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Is “Royalty Free Classical Music” a Redundant Phrase?

Danny Greer

Don’t get into legal hot water!  In this post, we’ll take a look at how royalty-free music tracks provide a great way to use classical music in your film, game or radio program.

Royalty Free Classical Music

Creative people are blessed with a wealth of insight, imagination and ideas.  Unfortunately, they are often not-so-blessed when it comes to more tangible forms of wealth, such as gold, silver or plain old cash.  When they are in need of music for a radio program, TV show, independent film or some other project, the prospect of paying for musical tracks may send their budgets into immediate overload.  Quite often in such cases, the thought of royalty-free classical music comes to mind as an obvious solution.  After all, Beethoven, Mozart and Handel have all been dead for a long time, right?  So, surely there’s no danger with ripping a piece of classical music?

Don’t Assume Classical Music is in the Public Domain

The truth is that recordings of classical  music are usually subject to a maze of copyright laws and restrictions that make their use hazardous at best, and at worst, are grounds for being hauled into court.  The reason for this is simple: copyright laws don’t simply protect the composer of a musical piece; they also cover the artist or artists who perform it.

For example, let’s say that a quartet of talented violin players decides to get together and record a CD of classical pieces.  Even though the compositions they use were written centuries ago, the fact that they are producing their own versions of them affords them legal protection from anyone who might choose to use them without their permission.  It’s not just Beethoven’s Fifth you’re accessing, it’s the Black Tie Quartet’s rendering of the piece that you’re appropriating for your own purposes…and that makes all the difference in the world.

You may find a disk of all of Bach’s compositions from 1967 that is possibly free of all copyright restrictions.  Still you may be facing potential problems.  US copyright law protects such works for 28 years, unless the copyright is renewed, which grants an additional 67 years of protection.  If you use it within that period of time, you are breaking the law, pure and simple.  In addition, a recording that old is unlikely to be of a quality that is useful for any sort of viable project.

You can also perform and record the composition yourself; in which case, you would be the copyright holder and are free to use your creation as you wish.  Few persons are multi-talented enough to take advantage of this option, though.

There are a few other possibilities open to you, such as using music sung during a public worship service, but finding the ideal piece for your project by hauling a tape recorder to your local church or synagogue is probably a long shot.

Finding Quality Classical Music Tracks For Your Project

A simple, affordable alternative to trying to navigate your way around copyright and royalty laws does exist.  PremiumBeat has an extensive collection of classical music—all of it royalty-free and copyright clear.  We have Classical, Rock, Rap, Country, Jazz, Hip-Hop, and many other genres and sub-genres.  It’s produced and recorded using the latest digital technology.  All of our tracks are crisp, clear and distortion-free, and can be custom-fitted to the emotional effect or other response you wish to evoke in your audience.  You can download it in MP3 and WAV formats.  Whether you’re doing a science-fiction thriller, a training video for corporate personnel, a radio ad, or whatever, chances are excellent that we can meet your stock music needs.

Browse through our categories and listen to as many samples as you wish.  Then when you’re ready, you’ll pay a reasonable one-time fee for the tracks you select.  We simple licensing plans to suit almost any need.  Let us be your one-stop source for quality royalty-free classical music.