Music Licensing

Why should you license music you play in your gyms and/or use in your routines?

Music provides the foundation of our routines and creates excitement in the background of many of our events. But, are we legally, ethically and respectfully supporting the artists and writers who created that music? Music Copyright policy is an important issue facing every International and National Federation that uses mixed music, especially in the online/virtual world.

You should license music because:

1) It’s the law.

If you play music in a public setting, and/or edit and adapt music into a mix, you are required by law to compensate the artists through music licenses. Failing to do so can lead to hefty fines and lawsuits. Our sport has already suffered this and we do not want it to happen again. Also, we want to set a good example to our athletes and coaches about ensuring we respect the law.

2) It helps grow our sport.

Using fully licensed music for your mix allows competition providers to license the video rights they need to promote your routines on line. No more muted videos or live streams of performances means your performances get more views.

Using unlicensed music in a mix means competition providers can’t obtain the sync and live streaming rights they require to promote and share your routine videos  A routine without music doesn’t generate as much engagement or excitement about Cheer. In order for our sport to grow, we need to be able to promote the full experience on line.

3) It supports music creators.

Licensing your gym and mix music in a mix supports music creators and enables them to continue creating the music you love.

Research indicates that customers think of your business more positively when you show that you support the music creators who support your business. Music writers, performers and producers rely on the royalties generated from licenses to make a living and encourages new and upcoming artists to keep creating.



Cheer Canada has partnered with ClicknClear and Entandem to help educate our members about music licensing, and provide a licensing solution for all of the rights our members need.

Music ‘Performing Rights’ for Gym Owners / Event Producers:

  • Venues where music is played to the public need a license purchased from Entandem to cover the “performing rights” for that music – which means just the playing (‘performing’) of music in a public space, not the creation of music mixes and routines (see next section). If you play music in your venue, and members of the public can hear it, you must purchase a license from Entandem. This will cover the ‘performing rights’ for the playing of that music

This performing rights license applies to any and every venue – if you own or rent a gym you need to purchase a license, and if you are running a competition in a hired venue you need to ensure that the venue has appropriate licensing in place – if not, you or the venue owners will need to purchase one.


Who is Entandem?

Entandem is a joint venture between RE:SOUND and SOCAN, created to simplify the performing rights licensing process so you can play music in your business legally and ethically, ensuring that those who made the music are compensated for that.

Who are RE:SOUND and SOCAN?

RE:SOUND is the Canadian not-for-profit music licensing company dedicated to obtaining fair compensation for performing artists and record companies for their performance rights for recorded music. RE:SOUND advocates for music makers and performers, educates music users, licenses businesses and distributes royalties to creators to help build a thriving and sustainable music industry in Canada. RE:SOUND was started in 1997.

SOCAN is a not-for-profit rights management organization that connects more than four-million music creators worldwide and more than a quarter-million businesses and individuals in Canada. Nearly 160,000 songwriters, composers, music publishers and visual artists are its direct members, and more than 100,000 organizations are licensed to play music across Canada. In 1990, SOCAN became the name of an organization that started in 1921.

RE:SOUND administers the performance rights of performing artists and record companies in the sound recording. SOCAN administers the performance rights of the composers, authors and their music publishers in the musical work/song.

Music Editing and Choreography Rights for Music Producers and Gym Owners / Teams:

Teams using a music mix to accompany a routine must always obtain a license for each track of music being used in the mix from both the master (recording) AND all publishing (songwriters) owners. This license must allow for the music to be:

  • edited and adapted into a mix (creating a ‘derivative work’), either by a music producer or a team,
  • used in the mix by the team to choreograph and perform a routine to it,
  • copied and distributed as part of the mix amongst the team for practise purposes.

To get these licenses you can either:

  1. Use official music industry tracks by the original artists licensed from ClicknClear
  2. Use a completely bespoke, original mix where no third party music is being used.

Who is ClicknClear?

ClicknClear is the only professional music industry licensing company to provide licenses to popular music for all the rights needed by every part of our sport; music producers, teams, and event producers.

ClicknClear offers a large and rapidly-growing catalogue of tracks by the original artists covering multiple genres of music. You’ll find tracks from established stars as well as up and coming artists and producers. There is also a large library of premier production music with stems and acapellas for those who want to create a highly bespoke mix.

How does ClicknClear benefit our sport?

Everyone can easily get the rights they need, whilst paying only for the rights they use. The licensed uses are pre-cleared with all relevant music industry rightsholders (master recording and songwriters’ publishing), so licensing happens instantly at prices that are far lower than would be achieved by individual negotiation.

