Music licensing


(Eric Brown) #1

I know nothing about music licensing and am wondering if anyone has any knowledge in this area. First, if I want to use a popular song with my video what steps do I need to take to license the use? Any sense for cost?

And secondly, how is licensing different if I have a character in the video perform the song rather than use the original artist’s recording?


(Herman Wang) #2

So, as you’re already thinking, there are two different types of licensing: one for a specific recording, and one for the composition (the lyrics and chords). The latter is cheaper, which is why you see major productions using cover versions a lot.

That being said, getting either license for a well-known song is going to be expensive in terms of most web series productions. But the first step is searching for who owns the music, typically the artist’s record company.


(Ian David Diaz) #3

I’d avoid getting well-known music for your show, it’s really very expensive unless you have a load of money and you’re 20th Century Fox :slight_smile:


(Tim Firtion) #4

Ditto what the other posters said. You’re much better off using royalty free tracks or even getting some of your friends (if they’re musicians) to put some tracks together for you. Any up and coming musician would love the chance to do a score for a series!


(Alicia Carroll) #5

There are some really great resources for affordable licensing and stock free music like Musicbed, Artlist, Jamendo, and Incompetech. Incompetech is completely free, but the others you pay a reasonable amount for a certain number of licences, and access to libraries that you can download.

It’s also worth consulting with a music supervisor to learn more about the process. When you’re building your budget or trying to find what fits within the budget you have - depending on what stage you’re in - go through your network to find a music supervisor or someone who works at a library/licensing company for an informational. Compensate them for their time - I bought dinner when I did this - and use that info to help make your gameplan. But if you are planning to submit to festivals, it’s worth consulting with someone to make sure you do it correctly, otherwise you may not get the right licenses and may be forced to swap out tracks in order to show at a festival.


(Herman Wang) #6

This is something we did - “wizard rock” is a big thing in Harry Potter circles, so our Potter-based series The Spell Tutor has featured songs from some of these bands as a cross-promotional thing.