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How Much Do the Rights to a Song Cost?

Licensing a song or music for use in a video is an expense that you may not have considered in the production budget, but then you hear the music playing alongside the view of the video and you can’t help but to want to keep it. If you really want to engage your audience, music is key, but how much do the rights to a song cost? This question comes up a lot at Beverly Boy Productions so we’re setting out to provide an answer.

The cost to license a song or music for your video can vary widely based on the music. Copyrighted songs cannot legally be used in videos without proper licensing and many musicians that copyright their works expect royalty fees for the music. On the lowest end, a song might cost $30 or $50, other songs can cost $100 and some can cost tens of thousands for just a clip of the music. This all really depends on the popularity of the music as well as on the artist that owns the copyright.

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Getting permission or the “rights” to a song is important if you intend to use it in your video. Failure to do so would leave you with fines and the potential of other negative consequences. If you’re really interested in a particular song, then you must track down the owner and secure rights so that you can incorporate the music into your video production.

If you don’t want to track the owner down, consider using an alternate that is royalty-free. This may not be the same song (in fact it certainly will NOT be the same), but you can find royalty-free songs that are still nice to work with. A royalty-free license is one of the options that you will have. Keep in mind that royalty-free does not mean “free” and it does not mean licensing free. You will still have to pay for the license.

There are many public use and open source options that exist to secure music for videos at a fraction of the cost of those that are already owned and copyrighted. Just make sure that you are providing appropriate credit and purchasing the licensing for any music that you include in your video productions.


Famous songs are likely to have significant royalties associated with their use. So while you may love the “We will we will rock you!” Theme-song and want to play it in your video, there’s a chance that the royalty fee associated with licensing the single use of this portion of such a famous song will cost you — and it could cost big!

Keep in mind that you need to understand the difference between copyright and licensing. A copyright protects the song and is something you will purchase if you create original music tracks for your film. This way others cannot steal your music. Licensing is the fee that you pay to use someone else’s copyrighted music so that you do not get in trouble for copyright infringement. 

The average cost to purchase rights to a song will be between $50 and $150 for an independent artist. Famous songs can cost $500 to $5000 or more. Just a short 10-second advertisement of a very popular song can quickly add up to $10,000 or more.

Keep this in mind when seeking the rights to a song and also remember — you can negotiate with the song owner and attempt to reach an agreement that allows you access for a lower rate.