important to note that often, the library itself doesn’t own the copyright, but they are part of the distribution chain. The creator (copyright owner) has signed an agreement with the library and given the distribution rights. The library then grants you the rights to use the audio via their license.


When you agree to a license, you’ll be agreeing to indemnify the library and/or creator for any breach of the license on your part if it results in any legal action or other damage or distress.

* A license grants you the right to use the audio in your work.
* The license does not mean you gain ownership of the audio, just the right to use it.
* By downloading the audio, you’ve agreed to the terms in the license.
* You must not share the audio ‘as-is’.
* By breaching the terms of the license, you are liable for legal action.