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SFX License vs. Music License – What’s the Difference?

sound effects license vs music license explained

Introduction to Licensing

So you have that project you’ve been working on, right?

And after you’ve spent so much time toiling away & struggling trying to make sure all of the pieces fit just right, you remember that you still need some audio to complement the work; for maximum effectiveness, so to say.

That’s where the problem arises for most people; there’s plenty of sounds out there that can be used as readily available royalty-free tracks for whatever purpose you wish, the problem is that you have to be licensed to gain access to them.

Licensing in the audio industry is a very important, significant thing. Artists and individuals alike come into legal crossfires every day for not respecting copyright laws and unknowingly infringing upon private property.

As such, when you are seeking to make use of any quality track on the internet, you’ll likely have to buy the license to said piece of audio in order to make full use of it without worry. And with good reason too, without these laws artists would not be able to assume exclusive rights over their work on the internet.

So we’ve established that you’ll be needing a license in order to make use of any worthwhile pieces of audio, but once you start doing some quick searching regarding audio licenses, you’ll find there to be different variations for which to choose.

For this article today, we’ll be taking a look at two of the primary ones in particular; being the SFX license vs music license.

We’ll be delving in-depth into these licenses, comparing & contrasting them as well as going over any other details that may concern them. So without further ado, let us begin.

How SFX & Music Standard Licenses Differ From Eachother

Difference between sound effect license to music license

Your first question, of course, is maybe what exactly is the difference between these audio licenses?

Well, let’s get into the details of an SFX license vs a music license. SFX in particular stands for Sound Effects, and as such, this denotes SFX licenses allowing for the use of specific sound effects that have been protected by law.

The SFX can be anything, from the sound of an explosion or a specific hymn; the SFX license will allow for full utilization of it by the owning party.

On the flip side, you have the Music Standard license, which is almost exactly what it says on the tin. The Music Standard license allows for the enabled usage of a piece of music that was otherwise protected by the law. These are actual music tracks and full productions, as opposed to mere sound effects only as in the case of SFX licenses.

Now that you know the differences between each of them, let’s now go over some details of each audio license.

SFX License

A sound effect license

We’ll save the best for last & go over the slightly more complicated and less useful SFX license first. SFX licenses can actually be divided into two sub-categories within the general SFX umbrella, so let’s go over those.

SFX (Single-Use) License

An SFX single-user license will grant the wielder & purchaser a commercial, ongoing, non-exclusive, worldwide license to utilize the sound effect that has been chosen. A single-use SFX license will be able to generate a usable product for either you or a separate party as well; both can make use of the created product without restriction.

This same sound effect can also be manipulated or modified into an original creation/totally new sound effect if desired.

SFX (Multi-Use) License

An SFX multi-use license will grant the wielder & purchaser a commercial, ongoing, non-exclusive, worldwide license to utilize the sound effect that has been chosen; but this time the effect of the license can be utilized multiple times for the item. Other than that, it has many of the same guidelines as single-use licenses.

Before you acquire sound effects license for your videos, you might want to check out our article about the most used sound effects by vloggers and YouTubers.

Music Standard License

A music standard license

The last & more useful of the licenses that we’ll go over is the music standard license. Unlike the SFX licenses, the music license can be generally summed up in one license type. The Music Standard license endows the wielder with the right to commercially use a licensed work of music. There are some limitations, such as not being able to broadcast and only being able to distribute 10,000 copies max.

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