September 20, 2013

The Benefits of Royalty Free Production Music: Can it Save You From Legal Troubles?

By Mike Fuller.

Royalty Free Production Music in addition to cost effectiveness can be one way to avoid legal problems.  The key is proper licensing.  Licensors ideally should warrant that they own or control the copyright in a musical composition and/or sound recording.  One problem today is the prevalence of re-titling and re-publishing music. On the surface this is legal when all the proper documents are signed by legitimate parties but in today’s world of music sound recording fingerprints and music recognition issues of copyright often occur despite perfectly legal licensing and sub-licensing.

Many libraries today are made up of almost totally re-titled tunes.  A composer or publisher can submit his or her material to a large number of libraries.  The question becomes, “Who is the real copyright holder?” It’s no wonder that many music supervisors are not licensing re-titled music.  It’s just too risky.

Those who think they can use any piece of royalty free music they may stumble upon, assuming the owner will never catch on, are sadly mistaken.  Music recognition is here to stay.  At CSS, we use TuneSat (NYC) to monitor our performances.  In addition to broadcasts around the world, they also monitor the worldwide web. Fingerprinting is very accurate and strong evidence of infringement when it occurs.  Quite frankly, with music as inexpensive as it is, cheating just doesn’t pay.  Corollary to this is the fact that often even when music is properly licensed, cue sheets are not filled out or even submitted to BMI, ASCAP, SOCAN, etc. as required in the license.  Again, musical fingerprints like their human counterparts, don’t lie.

When cue sheets are not submitted, song writers and publishers don’t get their fair payment for public performance as provided for in the copyright act.  Pure and simple though, using music without written permission is probably illegal, not ethical and a risky business proposition.  Just remember that’s why CSS Music and our competitors are in business.  We sell peace of mind at a very affordable price.   You may think you’re buying music but in reality you’re buying the license.  Make sure you get it in writing and that it conveys the terms and conditions you need for the projects you will be working on.  Make sure also that if you buy a needle drop license, you know that it’s not a lifetime blanket and that it’s good for one use and one project only.

Another good way to avoid legal problems is the custom score.  Aside from quality, make sure the composer warrants among other things that his work is original and does not infringe on the rights of any third party and of course spells out which rights are actually being conveyed to you and which rights if any are being retained by the composer.  So called “Napkin” Licenses or deal memos written on the back of an envelope are not recommended.

Another way to possibly avoid legal problems is the use of music in the public domain.  This sounds good but has many problems associated with it.  Make sure PD music is PD worldwide not just in the US.  Each territory has different laws about what is or is not in the PD.  Always best to pay the fee and check with a copyright clearance house.  We recommend BZ Rights and Permissions in NYC.
Have you run into legal troubles with production music that was not royalty free? Share some of your horror stories.

July 08, 2013

May 31, 2013

Give Redi-Trax a try and let us know what you think

Hi everyone.  I hope you'll try our new Redi-Trax waveform search portal.  It takes a little time to get to know but once you get the hang of it, it is a powerful new music search tool.  I've put in over 40 hours just playing with it.  I promise, it will be worth the effort.  Try just the SonicSearch function.  Sometimes the results are flat out amazing.  Other times you can add a keyword to focus and refine.  I find that one of the system's greatest uses is doing internal comparison searches of music that's already in the libraries.  Of course you can drag and drop a tune of your choice.  Try to keep the sample short if you can.  And remember, when you find a tune or tunes that you want to download, simply jot down the 5 digit Tele-Trax Code (catalog #) and enter them into the Search by Tele-Trax Code field on our individual download site  From there you can download or add to a playlist if you like.   Most important, have fun.  Sound design shouldn't be just a job.

Leading Royalty-Free Music Provider, CSS Music, Debuts Redi-Trax Waveform Searching Technology

Leading Royalty-Free Music Provider, CSS Music, debuts Redi-Trax Waveform Searching technology. CSS Music continues to help users find the perfect track with innovative search program.

Los Angeles, CA, May 28, 2013

CSS Music, a leader in royalty free production music has introduced Redi-Trax Waveform Analysis. Redi-Trax is a music recognition program that helps users find the “perfect” tune. With Redi-Trax, users import a sample of the kind of music they are looking for in the CSS Music library, Redi-Trax then provides good alternatives for the tune.

Redi-Trax Music Waveform Searching allows users to drag and drop a song into a search field and with the touch of a button, instantly find a credible sound-alike tune. Up until now, users were required to either know their music library like the back of their hand or have the services of a music supervisor, but now thanks to mathematical algorithms, a song can be imported into a search system and used to create a “3-D” model or digital wrapper that along with meta tag specifics focuses and refines a search, bringing back results that imitate the original sample.
As with any form of technology there is the chance of error.

The results are largely dependent on the size of the body of music being searched, the accuracy of the original keyword assignments by human beings and the ability of the user to accurately interpret and categorize a music sample. However, when the best of meta tag keyword searching is combined with a form of music recognition technology used to identify music being performed on broadcast venues the results can be amazing.

