Commercial use of scores

• Sep 1, 2012 - 18:14

Could somebody clarify something for me in the terms of use? Could a score produced using Musescore be used commercially, e.g. sold in either print or electronic (PDF) format? If not in the free version, can this right be assumed in the pro version?


There is no separate "pro" version of MuseScore - the free version is already suitable for most professional usage, and indeed, many of us have been using it professionally. Perhaps you are confusing MuseScore (the open source notation software that you use to create scores on your computer) with (the score sharing web site where you can upload scores for others to access). There is indeed a Pro account on that allows for more scores to be uploaded and provides other advantages. But it's still the same free MuseScore software you'd run on your computer to create those scores.

Anyhow scores created with MuseScore are as much yours to use as scores you create with pencil and paper. That is, if you own the rights to the music itself - your original composition, a public domain source, or something you have legal permission to use in this way - then you are free to sell the sheet music you create. But, just as with pencil and paper, the mere fact that you created the physical score doesn't automatically give you the rights to the music on it if you didn't own that already. So you can't produce your own arrangement of MIchael Jackson's "Thriller" and sell that without permission. That is true of arrangements created with pencil and paper just as it is of arrangements created with MuseScore.

So, maybe that's a good analogy: using MuseScore is no different from using a pencil with respect to your legal rights.

Thank you Marc for that crystal clear explanation. I was in deed confusing with So am I correct to understand that once you create a score on Musescore, to upload it onto the internet you are using the website? Or am I being really stupid again!?!

In reply to by Lazar Der Gregorian

You can create a score with MuseScore for free, and do whatever you want with it. Eventually, if you want to publish your score online, on the internet, is one solution among others, but it's nothing mandatory. It has several advantages. It provides playback, comments, and many more. You can also embed a score you posted on on another website, like you can do with a youtube video. According to me (and I'm one of the co-founder of, it's the best place on the internet to host your scores :) but it's up to you to decide. Here is an example.

Note that is not a way to sell your scores. It's a way to share them. If you want to sell them, you can of course host them on and use the embed player on your own website but doesn't provide you with a shop system for your scores.

In reply to by Lazar Der Gregorian

If you use the "Save Online" feautre of MuseScore (under the FIle menu), then yes, that is using You are free to use that or any other site to upload your score to, but as lasconic mentions, provides no facility for selling your score, and indeed, scores uploaded there are available for *free*. It's like YouTube or Flickr in that respect - those are not sites where upload things to *sell*, but rather, where you upload things to *share*.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Just to be precise, all scores on are not available for *free"! You can make your scores private on and share the link with your customers, after they buy the access from you. You can also have your scores on MuseScore available for free and you can sell it on another website, for example in paper form. So, yes, is about sharing but you can share the scores stored there the way you want, this way can also be commercial if you want it to be this way but doesn't provide the payment infrastructure to do so.

Can you commercially use the audio that comes from MuseScore instruments? Not as in commercially use the samples, but commercially use an original composition that has audio partially or wholly made up of MuseScore instruments?

This issue regarding who owns what and can it be monetized using Musescore to create it has been bothering me almost from the day I stumbled upon this unbelievable program. The concise nature of the original question, the following reply and the further comments it generated receives high praise for a no BS commentary. So thanks to all involved for your moment of clarity and the focus on subject specifity(?).

In reply to by bebobebo

Unfortunately this does happen, even with scores which are not public domain and there's very little that we can do about it. If there is a review section on the site selling your score you could share a link to the Musescore upload but, from my experience, these sites are frequently hosting scams so I would steer clear of them. Quite often the copy takes the form of a poorly screenshotted pdf which should put off potential buyers.

Use a Creative Commons licence to stop your scores from being sold on legitimate sites.

In reply to by bebobebo

From Pianorarescores site:
Copyright Complaints
Pianorarescores respects the intellectual property of others. If you believe that your work has been copied in a way that constitutes copyright infringement, please contact us immediately.

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