Music Licensing Explained

Why do I need a music license?

Music is considered an intellectual property and is protected by copyright law, so when you use music in an audio or audio/visual production, you need to get permission from the folks that wrote the “song” (synchronization license) AND the folks that own the “master recording” (master use license)… otherwise, you are breaking the law. At Music Fortress, we represent both parties, so we can offer you one stop, simplified licensing. Seriously… we really do make it easy, and oh so cost effective! Our process is easy and our prices are great! Plus, every time you license music from us, you are supporting real artists who are out there giving it their all. 

Why can’t I just include music in my audio/video production from a CD or digital download that I already own?

When you purchase a CD or digital download for your personal music collection, you can listen to it as often as you want to. You can not, however, take a song from your personal music collection and incorporate it into audio or audio/visual content that you are creating, because this type of use requires permission from the copyright owners of the “song” and the “master recording”, in the form of a synchronization and master use license. For example, if you want to use your favorite Adele song in your latest YouTube video showing your new puppy chasing his tail till he gets dizzy and falls over, technically you’d have to get a license from Adele (the songwriter) and from Adele’s record label (the owner of the master recording). It’s the law. Music Fortress YouTube licenses start as low as $1 – which is way cheaper than a lawsuit! So feel free to license our music for as many cute puppy video’s as you’d like to make! (We love puppies….)

I previously licensed music for a project… do I have to license it again if I want to use it in a different project?

Yes. A synchronization/master use license is granted for a specific use in a specific project. The information that you provide during the licensing process appears on the license that you were granted, and restricts usage to that project and those conditions. If you want to use the same song in a different project, you will have to go back through the licensing process to get a new license that is specific to the new project.

I don’t have time to search for music for my project… can Music Fortress do that for me?

We will be glad to suggest music for potential inclusion in your project! CONTACT US with detailed information about your project, how and where the music will be used, and the type of song you are looking for. Include as much information as possible. Links to similar songs or information about similar artists that demonstrate the style and vibe of the music you are looking for are also welcome. Our Music Supervisors will search the catalog and send you a playlist of streaming audio links for music that we feel might be a fit! If you find something you like, you can either complete the licensing online or give us a shout and we will handle it directly!

Can I license directly from a person at Music Fortress instead of using the online licensing system?

Absolutely! Our online licensing process is designed to be quick and painless, however, not everyone loves technology and we don’t want you to feel like you are locked into using the online system. If you’d prefer to negotiate a license directly with someone from our team, simply send an email to and describe your project, your budget, how you will use the music, and tell us what song you are interested in licensing. We will be glad to get back to you with a quote and work directly with you to provide a license!

How does the Music Fortress online licensing process work?

You can search our catalog from the comfort of your home or office, via our ADVANCED SEARCH PORTAL or curated PLAYLISTS. When you are listening to a song, and you decide that you want to use the song in your production, simply press the LICENSE button found under the media player to begin the licensing process.

A separate window will pop up showing the song name and credits, and will allow you to select a Category, License Type, and answer a few basic questions about your production. The cost of the license is calculated once your selections are made. Then you simply click on the PURCHASE button. This brings up a screen that allows you to review and approve the license and input your payment method (credit card or PayPal). Once you have done that, your song and your license is immediately ready for download!

Why do I have to register with License Quote before I can get my license?

License Quote is our e-commerce service provider that handles secure processing of payments for the licenses requested by our content creators. In addition to a safe, encrypted, secure payment experience, registration creates a private portal for you that keeps track of all of your licenses and authorized downloads for your projects. Once you have purchased a license, you can log back into your account at any time to review and or download the music that you licensed.

What if I can not afford the calculated license cost?

Our prices are extremely competitive and we pride ourselves on offering you the highest quality music by real artists, at a price that is affordable. (You can check out our price points here: License Rates / we think you will be pleased!) If your budget does not support the calculated license cost, you can always make us an offer by placing a “Clearance or Special Quote Request” as explained below.

What is a “Clearance or Special Quote Request” ?

We understand that content creators work with all types of budgets. We want to be your “go-to” resource for licensing, so if your budget does not support the calculated license cost, you can tell us how much you can afford for the license (based on your budget) by giving us a quote of what you are able to pay for the license. When you place a quote on a license, an email is sent to Music Fortress and we will review your request and have the opportunity to accept your quoted price. Once we accept your price, you will get an email that will allow you to complete the licensing process at the agreed upon cost!

Help!! I am having technical issues… what should I do?

As much as we love how technology can simplify things, we understand that occasionally you may experience technical difficulties that are beyond your and our control. If you need help with something, send us an email at describing your issue, and we will do our best to resolve it in a timely manner. We’ll even handle the licensing directly if need be. Whatever it takes! We want to be your “go-to” resource for music for your content.