Online Music Libraries

When you work in the film or television production industry, you become very familiar with online music libraries. You might even have several favorite online music library apps on your smartphone or tablet. There are many online music libraries available out there, both paid and free. It’s important to have access to the best ones, as well as adequate storage for your favorite, or most commonly used tracks for music licensing.

Many people will fall into the trap of relying solely on online music libraries that are free -- you need to remember that “free” does not really mean “free” in the case of digital music. There are so many different apps and tools out there that can strip videos of their music after the fact if the copyright is flimsy or non-existent.

Today, we delve into the world of online music licensing libraries - the good, the bad, the ugly - and help you feel more confident and comfortable choosing the right online music library to suit your particular professional needs.

Who needs Online Music Libraries in Music Licensing?

The professionals in this world that need access to online music libraries for music licensing may surprise you. Although professionals like music supervisors, producers, directors, and those individuals working with special effects in the movies and on television will definitely need access to vast online music libraries, individuals involved in nonprofits, crowdfunding, video game creation and theater also have a need for online music libraries. Here are some common professions that merit access to online music licensing libraries and why they would need this service:

  • Music Supervisors

    • A Music Supervisor is an important professional that merges the visual footage from a film, television show or other project with the background music or production music to enhance the story. This is the most common profession to utilize music libraries.

  • Producers

    • Producers typically oversee the entirety of a production, so although their main role may not be choosing music from a music libraries for their project, they will often play some role in this process.

  • Directors

    • Directors are primarily behind the scenes during production directing the show. Although, their primary role is during production, many directors have access to post production, including the incorporation of music. It is common for directors to want to be involved in their project from start to finish.

  • Special Effects Departments

    • Special effects departments will be heavily involved in utilizing music licensing libraries as they will need the proper Sound FX to enhance the visual effects they are creating.

  • Non-Profit Directors

    • Non-Profit directors will want to be involved in any and all promos utilized to collect donations or promote the goals of their organization. This means that even choosing the music, which is actually a very emotional process as you want to convey the right message to the audience, will be an integral part of their role.

  • YouTube Personalities

    • There are YouTube personalities of all kinds: comedians, health enthusiasts, and even kids reviewing toys that pull in millions (yes, that’s a thing) There is usually not a crew hired to create YouTube videos, so it will be the role of the personality to storyboard, film, and edit the entire video themself. This means they will need access to a music libraries list to finalize their project. It might be tempting to use a free track from a YouTube online music library, but free music is never a good idea in the long term.

  • Theater Professionals

    • Even though theater performances may not always be filmed and are performed live, it does not mean that music licensing is necessary. You still need permission to use the music and sound effects utilized in a play, so it’s important to have the rights to that music. This means that theater professionals - directors, sound effects specialists, producers, etc. -- will need access to a varied music library.

  • Crowdfunding Promo Creators

    • Crowdfunding videos on popular fundraising sites such as often have videos to support the fundraiser. This might be for a product, a cause, or a personal situation. Whatever the goal of the online fundraiser may be, it is important that the correct emotion is evoked from the audience. If there is a kitchy product being sold, then a particular type of music will need to be utilized. However, if there is a crowdfund for a very ill child, the music choice will be markedly different. Music needs to be appropriate, and this is particularly important when it comes to fundraising videos.

Online Music Libraries for Film

There are many different types of films that are created on a daily basis -- comedies, dramas, action-packed thrillers, spy films, cartoons, documentaries, and so much more. It’s important the the right music licensing is acquired prior to putting any music in a film. Access to a vast music licensing library is key for creating the perfect soundtrack for a film. You can find many different types of music for various genres of film in the TunEdge online music library.

Online Music Libraries for TV

Television shows need different types of background music and production music to create the right emotions within the intended audience. Obviously, this works much like film, however, television shows operate with (typically) shorter episodes within a longer series, while movies are often 2-3 hours and that’s it. This is, unless they are part of a larger series. However, many movies can stand alone within any series of films. In any event, online music libraries for TV are very important to properly conveying any message the episodes intend to create.

Online Music Libraries for Trailers

Since trailers are typically shorter, it’s incredibly important that the creators of film and television trailers have access to music library full of risers, orchestral stabs and other types of sound FX. Be sure to be clear on the type of movie you are trying to promote. Otherwise, it’s easy to turn a horror trailer into a comedy or vice versa.

