Production, library and stock music: diving into the details


Author: Igor Tikhonov

For every media content creator faced with the task of selecting music for their project, it is important to understand what "music resource" they can rely on. This is especially important in terms of the legal aspects, as the use of music without the appropriate rights can lead to litigation.

1. Production music

This is music created specifically for use in various media projects. An important feature is that the rights to it belong to a music company, not to a particular composer or performer. This allows content creators to easily and quickly obtain the necessary licenses for use, bypassing complex negotiations with authors. In this way, production music becomes available to a wide range of media content creators.

2. Library music

At first glance, this is almost the same as production music. The main difference is that library music is a kind of, well, "music library" from different composers, from which you can "borrow" a track. The main difference with production music is that the composers enter into a sublicense agreement with the company that owns the library, but retain the rights to their tracks. Therefore, for end users, licensing of library music is also fairly straightforward, as they get the rights to use the tracks bypassing the authors.

3. Stock music

This term is similar to the concept of stock photography. Instead of the long and possibly expensive process of creating a unique track or licensing a customized photo shoot, creators can simply buy the rights to an already completed work from a stock collection. This is quick, convenient and often cheaper than library and production music and rather resembles a pre-made content supermarket, where the company owning the stock library acts as an intermediary between the creators of the music content and its consumers.

However, it's worth remembering: not all music companies that help the end consumer license music are alike. While at first glance it may seem that the terms "production", "library" and "stock" music are interchangeable, the quality of services provided by different companies can vary significantly. Important parameters to pay attention to: the scale of the music base, the quality of track cataloging, the availability of support from the company's specialists and, of course, licensing terms.

In conclusion, the key theses are:

1. Production music

Owned by the music company, not the composer.

Often purchased on a one-time basis, but composers may receive royalties when broadcast. Musicians sometimes receive a one-time fee and waive further royalties.

2. Library music

Essentially the same as production music.

The name implies "borrowing" a composition that can be used by other consumers.

3. Stock music

The concept is similar to stock photos.

A convenient term to explain the essence of the product.

The payment and interaction mechanism is the same as for production and library music.