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- July 4, 2014 at 4:49 PM #79646Johny2.5Participant
Ok I think I have the jist about legally being able to use a copyrighted song in a production that will be used for an advertisement for a company/business. Email or send a letter to the holder of the song, and if they sign saying you can use it (after you tell them exactly what it'll be used for) you're good to go, correct? Now for those of you who have had success in doing this, I'm not gonna get nosy enough to ask the amount, but do you have to pay for the license and if so it is fairly affrodable from most artists? Thanks!
I use royalty free music, from Smartsound Software. There are a ton of other companies out there as well.
I only use my personal music collection for my personal Blu-ray projects (I'm currently working on my trip to Pompeii).
Here's a link to my Intro video, with one of the royalty free tunes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JLAMLJxTUxY
It doesn't really work like this. You can't actually email people like this. You also have the issue that there will be two main copyright issues. The composer's rights and the record company's rights, which are the ones that include the recording you wish to use.
Here in the UK, these two separate rights areas are covered by PRS and PPL, and I understand the US have a similar system. So your job is to contact the rights collecting agencies, not the artiste, in the first instance. In most cases, they will look after the clearance for you, and you pay them. Generally how much revolves around who will hear it. I wanted to use 3 minutes of a Jean Michel Jarre track in the 90s. It was a 3 minute video, to be played at an exhibition. I negotiated a fair sum, more than I'd intended, but livable. Then they discovered it was a two day exhibition and the video was being looped. The quote was for ONE playing. Multiplying by time and visitor numbers meant it was out!
If it's for an advert – then it's going to be expensive, but maybe as a proportion of the anticipated income from the ad, workable?
Some bits of music are NOT represented by the rights agencies, and that is when you deal direct – but it's very tiresome dealing with record companies.
Incidentally, this is why so many broadcast ads use re-recorded songs. That way you only have to pay for the composer's rights – not the original artiste's and the record campanies!
If you want to clear music for commercial use, go through a clearing agent. As paulears said, you can't just email people and ask to use music–you have to negotiate for rights, and you need to be sure you have negotiated the correct rights. If the song is well known, be prepared to pay dearly for the right to use it. That's why so many people use royalty-free music.
The only odd thing that happens sometimes is when you want rights for good cause projects, or just ones that appeal to the copyright holders. In around 1996 I wanted to be able to use a well known, and chart topping piece of music for a brand new exam/course being taught for the first time – and to test the candidates they needed to use a MIDI file we supplied (it was new then!) of a piece of sheet music, make it sound good, and then submit the CD for listening. We obviously needed to get rights to produce a MIDI file – then print the sheet music, distribute it and then get thousands of students to record it. Copyright clearance nightmare of the century, we disovered. One piece of music had a pretty tricky string arrangement in it, and we were quoted a huge sum to use it by the arranger. The money collected in entry fees was dwarfed by this, so we were thinking of scrapping it. However, a friend of a friend worked in the UK office of the American record company who represented the artiste. He was in the office one day, and she mentioned it, and it triggered a few questions – what was it for, who were these people, what would they be doing? This was all explained and he thought it brilliant his music was going to be studied, broken down and then recreated. He was also pretty annoyed the arranger had scuppered it because it turned out he had been paid a fee to arrange it, and had no rights in it whatsoever. He gave his permission, and for contractual reasons had to charge – 10 Dollars! A bargain. Thank you Mr Richie! (actually, it was Hello, Mr Richie). We tried in following years Santana and Abba – and both were very happy to make their material available at a special educational rate. In later years, however, the new R&B bands were very reluctant, some even saying no at any price. Perhaps they worried people would uncover how basic the songs really were?
So don't give up – but if you want to make money out of it, then expect it to not be cheap. Rarely impossible though!