What is Music Licensing?
Music licenses are the primary way artists can receive royalties for their music, by giving legal permission to someone who’d like to use their work. In general, there are seven types of licenses that someone can use for various purposes. They are: synchronization license, mechanical license, master license, public performance license, digital performance license, print rights license, and theatrical license.
Types of Music Licenses
As instructors we are only concerned with 3 types of licenses based on how we will perform.
- Public Performance License (PPL License)
This license is perhaps the most common form of music license issued today. While ‘performance’ may be a limiting term, it applies generally to any broadcast of an artist’s work in a physical space. This refers to gyms, studios, parks, parking lots, and your drive way. Performing rights organizations (PROs) such as BMI, SESAC, and ASCAP generally manage public performance licenses and issue music royalties to artists on a per-use basis.
- Digital Media Performance License (DPL/DML License)
This newer type of license applies to any transmission of an artist’s work using the public Internet, mobile wireless communications, and data networks. This refers to Websites, Third Party Site Embedded Video Player, and Streaming Applications such as Zoom, Dacast, Twitch, Vimeo, ZIN Studio, etc. In short, this covers you in digital world. Performing rights organizations (PROs) such as BMI, SESAC, and ASCAP also manage digital performance licenses and issue music royalties to artists on a per-use basis.
- Synchronization License (Sync License)
This method of licensing refers to music that is going to be paired with some form of visual media. For us this applies directly to "On-Demand" recordings and it is the reason ZIN Studio only allows Approved Music to be used for Pre-Recorded Classes.
What kind of music can I use without a license?
That depends as not all Music is License-Free / Royalty-Free.
- License-Free (Royalty-Free) Music
You may use royalty-free music found on various websites with their approval which may require some form of payment to purchase the song. Some of these companies are Epidemic Sound, Power Music, Yes! Music, and Muscle Mixes.
- ZIN Studio / ZIN Now
Without a license, you can only use songs in the ZIN Studio Pre-Approved List for your live streams and pre-recorded classes as long as you are ZIN. This also includes any music labeled with and as these are ZIN exclusives and Zumba Originals.
- Music Streaming Services
All music played through Apple Music, Spotify, Pandora, and YouTube WILL NEED the appropriate license.
- All Others
For all other music you WILL NEED the appropriate license.
Do I need a Music License for ZIN Studio™?
Short answer... Yes, if you are performing music not on the ZIN Studio Approved List. This is addressed in the ZIN Studio FAQ's.
Can I use any music I want in a ZIN Studio™ livestream class? Do I need to have public performance license(s) to teach livestream classes?
Yes, you can use any music you want in a ZIN Studio™ livestream class as long as you have obtained the necessary public performance license(s) from the Performance Rights Organization(s) located in your country. If you are already paying for a public performance license (to teach your in-person Zumba® classes), it may also cover your virtual classes — please contact the Performance Rights Organization(s) in your country to confirm. Should you have any questions concerning music licensing, please email email@example.com.
Source: ZIN Studio FAQ's
So what does this mean? Without a music license, you can only use songs listed in the ZIN Studio Pre-Approved List for your live streams and pre-recorded classes as long as you are ZIN. This also includes any music labeled with and as these are ZIN exclusives and Zumba Originals.
Do I need a Music License for Sommos™?
Short answer... Yes, if you are performing music not on the ZIN Studio Approved List or as approved by the format you are teaching.
Sommos addresses this in 2 separate sections of their ZIN and SYNC Members: Frequently Asked Questions section.
What can and can't I do on Sommos™ based on my ZIN/SYNC licensing agreement?
ZIN/SYNC License Agreement guidelines must be followed when using the Sommos™ platform. For example, it is each instructors responsibility to ensure that he/she has the appropriate music licensing rights in place for the classes they post on the Sommos™ platform.
Zumba and STRONG Video on Demand classes can only be hosted on ZIN Studio, SYNC Studio and Sommos following the right guidelines
What music guidelines apply on Sommos™?
Instructors are responsible for obtaining the necessary licenses for the music they use in their classes. Depending on the class type, those rules are different:
For video on Demand classes, generally speaking, instructors need to obtain master, synchronization, and public performance licenses, or use license-free music. For Zumba classes, you may use songs outside of the Zumba Pre-Record approved list as long as you obtain the right licenses.
For livestream and in-person classes, generally speaking, instructors need to obtain the appropriate public performance license(s) from the Performance Rights Organization(s) (“PROs”) in the country in which they are teaching. In the United States, the PROs are ASCAP, BMI and SESAC. Instructors may or may not need licenses from all three societies based on their use and selection of music.
If you have questions about music licensing rights, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
So what does this mean? Same as with ZIN Studio™, without a license, you can only use songs listed in the ZIN Studio Pre-Approved List for your live streams and pre-recorded classes as long as you are ZIN. This also includes any music labeled with and as these are ZIN exclusives and Zumba Originals.
Performing on Social Media (YouTube, FB, IG, Twitch)
If your music use is only in content posted to your social media account(s) (ex: YouTube channel, Facebook account, Instagram account, Soundcloud account, Twitch account, etc.), you do not need a music license. This is because they monitor audio broadcasts and will often mute you should you be playing copyrighted music automatically. Moreover, if you continue to violate their music policy, your account may be suspended or blocked.
If your content has been blocked, contact the service directly with additional questions as they may require you to prove you have a music license in order to continue broadcasting.
Do I need a PPL or DPL?
This all depends on where/how you will be performing a song.
- Public Performance License is required if performing a "non-royalty-free" song during any in-person class at any location that does not have a Music License.
- Digital Performance License is required if performing a "non-royalty-free" song during any online virtual class regardless of application or website used.
What are the penalties for not having a DPL when streaming?
While the chances of getting caught are extremely low, if you do and you are not licensed by the Performance Rights Organization (PRO) be prepared to pay from to $200 - $150,000 (USD) PER SONG. Now don't freak out, they will usualy send you a warning first telling you to get one before continuing your classes... "usually".
Now with that said, just know that performing without a License is considered Copyright Infringement, a Federal Offense. Further, it's extremely hard to fight this in Court as they would have video evidence of you infringing on their copyright.
The legal penalties for copyright infringement are:
- Infringer pays the actual dollar amount of damages and profits.
- The law provides a range from $200 to $150,000 for each work infringed.
- Infringer pays for all attorney’s fees and court costs.
- The Court can issue an injunction to stop the infringing acts.
- The Court can impound the illegal works.
- The infringer can go to jail.
What are the costs for Music Licenses?
As of December 8th, 2022, costs are as follows.
- ASCAP - New Media License
$266/yr. (min) + required reporting of total # of students, sessions, and income generated. This is made in quarterly payments.
- SESAC - Internet Performance License
$678/yr. (min) + required reporting of total # of students, sessions, and income generated. This is made in semi-annual payments.
- BMI - Digital License
$381/yr. (min) + required reporting of total # of students, sessions, and income generated. This is made in quarterly payments.
How do I get a Music License?
Here are the links for the big 3 PRO's.
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