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The Difference Between Royalty Free Music and 'Chart Music'

Historically, royalty free music had accrued a poor reputation, often associated with terms like, ‘musak’, ‘piped music’, or ‘lift music’. However, this is by no means a good representation or association of how the music industry has changed over recent years. Where previously, the difference between royalty free music and Performing Rights Society (PRS), and Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL) controlled ‘chart music’ was seismic, this is no longer the case.

In our previous blog, we discussed the democratisation of music and how this pervasive musical enablement has led to a rise in the quality of musicianship. Chart-topping artists like Ed Sheeran and Arctic Monkeys are testament to this exact point, adding more credence to the rags-to-riches narrative. With less than 1% of recording artists awarded a record deal, there’s still a lot of up-and-coming and grass-roots artists that need help and support. Royalty free music simply offers another route to market for active recording musicians, bands, and artists. Enabling them to earn a fair and transparent sum for the use of their music in a retail, restaurant or hospitality environment. Although royalty free music is free from PRS and PPL music licenses, suppliers should still pay the recording artists for their music.

In summary, there is now little to differentiate the ‘chart music’ you might hear on the radio, to the royalty free music you might hear in a supermarket or clothes retailer. An increasing support for unsigned bands has actually made discovering new musical talent a popular trend. This is certainly evident across the millennials audience, with the rise of BBC Introducing, and Glastonbury’s Emerging Talent Competition. Without new music, the industry would undoubtedly stagnate and wither. It’s the subjectivity of music that continues to help push the creative envelope, driving development and innovation across generations of musicians.

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