The legalities of using sound effects and library music in your video game or smart phone app can feel daunting. We’ve assembled a list of the most common music licensing questions and answers below, all in an effort to prevent insomnia, hair loss, and other nasty side effects.
Sound Effects Licensing Questions
Q: Can I use your sounds in my iPhone app, Android app, etc?
A: Yes! We’ve built our library specifically for game developers. You can use our sound effects for games and apps (iPhone, Android, web, Wii, etc, whatever the platform) without any additional licensing whenever the sounds are used in “sync”. Meaning when sound effects are associated with a specific graphic such as game play and interface sounds.
Apps with non-sync sound usage do require an additional license. Examples of needing an additional license are using sfx as part of a soundboard, relaxation app, ringtone app or other app that plays sfx in a ‘non-synchronous’ manner or allows users to select sounds from a cue, library or bank or sounds.
Purchasing sounds effects from our site licenses them for “sync” uses. Contact us for additional “non-sync” licensing.
Music has selectable licenses for games and apps, sound effects do not.
Q: Can I use your sounds in multiple projects?
A: Yes for sound effects. They can be licensed once and used by the licensee in as many projects as desired.
Music on the other hand is licensed per project. If you want to use the same track of music for multiple projects it will need to be re-licensed for each project.
Q: Can I use your sounds in an iPhone app that allows users to select and play different sounds. Does your normal licensing cover this?
A: This would be “non-sync” usage and requires an additional license. We have a simple license that grants you the non-exclusive, worldwide, unlimited rights to bundle the sfx in your app with no further fees due. Contact Us for details.
Q: Is an iPhone app that plays different ambiences accompanied by slide-show images covered by your normal “sync” license, or would it require the additional “non-sync” license?
A: This does require the additional “non-sync” license if the sounds are independent from the graphics. Contact Us for pricing information.
Q: I’m developing an iPhone application that would allow users to choose sounds for reminder alerts. Is this usage is sync or non-sync? If it is non-sync would it require an additional license?
A: This would indeed be non-sync usage and does indeed require an additional license. We have a simple license that grants you the non-exclusive, worldwide, unlimited rights to bundle the sfx in your app with no further fees due. Contact us for details.
Q: I am developing a mobile video game and want to use Soundrangers sound effects but I’m not sure how many downloads I will have. Which ‘Game, Download’ license should I buy?
A: The different license tiers only apply to music, the standard sound effects license you get when purchasing sfx through our web site covers you for unlimited downloads.
Q: Can we transfer sounds to our client? We are building an app for a client and want to use Soundrangers Sounds. Is it legal for us to purchase sounds that will ultimately be apart of an app belonging to our client? Do we need to do some sort of license transfer?
A: Yes, you can purchase sounds that will be apart of a production for a client. This is very common. Many of our users are developers building something for someone else. This is covered under our licensing. If your client requires we can send them something reflecting this. We just don’t want our sounds randomly redistributed in anyway. This is not that. This is using the sounds for what they were intended for.
Q: What would be the license agreement for putting sound effects and music into a slot machine or similar hardware device?
A: We would require a special hardware license for this type of usage. The license gives you the unlimited worldwide rights to bundle the sfx into your hardware with no additional fees due. The license is applicable to one product or similar line of products. Contact us for details.
Q: How do I know there won’t be hidden fees or legal issues?
A: Because we create our own content, we own the rights to our library which guarantees you the right to use them according to our licensing terms without any hidden fees, third party confusion or murky copyright problems commonly associated with free sound or public file sharing sites.
Q: Do we need to credit Soundrangers in our app?
A: You are not required to give Soundrangers credit, but it’s certainly much appreciated if you do!
Music Licensing Questions
Q: Will I have to pay royalties on music usage?
A: No, broadcasters (TV stations, Radio stations, etc.) They are the ones responsible for paying performance fees to the Performing Rights Societies (PRS). Then the PRS pay the composers. Broadcasters always pay a regular fee to the PRS. You just need to report what music was used so the composers can get their slice of that fee.
The music license purchaser (you) are not responsible for making any royalty payments.
Q: Am I considered the broadcaster?
A: No. If you are not already paying Performing Rights Societies (PRS) fees, you are not a Broadcaster.
Q: Do I have to submit a cue sheet?
A: Yes for film, TV and radio broadcast. No for webcasts, podcasts or websites. When in doubt, send us a cue sheet. It doesn’t hurt and won’t costs you anything.
Q: Do I have to submit a cue sheet for a video game?
A: No, not for the actual video game but if the music from the game is going to be used in film, radio or TV to promote the game then yes. This still wouldn’t apply to affect the game usage just the “broadcast” usage.
Q: Do I have to fill out a cue sheet for sound effects?
A: Nope, only for music.
Q: Can Soundrangers’ music be used in two or more games?
A: Yes but music needs to be licensed per project. It can be used in variations of the project and to promote the project.
Q: Which music license should I use?
A: See our Licensing page for descriptions of the different licensing types and prices.
Q: If I am doing an Indie Feature Film what music license would I need, ‘Indie/Short’ or ‘Feature Film’?
A: The ‘Indie/Short’ license. The feature film license is more for large studio, widely distributed and funded films.
Q: I am trying to find on-hold music that I can use for my company’s phone system. Can your tracks be used for that?
A: Yes, if the music is used in your company’s internal phone system only, you can select the ‘Broadcast, Other’ license.
Q: What type of license do I need to purchase for a short corporate video which will only be shown in house, not in public?
A: You can use the ‘Broadcast, Other’ license for this type of use.
Q: I need production music for a video that will play on web, what license should I use?
A: You can use either the ‘Web, General’ license or the ‘Web, Corporate’ license if the video is for a corporate client.
Q: We are a VoIP phone service provider and wish to provide a small library of music that our customers can select from. Our system would then play their selection from that library as on-hold music.
A: Anytime sound effects or music are made available to users as “selectable” or from a “library” it requires a special license. Please contact us for details.
Q: I want to make a promotional video for a game I created containing Soundrangers music to be played on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Is this okay under the game license?
A: Yes, you can use the game music for promotional videos that support the video game.
Q: For an iPhone App that is a game, can it be licensed under ‘Game Unlimited Downloads’ – and NOT the more expensive ‘App Unlimited” license?
A: That is correct. The ‘App’ license is for soundboards, corporate widgets, utility apps, etc. and not actual “games”.
Q: I purchased music clips for my podcast under the license ‘Broadcast, Other’. Would that license cover playing my podcast on YouTube and also a friend’s Internet radio station?
A: It does indeed- the license covers you to broadcast your podcast in any medium you need to.
Q: I bought the ‘Game Download, 500’ music license for my iPhone game. Can I upgrade if my iPhone game actually sells more? Also, for sound effects am I covered no matter how many apps are downloaded?
A: Yes, the ‘Game, Download’ license only applies to the music and yes you can always upgrade the license. You can either upgrade if your app does well, or purchase the unlimited version which covers you for unlimited downloads. We provide price tiers for developers who aren’t sure how many downloads they think they’ll have.
Sound effects are covered for unlimited downloads.