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Adaptr Blog
How to Legally Stream Music in Your App
Posted by Lauren Pufpaf
January 9, 2021

So many different types of apps benefit from a really great music experience. 

Fitness - what’s a workout without the right music?

Social - we all want to express ourselves through music!

Mobile games - from casual games to social casino games to VR fitness, music takes a game from ordinary to memorable.

But, most developers and startups find music copyright incredibly confusing. Without a music consultant and specialized legal counsel, you could be spinning your wheels for months trying to figure out how to license hit music for your app. 

CAVEAT: In no way are we offering legal advice, just trying to simplify the complex world of licensing.

Adaptr was created to change all that. We’re rethinking how the entire process is done to make it easy to get music into your app. There are no up-front advances, no lengthy contract negotiations, and we take care of all the reporting and payment. Never before has popular major-label music been available for businesses in this way.

So, how do you legally stream music in your app?

The process is simple: Find the music you want on adaptr, integrate the SDK into your app, stream music, and pay only for what your customers listen to.

If you’re just delving into the world of legal music streaming, you likely have a long list of music licensing questions. 

Below are some of the questions we hear most frequently. If you have more, shoot us a note to support@adaptr.com.

Why do I need multiple licenses for a single song?

Every piece of recorded music has two different copyrights that each require a license – the copyright on the recorded version of the song, often called a “master recording” and a copyright on the underlying words and notes for each song generally referred to as a “composition” (because it is written by composers). Adaptr covers ALL of the licenses you need to stream each song in our catalog legally.

Are music rights global?

In short, no.

There is no such thing as an “international copyright” that will automatically protect a work throughout the world unless licenses are obtained directly from copyright holders (e.g. labels and music publishers). Outside the United States, most licenses are handled by rights societies in each country. Master Recording licenses can be obtained either from US record labels or their counterparts in other countries. Publishing licenses other than PRO’s need to be obtained from publishers in whatever country you are offering your product or service (although many publishers outside the US can cover multiple countries). Protection against unauthorized use in a particular country depends on the national laws of that country, which means that rights need to be secured for each country in which you wish to play music in a commercial setting.

What are the penalties if I don’t pay for licenses?

Fines for copyright violations can be as high as $150,000 per infringed work and the music industry has increasingly been cracking down on app developers over the last several years.

Can't I just use Spotify's API?

If you're planning to make money from your app, the answer is no. 

There are multiple means to integrate music depending on your needs, as we have mobile native SDKs and a JavaScript SDK.

We're working to simplify licensing and make it easy to do the right thing. While copyright law can be complex, streaming music your users will love doesn't have to be.

 

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