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Everything you need to know about music licensing for performance sports
07 August 2019

Everything you need to know about music licensing for performance sports


We've recently been chatting to a lovely lady who has been telling us all about music lisencing in performance sport. She's been telling us that it's never as easy as picking your ideal track and playing it during performance.

This got us thinking; we have endless Cheer, Gymnastics and other performance-based sports using Coacha. We thought this was super useful information to share with them.

Below, the team over at ClicknClear tell us everything you need to know about music lisencing and what the easiest way to go about getting a licence is.

The challenges facing using music in performance sport

Music forms an integral part of performance sports but how would you feel if the music was muted? Imagine watching Torvil and Dean’s legendary Olympic figure skating routine without ‘Bolero’ playing. Or Katelyn Ohashi’s 2019 Michael Jackson inspired gymnastics routine, without the music! It would be like playing football without a ball; it just doesn’t work.

But are you aware that when using music in performance sports, you need permission from the owner/s of the track to use it? Music copyright can be complicated. There are often many owners of a song and it isn’t very clear where you can obtain the information you need.

Most football stadiums or ice hockey arenas or other sport venues will have a performing rights license in place with the local collecting society. This covers the venue for playing (‘performing’) music, in its original form, unedited, as background music. But what happens when you need to make a mix of music to accompany a routine? Well, there are additional licenses required. These are called adaptation rights, you might also need choreography rights and sync rights (putting music to video). But, it’s not like you can phone up Ariana Grande and ask her permission to use ‘Thank U, Next’ in your next dance routine, is it? So how does it work and why do you need permission in the first place? Let’s take a look.

Doesn't purchasing a song make it free for my own use?

When you purchase a song online, stream it, download it or buy a hard copy on CD, what you are actually doing is buying a private license to enjoy the song for you own private use - just to listen to it. You aren’t the owner of the track and you don’t have the right to use the track in public environments or to edit, cut or rearrange it in any way. This is because international copyright law states that a person who creates something owns it, and can decide what happens to it. They also have the right to give permission (and get paid) if someone uses their work. Copyright law has been around for many years (over 300 years in fact) and exists to protect creators of work. So if you want to use someone else’s work then you require a license.

But how do you get a license?

When it comes to licensing music for adaptation, choreography or sync, you typically require direct approval from the rightsholders which can be a time consuming and expensive process. A single track on average has 9 rightsholders who all need to sign off on a license for it to be used. And it can get even more complicated than that - we recently came across a song that had 30 rightsholders!

There are 2 main music rights that must be cleared before a track is used; one being the the Master Rights (the recording) and the other being Publishing Rights (the musical composition). You must obtain approval from ALL rightsholders involved in the work, before use. This video explains it further:

In addition to this, when using music in performance sports, there are specific rights that are required - the right to edit music, make copies of it, perform a routine to the track at an event, and show / upload videos of the performance to YouTube and social media.


Getting to grips with music licensing and which tracks are available to legally have in your mixes can be enough to send you into a spin, which is why ClicknClear was formed - to take away the complexity and provide access to completely legal music for sports mixes, ready to download and use immediately. ClicknClear is the world’s first and only music licensing platform that work directly with the music industry to bring you the biggest hits from Warner, BMG, Universal Music Publishing and more.

All our licenses come with the rights to choreograph routines to remixed and edited music at live events, and also to legally share videos online, of your performance, with music. Our easy-to-use website and simple pricing structure of either $15 or $25 per track, enables users to easily search and download popular music, mix tracks themselves or share music with their producer - confident that the music is pre-cleared with all the rights needed and is 100% legal.

Looking for music for your sports mix? Begin your search here.

Looking to license music for other usages? Please feel free to get in touch here.