You may ask yourself: “So why can’t I use the guitar solo from Stairway To Heaven in this video I’m doing for Brand X Widgets and Sprockets. It would be really funny to contrast the dorky boss in his hard hat with something so intrinsically cool, and who is going to know about it anyway.”
Well, we hope you don’t think that way, because it completely ignores copyright law.
Not to get all Metallica on you, but music needs to be licensed for what are termed “synchronization” purposes, or the right to sync music to some type of video or film. The reason there are so many production music libraries, (some, like the Organic Music Library, are awesome, some are not – like really, really not) is so that people like you – you being a producer, videographer, broadcaster, film maker or other media type, most likely very creative, a good dresser, and kind to your mom – can easily find and license very high quality music to enhance your work with complete confidence that you are legally cleared to do so. When you hit the big time, the suits will make it very clear to you that this is a necessity. Nothing ruins a great premier like intellectual property violations. Think of your production music in the same way you would think of those groovy black jeans you are wearing; a commodity for which you shop and buy – you don’t just pick them up in the local GAP and run out the door when Skyler, the sales dude in the knit hat, goes into the back room to reprogram the Ipod.
Music licensing falls into that nearly impenetrable silo along with quantum theory, the secret to perfectly prepared steaks, and how did Ralph Kramden get a chick as hot as Alice. We’re here to decode the mystery….simply.
1: At one end of the spectrum, we have a traditional old school library, that offers great music with endless licensing options (and CD’s!!!) predicated upon this, that, the other thing, what you ate today, what you’re eating next Tuesday, the time of day, your blood type etc.. Each prospective usage scrutinized and labored over by teams of clerks in those weird visor hats and those things that make their sleeves all puffy. You will absolutely be sure of your rights – we think –but you, or your legal department may want to commit ritual Seppuku by the time you are done clearing the tracks.
2: At the other extreme, we have what we like to refer to as the “Production Music Sewer”. A grab bag, catch as catch can rat trap of unregulated, non-curated tracks sold for nominal amounts of money for any usage at all. Aside from the inherent risks of catching something toxic from these people, consider the endless aggravation of trying to sift through literally thousands of crummy pieces of “music” . Even the aforementioned Skyler can upload his oeuvre into these cesspools. (“Dude, I made it on my mom’s boyfriend’s PC”). The benefit of these places for those who don’t care about quality (we know that’s not you) is that they are generally completely Royalty Free – meaning you pay for it once, you own it forever and it’s legally clear.
Think of that: A Skyler original to underscore your latest work.
3: Then we have catalogues like the Organic Music Library, which tend towards the traditional model, but make legitimate licensing as painless as possible. This approach essentially defines the client and their types of usage when they register and creates an automatic license that accompanies each download. This streamlined licensing protects the client forever, while still recognizing the rights of the writer and publisher of the music. It’s truly a win-win.
Got a question about licensing? We’re here to help. Go ahead and ask us: