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How to legally use music in an iPhone app?

05-31-2011, 03:55 AM
Joined: May 2011
Posts: 2
How to legally use music in an iPhone app?

Hi honorable TouchArcade community,

Iím new to the iPhone games development business and Iíve come here for help.

For my first project, I have an idea to use a popular tune of a well-known rock band. I suppose an intellectual property right issue will arise in this case.
Has anyone ever used music in their games and how such issues are usually solved and legally regulated?

Thanks in advance!
05-31-2011, 04:02 AM
Joined: Sep 2008
Location: Canada
Posts: 2,799
You will have to contact the publisher to negotiate licensing terms. If you only want a segment, publishers often have a price per second and a minimum amount. The cost varies a lot so it would be impossible to ballpark it.

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 じしf_, )ノ

05-31-2011, 05:34 AM
If you want to use an actual recording of a song by a well known band, then you need clearance from the record company as well as the music publisher. If you're going to reproduce the track yourself, then you just need clearance from the publisher. They'll have standard rates based on who the artist is, how well known the track is etc etc. It's really important to get all the clearances done before you try and release though, and don't forget that a song might be owned by one record company in one country, but could be owned by a different company elsewhere in the world, so if you're planning to release worldwide, you could end up having to clear the track with multiple companies.
05-31-2011, 06:49 AM
I stumbled across this site where you can explain your musical requirements and people compete to win the prize you offer. It was interesting to listen to the submissions. Some were really good.


05-31-2011, 07:06 AM
Just use composers, trow in the bin free royalties music

soundtracks and sound effects
for everything that you can imagine
05-31-2011, 09:26 AM
Joined: Nov 2009
Location: Santa Rosa, CA
Posts: 197
Astaware is mostly right: if you want the original recording, the record company gets involved, and if you want to re-record the song then it's just the publishers.

But there are no "standard rates:" I once had a deal on a song for a state-wide lottery commercial and had the publisher ramp up the price ten times because they got a offer for a national spot before our spot even got produced. Also, there is no "price per second" that I've ever heard of and I've licensed a fair number of famous songs for advertising purposes. If you use any recognizable portion, then you've used the whole song as far as they're concerned.

Keep in mind that the App Store is worldwide, so as Astra pointed out, you're looking at a blanket license, for the world, forever. Even a minor hit from 50 years ago can cost you tens of thousands just for a single US state for a year or two.

Also, if you're thinking of using someone else's music and you "suppose" an intellectual property issue will arise, you need some schooling. Buy or borrow from your library a copy of "This Business Of Music" and pay special attention to the sections on synchronization rights. That will tell you everything about how this kind of use is legally regulated.

Gravity Music
Music and sound for Zombieville USA (I & II), OMG! Pirates!, Battleheart and more
"Gravity Doesn't Suck. It Attracts."ô
05-31-2011, 09:39 AM
Joined: May 2011
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 14
original music

definitely don't use anything copyrighted without knowing exactly how you're allowed to use it. I don't know what kind of access you have to using original music, but that is gonna be your best bet in terms avoiding any kind of legal trouble. if you know someone who likes to do that kind of stuff or even if you have garageband or something similar, using original music is the safest route and is more interesting for the player in addition, people make a living off this stuff, don't be afraid to hire out to get some really high quality music.

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- Token Master website.
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05-31-2011, 05:50 PM
Joined: May 2010
Location: Lincoln, UK
Posts: 344
Another vote for original music if you can. I've just done some new music for an update using an iPad app called studio.HD. People I have played it to are surprised by the quality of the track, because I have no music ability at all.

I have arranged to work with a musician for my next game.
05-31-2011, 06:09 PM
Joined: Sep 2008
Location: Canada
Posts: 2,799
Originally Posted by Gravity Jim View Post
there is no "price per second" that I've ever heard of and I've licensed a fair number of famous songs for advertising purposes.
In "the biz" we would obtain a music sync license; the cost of which is in part determined by the requested length. Does that licensing option not exist for games?

(゚、 。 7
 l、 ~ヽ
 じしf_, )ノ
06-01-2011, 12:35 AM
Joined: Mar 2011
Location: Albuquerque New Mexico
Posts: 88
I dabble in making music and loops for my own games http://www.djmoya.com/djmoya-music/ let me know if i can help you out.