A fee paid to a music publisher for use of a recorded piece of music (usually in broadcast). Each time a piece is played it is considered a separate “needle drop” requiring payment to the publisher. The phrase needle drop is used because this used to refer to putting a phonograph needle on a record. Nowadays a variety of more modern methods are used to play recordings. Many commercially available music libraries require needle drop fees. Purchase of the library often only pays for the media and the service. When you actually “use” the material you must pay a fee to the appropriate party.