Using MP3 in your Apps and Games? Read this First

Do you have an app or game which makes use of MP3 file format in some way or another? May be a MP3 downloader/streamer app or a game using MP3 soundtrack? Do you look for free MP3 music or sounds on the web to download and put in your apps and games? Stop! And read this first.

Music

MP3 License

MP3 license costs US $2,500 per game title. Don’t believe me? Read the MP3 licensing website yourself.

And how is a game described for MP3 licensing.

Interactive software products intended to interact with a user for entertainment (action, role play, strategy, adventure, simulations, racing, sport, arcade, card and board games) and/or education, that may be published for multiple machines, platforms or media

If an App is involved in MP3 streaming then you may owe up 2% of it’s revenue. Read more on MP3 licensing website

I want to support mp3  in my products. Do I need a license?

-Yes

What to do?

Make sure you read the entire FAQ for developers before you think about using MP3 in your app or game. No matter what platform your app or game is targeting (Desktop PC, iOS, Android or Windows Phone), any commercial use of MP3 in your product requires you to take a proper license first.

Even when you purchase an MP3 from an online store, make sure they have valid license. From the FAQ for developers:

In case your business does not involve the manufacture of relevant products, but importation or purchase of such products from a third party manufacturer, you are advised to check whether the manufacturer is duly licensed by us, as the trade in unlicensed products may expose your company to liability for patent infringement. Accordingly, you are advised to obtain licensed products only.

Alternatives

MP3 is quite popular but it isn’t the only audio format around. A common mistake new developers do is that they find free music and sound effects by searching for “Free MP3” on search engines. If you are trying to add up sound effects and music to your app and games, then there are other file formats like Ogg and MPEG-4 AAC that can provide you with the same or even better music experience. If the file size is small an uncompressed WAV file should also be good.

MP3 is not the most ideal format to add sound effects to your apps and games and can be rather expensive when you read the legal terms. When looking for Sound effects & Music to use in apps and games, always make sure to read related licensing.

Kanishk Kunal

Kanishk is a Software Engineer turned Online Entrepreneur who has created many successful apps and websites. He devotes most of his time punching his keyboard and swiping his smartphone. Follow him on Twitter @kanishkkunal

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