When to get permission

If you broadcast live or recorded music on television, make sure to get permission for any songs you did not write, recordings made by other people, and lyrics you show. You may need a combination of master, synchronization, public performance, and print licenses, depending on how you use the music. Licenses should be secured before the music is used. You do not need to license songs that you wrote yourself or songs that you know are in the public domain.

How the royalties are paid

Artists whose music appears on television typically will not need to secure public performance licenses because these are covered by the station. Station operators need to secure public performance licenses. Expect to report your playlists and pay a percentage of your revenues to three agencies that distribute the royalties to the composers: ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC.

Synchronization, master, and print licenses are a bit more complex. You pre-pay royalties upfront based on a custom-negotiated fee. When you hire us, we deliver your request to the copyright holder, negotiate the fee, and present it to you. If you accept, we collect the entire fee from you (which includes the royalties), and then send 100% of the royalties on to the copyright holder. If you need to reorder, a new license is negotiated. You have the option to follow all these steps yourself or hire us for assistance through our custom licensing services

How to get permission

For synchronization, master, and print licenses, check out our custom licensing services or contact us.

To obtain a public performance license in the United States, please contact these agencies: ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC.

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