Online Music Libraries for Radio

Radio programs have the unique ability to function mostly within the library of music they play for their fans. However, if there is a talk radio segment, or any lead-ins for promotional materials, there will need to be music that is properly licensed. In addition, radio shows typically have regular in-show “bits” or routines that will require regular music as well. Access to a varied online music library is key in this situation.

Online Music Libraries for Video

Video music could be meant for a short trailer, a television episode, a film, footage for a live video game, a commercial, or many other types of video-based entertainment or promotional material. Since video varies in type to such a degree, you’ll need access to multiple types of production and background music as well as sound FX. This means committing to an online music library set up for proper music licensing.

Online Music Libraries for Video Games

Video games are often overlooked in terms of music. People talk a lot about the animation or graphics, the ease of play, the entertainment value, etc. However, there are awards out there for best video game soundtrack, so this is definitely something that adds to and enhances the mood of a video game.

Free Online Music Libraries - But are they really?

As spoken about many times before, online music libraries that offer completely free songs for distribution will certainly cause many issues in the long run. There are certain situations where they may come in handy though.

If you are creating a small montage for your mother-in-law full of clips of your children, it’s not really necessary to run out and pay thousands to buy the rights to her favorite song. A track from a free music licensing library will do fine. Also, if you are creating a student film that you plan to only show to your classmates, free tracks will also suit your needs. Afterall, there’s likely not a lot of extra cash lying around between your beer and ramen budget.

However, if you utilize music from a music library free, then you better not have plans to distribute your student film outside of the classroom. Look at it this way: if you are a young, budding filmmaker, but you think you are simply getting your feet wet with college productions, you may choose to utilize free music. The next thing you know, you present your film to your class, and everyone goes nuts for it. You never expected this, but you’re so excited!

You move forward with suggestions from your professor and classmates to enter it into film festivals, maybe even distribute it to some local theaters to be shown around town. Before you know it, you’ve received word that you’re being considered for Sundance -- but wait -- the music you chose is unlicensed, and they cannot consider you further until this is fixed. So, you plunge your savings into overpriced music licensing at the last moment -- and sadly, the festival decides that your movie isn’t the same with different music and they’re going to pass.

Now, you’ve got a project you cannot distribute and you’re in debt up to your eyeballs. Had you focused on spending some time and effort on properly licensing your movie’s soundtrack from the get go, your life may look a lot different. Maybe this sounds extreme, but you’d be surprised how much trouble a lack of proper music licensing for your film and television projects can cause.

Physical Music Libraries - Because we can’t do everything online, right?

There is a lot of value in being able to travel to a physical music library to find the right tracks for your production. There’s also a chance that maybe you or a colleague like to compose your own music. This makes it incredibly advantageous to have access to a physical music library. You’ll be able to listen more intently, access music types that search engines could not dream of, pull sheet music that is not available online, and really have a one-up on the competition.

A great place to start looking for a physical music library would be local university campuses. Not all universities will be open to allowing the regular public inside. You may want to try your own Alma Mater first if you still live in the same area. A second choice would be still visiting a local university, but offering up your expertise to the film or music school on campus.

Universities truly thrive on the company they keep. If you are able to volunteer some of your time to speak to a class or give a workshop, you may find a long-lasting partnership that goes far beyond access to a physical music library.

Online Music Sheet Libraries - The value in learning from composers

If you are trying to create some unique music for your television or film production, and do not have access to a physical music library, online music sheet libraries may be of value to you.

Now, this is not to diminish the incredibly hard work that composers put into their creations. It is not like just anyone interested in music can look at sheet music and get something going. However, if you are musically inclined and know how to read music, you may find some inspiration scouring through online music sheet libraries. You can then meet with a professional composer, work through your ideas and come up with some truly unique music for your production.

Ready to take your online music library to the next level with music licensing additions? At Tunedge, we can help you license the right music for any production, allowing you to be ready to add the best music possible to any new project. This will help you avoid time constraint issues way before production concludes because you have a stacked online music library with all of your licensing in place. Contact Us today to learn more about your options!