Updated September 2nd, 2019

Once you get the green light from a music library or music supervisor, best be prepared to deliver what they need!

This post will list all the audio files you need to maximize your chances of getting your music licensed.

The 5 Essentials

Here’s my list of the 5 essential audio files that need to be ready for licensing….

  • MP3, 320 kbps

  • AIFF, 16 bit, 44 kHz

  • AIFF, 16 bit, 48 kHz

  • AIFF, 24 bit, 44 kHz

  • AIFF, 24 bit, 48 kHz

Some customers will ask for WAV files but you can send them AIFF files instead.

AIFF and WAV are both lossless audio file formats which is really what customers are after.

Why am I choosing AIFF?

Because many audio media players like iTunes and Windows Media Player don’t read the metadata embedded in WAV files properly.

What does that mean?

It means that, depending on the device your customer uses to listen to the audio file, they may or may not be able to see the song information attached to the audio file.

Since there is no way to predict which media player the customer will use, I prefer to send AIFF files.

How Do You Get The Various MP3 and AIFF Files?

Bouncing Audio Files for Music Licensing

If you produce your own music, you will be familiar with the “bounce” option that allows you to export the entire tune into one audio file. All you have to do is bounce the tune several times in the 5 suggested formats.

If you go through a third-party to produce your music, you will need to ask the mixing/mastering engineer for the MP3 and AIFF files.

In any case, it’s important that you always start with the highest quality format (AIFF > MP3).


Because you can easily convert AIFF (no compression) files into MP3 (compressed files), using free AIFF to MP3 converters online for example. However, because an MP3 is a compressed file, you cannot convert it into a lossless, no compression file like a AIFF or WAV file.

Why MP3 320 kbps? What Does It Mean?

MP3, 320kbps is the highest quality of MP3 you can export. Some libraries will ask lower quality 128kbps versions when you first submit but you will need high quality if your track is accepted so you should have it ready.

kbps stands for “kilobits per second”. You don’t need to worry about this though…

Just remember that 320kbps is the highest quality (it sounds “cleaner”): 320kbps > 256kbps > 128kbps

audio format for music cues

Those are just the broad lines by the way, your DAW will give you loads of options for mp3: