1. Careers
Send to a Friend via Email

Your suggestion is on its way!

An email with a link to:


was emailed to:

Thanks for sharing About.com with others!

Master License



A master license gives the license holder the right to use a recorded piece of music in a media project, often a film, TV show, commercial or some other visual creation, though the license does extend to audio projects as well. A master license is obtained from the person who owns the recording (in other words, owns the master). Often master licenses are obtained from record labels.

Note that a master license differs from a sync license in that a sync license gives the license holder the right to re-record a song for use in a media project, while a master license gives the license holder the right to use a pre-existing recording of that song in a media project. A sync license (from the publisher) is usually required in conjunction with a master license (from the master owner) to use a pre-existing version of a song with a visual project.

A master license can only be issued for one song at a time. Even if someone wishes to use an entire album in a project, a license must be obtained for each song individually.

Learn More:

Also Known As: master rights license, master use license
Related Video
License to Wed Premiere - John Krasinski and DeRay Davis
License to Wed Premiere-Mandy Moore and Eric Christian Olsen
  1. About.com
  2. Careers
  3. Music Careers
  4. Industry Basics
  5. Glossary
  6. I-P
  7. Master License - Music Master License for Master Recording Rights

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.