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Thread: Music licensing

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    UK, East Midlands

    Default Music licensing

    Just a quick query really........i want to use the song 'watercolour' by Pendulum in a video. This film is then planning to be sold to people and so as a result needs to have the music licensed.

    Anyone know the cost? or at least an approximate one

    Thanks, hope its the right thread

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Blog Entries

  3. #3


    My family films our "reality show" during the summers and we just finished the 3rd season. I film and edit each "episode" entirely on my own and post them on Facebook and Youtube. After getting an HD camera, Final Cut X, and Motion, this season turned out great... so I wanted to copyright our episodes.

    However, our theme song is "We Are Family" by Sister Sledge (cliche, I know). I've been focusing a lot on copyright laws lately and whether or not a license is needed. I figured posting them on Facebook was okay because its nonprofit. The song only lasts :28 seconds in the opening credits. (I have it in the end credits also but I could easily go without that).

    To get to my point-- I want to copyright our show (season 3). I have absolutely no intentions on selling these episodes. The copyright is for my own selfish desire. But I figured I couldn't say it was all my own work without getting permission/a license from the record label/publisher of "We Are Family". I have emailed Atlantic Records three times and haven't heard from anyone (which I can completely understand).

    So what do I do? Do I need to contact Warner Music Group (which has many record label companies including Atlantic Records)? Do I need to contact BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.) about obtaining a license even though it's nonprofit and I'm not showing it publicly, other than Facebook and Youtube (which have their own license from ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC)?

    Now that you've read my novel, please help. I'd greatly appreciate it!

    Here's one of our episodes if you would like to see the opening credits to get an idea:

    (Note: the other music you hear in the episode is royalty-free under the Creative Commons Legal Code.)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    London, England

    Default Copyright confusion

    I'm no lawyer, so will keep quiet about music rights, etc.
    But I noticed a large Starbucks sign in the opening - if that is "incidental" like you are driving by, walking past then it's in the street and fair use, However, if it's part of the plot as in "I go into this shop and buy some goods - oh and it happens to be ----" Then the owners of said shop may have an "interest" in your filming their sign, aligning it with the dialogue - in the same way certain brands of Cars, and fizzy drinks get a lot of advertising from action involving their products. But the difference is a big-budget movie can demand money from these companies - it's part of "product placement" - and usually slows the action down as they've paid for so-many seconds here/there. Unless you have written permission and the store-owner has read the script, etc....I'd be inclined to cut those frames.

    I thought the film was professional good quality, if a little dark in places, but I was concerned the image is sometimes out of focus (the background glimpses being sharper IMHO) and the speech sometimes lacks "focus"...finally some of the shots are a bit wobbly and at the start the camera is panned (by hand it looks) between two actors - surely a case for transitional fades to speed-up the interplay...?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2012


    Looks like you have some good info so far...

    Just remember that you will have 2 rights to clear- Publishing rights (held by the composer or publisher) and Master rights (usually held by the record company).
    In short, it's a huge pain and for a well known track it will be very expensive.

    As an alternative you can hire a composer to write a "sound-a-like" track. This is a track that, as the name implies, sounds and gives the feeling of the original but without all the red tape and expenses. I know about this as I am a composer and I have been asked to produce tracks for exactly these reasons.

    But be careful! If the composer doesn't know what he/she is doing and copies the original too closely they could be infringing on copyright and thereby getting you into trouble...


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Surrey, UK
    Blog Entries


    Quote Originally Posted by Dinosound View Post
    Looks like you have some good info so far...

    Just remember that you will have 2 rights to clear- Publishing rights (held by the composer or publisher) and Master rights (usually held by the record company).
    You are forgetting "sync" rights (the right to use it/parts of it dubbed onto another work -eg your video) and, if you actually want to how it anywhere, performance rights.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Smalltown, Queensland


    Is it on youtube because you want your family to see it, or because you want people to see your work? If the former then make it a 'private' video that the public can't see. If it's the latter then create a work without infringements.

    I once asked for permission to cover a song and had to go to some huge company in the US to ask permission. I was obviously unworthy of a reply - therefore I did it, assured that if money was being made, I would soon be worthy of a royalty claim from them - but what the heck - all they can take is a percentage of what you've made = no loss and never going to happen anyway.

  8. #8


    You should contact a PRO ( performing rights organization) such as APRA, ASCAP or BMI and find out the cost, who has the rights etc. As stated by other's, you have to have the consent of the record company, copyright holder, publisher anyone who has rights to the music before it is worth trying to use it in anything that will be aired publicly. It could be difficult, and could prove to be expensive. Only you would know how much hassle and expense, and what lengths you are prepared to go to to obtain license to use the track. Another alternative that is a viable and cheaper option is to use music that has easy to obtain licenses such as royalty-free music

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2012


    Yep clearing music for any type of production can be a minefield. Some large record companies refuse to even consider your production and inflate a price just to put you off

    AKM Music
    Royalty Free Music

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