Monday, December 5, 2011

Music Monday: License-Free Alternatives

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Our most popular post to date has been Dance Studio Music Licensing FAQ.  If you haven't checked it out, it's worth a read whether you're a studio owner or instructor - including the comments!

After seeing more comments pop up, I became interested in researching royalty-free music.  While there are not that many specifically for dance studios, I did come across some alternatives.

My favorite alternative for royalty-free class music is the use of live music!  However, when live musicians are not easily available (or affordable), you maybe looking for some options.

You will notice that the prices for license-free music is much higher than the 99 cent or $1.29 per track cost of licensed music.  Because license-free artists do not receive royalties, the prices are higher. Either way, here are the tracks which you can use in class or for performance without paying ASCAP, BMI or SESAC:

1) Lynn Stanford's Ballet CD collection - I love Lynn Stanford's ballet music - possibly because my ballet teachers used his CDs throughout my childhood and then again in college.

The only one available on iTunes is #8301 "More Music For Ballet Class" More Lynn Stanford Music for Ballet Class - Lynn Stanford, but you can find the rest on - The ballet music titles that are without license are: #8001, #8301, #8403, #8712, #9121, #9122 (prices range from $16.00-$30.00).

He also has Music for Modern Class ($26.00).

2) David Howard's CD collection
You can find all the David Howard CD's on
Only #8201 & #8914 (where he has combined with Lynn Stanford) are license-free - $30.00

3) "Mermaids & Butterflies" Music for Preschool Dance - piano music great for toddler or pre-ballet classes. Available from for $30.00

4) - Royalty-free instrumental tracks and loops ranging from 1 minute to 10 minutes. Mostly intended to be purchased for DVD background music or "hold" music, however there is some great music in the AcousticIndustrial, World Music, Dark Orchestra sections.
Yoga or pilates instructors might enjoy the full CDs of relaxation music.
Single tracks range in price from $9.99-$29.99

5) - Similar to LoopSound, but most tracks are cheaper.  Tracks range from $2.00-$400.00, but most tracks are $2-5

5) - another royalty-free music clip site.  Try the "dance", "dramatic"and "other eras" music sections for inspiration.  They offer different lengths of each track and also if you purchase a full CD, the per track cost decreases.  Individually, 60-second and full-length tracks range from $19.99-29.99, but a full CD is $49 (each track is then closer to $5).

In my opinion, I find that paying my licensing companies each year and having the freedom to use whatever music I choose is worth more to me than searching for royalty-free music, but I can see instances where it is more economical to purchase license-free music rather than pay licensing fees.  I would imagine that fitness instructors, like yoga and pilates instructors who don't need to worry about performance licenses and perhaps use the same rotation of music for each class would prefer to avoid paying licensing fees and would rather just use royalty-free music.


1 comment:

  1. Just be aware...ASCAP will try to make you pay anyway. They will tell you it is "just in case you accidentally use" their licensed music. They will also lie to you and tell you some of those artists are members of their organization and insist that you pay them. I have personally asked Miro Magloire, Michael Roberts and several others if they are members. They have assured me, in writing, that they do not and will not work with ASACP, yet ASCAP lies and says they are members. ASCAP hires inscrutable reps who will stop at nothing to get your money. This comes from personal experience.


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