“I honestly don’t think music supervisors have anything to fear from Redi-Trax or music recognition in general,” says CSS Music Marketing Director, Mike Fuller. “I know some wags have referred to this technology as ‘A Music Supervisor in a Can’ but that really isn’t anywhere near the case. In the hands of a knowledgeable user Redi-Trax can provide good results. But it isn’t a magic button. It is a lot of fun though and I invite everyone to come play with it. Sound design should be fun not just a job.”

About CSS Music:

Established in 1982 in Los Angeles, CA, CSS Music is a royalty-free music company with a library of more than 12,000 tracks. CSS Music provides royalty free music and sound FX for film, video and television producers. CSS is dedicated to working with music supervisors, editors, directors and producers to meet their creative needs.

For more information on CSS Music visit

March 22, 2013

CSS Music Congratulates Client!

CSS Music salutes and congratulates Mike Valinsky, the writers, cast, and crew of their web series, "Poker Night" on their being included in the preliminary top 50 at the LA Web Series Festival 2013.

Keep Up The Good Work Mike

CSS Music Adds Seven New Royalty-Free Volumes

CSS Music, leading royalty-free music, background music and sound effects library, announced today the release of seven royalty free music volumes to add to its extensive library of more than 12,000 tracks.
The new additions include two long awaited offerings from film composer, David Wurst, “Super Themes Volume 71 – Swampbilly Rockers” and “Super Themes Volume 72 – Club Life II (Urban Night Life)”. The copyright free music provider also debuted MAX TRAX library’s “Docustyles I and II” and “New Marketplace”, a blending of the Light Industrial, Light Activity/Travel and New Age genres along with “Chart Rockin’” and “Modern Heart” from the Repro-file Plus Library.
CSS Marketing Director Mike Fuller expresses his excitement for the company’s growing library, "We're very proud to once again have two fabulous volumes for our Super Themes library from feature film composer, David Wurst. All of our writers bring a special expertise to their contributions. Some come from radio, some from network television and animation while others work in education and information technology.”
After 30 years in the music production business CSS Music continues to thrive, positioning itself as a go-to source for quality, royalty free music. Boasting one of the most expansive libraries in the production industry, CSS Music regularly provides unique music for the AV/Video and Broadcast Communities. CSS Marketing Director Mike Fuller attributes the company’s success to their eagerness to appeal to customer needs, “Because music trends are a moving target, we necessarily keep our ears to the ground to get a sense of what our communities want and need in the library music they license from us. Fortunately, we have the depth in our composer group to cover musical genres from varying perspectives."
All seven volumes are now available for download in .wav (44.1khz / 48khz), .aif (44.1khz), Apple Lossless (44.1khz) and .mp3 (320kbs) formats. Music is also available on virtual CDs (Q-Disc), CD, DVD, Hard Drive.
About CSS Music:
Established in 1982 in Los Angeles, CA, CSS Music is a royalty-free music company with a library of more than 12,000 tracks. CSS Music provides royalty free music and sound FX for film, video and television producers. CSS is dedicated to working with music supervisors, editors, directors and producers to meet their creative needs. For more information on CSS Music visit

CSS Music Implements Digital Fingerprinting to Combat Piracy

CSS Music, a leader in royalty free background music and sound effects, announced today that it will retain premier audio monitoring service, Tunesat, LLC (New York), to track the use of its music. CSS Music joins the world’s largest music publishers and libraries in its continued partnership with Tunesat.
CSS Music plans to use Tunesat’s diligent tracking in the fight against music piracy and copyright infringement which have become increasingly prevalent since the mid-nineties. As one of the first royalty free libraries to advocate for the use of this digital fingerprinting technology, CSS music affirms its place as forerunner in production music.
“The days of piracy and rampant copyright infringement are numbered, says CSS Music Marketing Director, Mike Fuller. But beyond catching cheaters using music illegally and unethically, audio fingerprint music recognition technology will soon make the end user’s task of finding the right music much, much easier.”
The implementation of music recognition technology has many applications including:
• Complex search capabilities that accurately match end users with the music needed for a given project.
• Effective gathering of evidence to combat copyright infringement, even when music is “buried” under layers of dialog, sound effects and noise.
• Allows content owner to properly monetize use of music.
CSS Music Marketing Director Mike Fuller, details the benefits of digital fingerprinting, “Much of the drudgery associated with reporting music use will also be eliminated. But end user piracy and infringement is only one aspect of intellectual property protection. Soon copyright ownership will be easier to determine in an environment where musical compositions are often submitted to multiple libraries on a non-exclusive basis and then re-titled. Even at the music production stage unlicensed sampling of copyrighted music can be detected. It will be a brave new world, not so much to be feared but to be embraced and used by all—producers and end users of music.”
CSS Music expects to imbed its entire stock music library with the detection software for monitoring in the United States, Europe and worldwide through the internet. CSS anticipates an increase in revenue received from its performing rights organizations Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) and The American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) as Tunesat continues to uncover unreported use of its music.
About CSS Music:
Established in 1982 in Los Angeles, CA, CSS Music is a royalty-free music company with a library of more than 12,000 tracks. CSS Music provides royalty free music and sound FX for film, video and television producers. CSS is dedicated to working with music supervisors, editors, directors and producers to meet their creative needs. For more information on CSS Music visit