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A guide to music fees

A Guide to Music Licensing Fees

There’s a science behind licensing fees. Learn about the fees and how we determine them.

In short, the question of ‘how much does a music license cost’ is a difficult one to answer, because it’s driven by so many different things. The potential viewership of the project is the major driving factor behind the cost of a license — a wedding film license is $49, mainly because it will be seen by few people. As for promotional/branded content licenses, they start at $199, based on a company of 10 or less. The variances are limitless, however, eventually running into custom licenses, in which the costs are negotiated not only on potential viewership, but the particular song being used.

What are typical music licensing fees?

a. Micro Licenses

Micro licenses refer to any license that can be issued at a click of a button from our website. The prices have already been negotiated, and are set based on what type of project you are working on. As a general rule, micro licenses apply to projects for companies under 500 people that are not being promoted through paid advertising. The combinations of projects and micro licensing fees are numerous, but here are a few examples of typical pricing:

  • Wedding License - $49

  • Promotional/Branded Content (1-10 Employees, Web/Streaming, No Paid Advertising) - $199

  • Promotional/Branded Content (51-100 Employees, External, 501(c)3, No Paid Advertising) - $199.50

  • Indie Film ($250-$500k Budget, Programming) - $499

These are just a few of the many outcomes for music licensing fees. Just a note: we don't use the size of a company to exploit their budget. The size of the company helps us predict what the potential viewership will be. As for micro licensing, the particular song chosen does not affect the price — it is determined purely through potential viewership.

b. Custom Licenses (Traditional)

Custom licensing, also known as traditional licensing, has no set price. While our team does have guidelines for negotiating a price, it’s ultimately determined after discussions with our clients. When a license is for a company that has more than 500 employees, or if the license is being used alongside paid advertising, this requires a custom license negotiation. This doesn’t necessarily mean a higher price (although this usually is the case) but applies more to the type of transaction needed for a legal license. Once again, the size of the company is meant to determine viewership, not take advantage of a budget.

How Do You Determine the Price?

Our team has worked for years to hone in on the most appropriate price possible — to be the most fair for both our clients and the artists we represent. As a general rule, most of our prices are set based on potential viewership (i.e. how many people will be watching the project that the music is being synced alongside). While there are outliers, for example a small company that has a major audience or a large company who has a small audience, we’ve found that the potential viewership for a project has the broadest effectiveness.

Ultimately the market price for a song is the amount that someone is willing to pay for it. So in a way, all of our micro licenses are discounted in some form or fashion from the amount a song can garner in a traditional license — whether it’s a non-profit license, wedding license, indie film, or license for a small company. A wedding film will generally be seen by friends and family, and a branded piece for a small company generally has a lower audience — therefore these prices are lower. On the other hand, a license for a indie film with a $500,000 budget or a license for a company with 250 employees, will generally have a larger audience — therefore a larger licensing fee.