You might have heard the geo-locking question when requesting a quote for online usage of a song:
In the context of music licensing, geo-locking usually comes up when talking about online assets. For example if you’re licensing a song for an ad campaign, promo film, branded content film, event video or similar project that will be made available online.
Depending on which websites you’ll be uploading your film to – e.g. YouTube, Vimeo, Brand Website, Instagram etc… – rightsholders may request that your film can only be seen by viewers in specific countries.
To Geo-lock an online asset is to restrict the availability of your film online so that it can only be seen by viewers in specific countries.
Geo-locking may affect the licence fee for the usage. Restricting the countries in which your film can be viewed restricts the exposure for the brand or filmmaker. This means the rightsholder may be able to accept a lower fee for for the usage than if viewers worldwide can see the film.
Why is this mainly relevant to online assets? Other media such as TV, Cinema, Radio are usually broadcast locally, regionally or nationally. Online usage, by nature, is usually viewed as worldwide. In addition, many websites do not enable geo-locking.
The ability to restrict even aspects of your online usage to specific countries may significantly reduce the cost of licensing a song. This, however, will depend on the policies of the rightsholders for the song.
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