With the backing of music industry rightsholders, ClicknClear has built a one-stop online marketplace where music producers and teams can quickly and easily license tracks with the rights needed to edit and adapt each track (creating a derivative work) and mix with sound effects, beats and voiceovers, put choreography to the mix, and make up to 35 copies of it for team members training purposes.

When teams perform to mixes using music licensed from ClicknClear, the risk of further music industry lawsuits is removed, plus Federations and Event Producers are then also able to license the further online music rights for both physical and virtual competitions from ClickClear that they need to help popularize our sport without resorting to muting video or live streams of performances.

More on bespoke mixes

You must be able to prove that your bespoke mix meets music guidelines by offering all the rights needed, and understand whether your bespoke mix is being licensed to you, or you are ‘buying it out’ as a ‘Work for Hire’. A license and Work for Hire buyout each have important different legal implications:

  1. If the producer is creating your bespoke mix to license it to you, they retain ownership of the copyright and will set out the terms of your use in the license, including the rights that you have related to the mix, the countries in which you can use the mix, and how long your license lasts for. You are responsible for making sure and being able to prove that this license:

(a) covers both master (recording) and all applicable publishing (songwriter) rights; and

(b) has the live-stream, video on demand, and online sync rights available that event producers are then able to license. Many providers of such ‘bespoke’ mixes actually use low-cost production library music to make these mixes, and either i) may not be legally allowed to pass through these rights via you to the event producers, or ii) you will pay an unnecessary additional cost for this right that you won’t use, instead of the event producer (who does need it if they want to use video including your mix online).

2. If you are purchasing a mix to ‘buy it out’ on a Work for Hire basis from a producer, then you must be able to prove that:

(a) you own the mix and all recording and publishing rights to it exclusively in perpetuity.

(b) it is completely original and contains no third party elements. No one else other than you can use it or any component part of it, and it can’t be re-licensed by the producer. 

More info about Works for Hire

Copyright in a work initially vests in the author or authors of the work unless the work is a work made for hire. A work will only be considered a work made for hire under very specific circumstances, including:

(i) if the work was created by an employee in the ordinary course of his/her employment, in which case the employer is considered the original owner of  the copyright or,

(ii) if the work:

(a) was commissioned by a third party and;

(b) falls into a category of works specifically identified in the country’s Copyright Law (including a musical arrangement or as a contribution to a collective work) and there is a written agreement signed by both the creator and the party who commissioned the work that expressly states that the work is a work made for hire. This is particularly important to note when hiring a music producer to create a mix, especially if you are commissioning a ‘bespoke’ mix.

The author of a sound recording is often identified as the producer who captured and processed the sounds that appear in the final recording unless the sound recording is a work for hire.

Virtual Competitions and Online Video

If you compete in Virtual Competitions or Physical Competitions where you know the Event Producer will want to use video of your routine with the mix (e.g. to sell memento videos, live stream or upload on a video on demand service), in addition to the rights listed above you need to make sure the music is available for Event Producers to purchase online sync and live streaming rights:


  • If licensing music on ClicknClear, you need to filter by the rights available and select music that has Live Streaming and Video on Demand rights.
  • If using a bespoke mix that is licensed to you, you need to check that your license with the music producer provides a pass through license to the event producer with the applicable additional rights to the mix they require.
  • If using a bespoke mix that you have ‘bought out’, you will need to prove that the music was created for you as a Work for Hire and you own and retain the rights.
Event Producers wishing to use video content of routines with music mixes (including running virtual competitions)

You must ensure that all music used by teams at your event is available for you to purchase the necessary additional rights:

If licensing music on ClicknClear, teams need to filter by the rights available and select music that has Live Streaming and/or Video on Demand rights as applicable.

If using a bespoke mix that is licensed to the team, they will need to prove that their license with the music producer provides a pass through license to you with the applicable additional rights to the mix.

If using a bespoke mix that the team has ‘bought out’, they will need to prove that the music was created for them as a Work for Hire and they own and retain the rights.

Cheer Canada suggests you receive all copies of proof in writing and retain indefinitely.

You can then purchase additional licenses from ClicknClear for:

A) Creating and selling DVDs or other memorabilia with music mixes

B) Live streaming your physical event with music mixes

C) Making video content available on a video on demand service including music mixes

Additionally, if you want to broadcast your competition on TV ( D in the diagram), the broadcaster will need a license from both RE:SOUND and SOCAN.

In all cases A), B), C), and D) you will need to provide CueSheets for the music which can be obtained from ClicknClear.