Artistic License: How to Secure Rights to Use Music in Your Marketing Video

By January 6, 2017No Comments


Music is a powerful instrument of narration, providing a creative frame for not just films and television shows, but documentaries, commercials, and marketing videos alike. Indeed, some films rely so heavily on the crutches of a powerful musical composition that the soundtrack itself becomes something of a character or significant cinematic device within the film.

From full-length features as old as Mike Nichols’ The Graduate to contemporary indie projects like Iñárritu’s Birdman, each scene is emboldened by the undulating presence of an infectious score. Be it an assortment of Simon and Garfunkel folk melodies or an instrumental drum score by a Mexican-American jazz percussionist—music has the potency to breathe life into a scene, leaving a unique scent in all the ways an actor does with his or her powerhouse performance.

With the popularity of video in virtually all spheres of human life, more and more people are exploring the vast trajectory of mainstream and obscure music for commercial and promotional purposes.

If you’re interested in shooting a corporate sales video or creating a viral marketing campaign through the use of video, you’ll definitely need complementary music. But before gearing up to use your favorite Rolling Stones number to add an edge to your marketing video—know the basics of securing rights to music.

Treading Through the World of Music Licensing for Pop Music

You may think you can use any song you hear on the radio in your brand’s video, but you can’t.  Music licensing is a serious business, and song writer, musicians, and music producers want their music licensed, no matter the use!

If you want a popular song, there’s a matter of securing rights which entails legal permission, paperwork, fees and written consent by two parties—those that wrote and composed the song, and those that hold the rights to its distribution. And in many cases, they aren’t one and the same.

Ultimately, what you’re dealing with is the musician or artist and the studio that released their record. And securing rights to use even a few seconds of their music means adhering to a legal setup where concerned parties are compensated for your use of their materials.

Not sure how to go about it? Keep these 3 tips in mind before you do anything:

1. Check if the song is in the public domain.

Do your research before assuming if a song is in the public domain. Listening to the horrors of copyright infringement will compel you to play it safe and trace the original composer of the track, who might turn out to be a signed artist.

2. Negotiate your rate.

Not only is this possible, but highly recommended! Each piece of music is subject to a negotiable fee. In some cases, artists are impressed by the intention or quality of the film or video and offer a lower rate.

3. Have a backup plan. Always!

You might think this is a stretch, but copyright infringement has serious consequences, and can happen without you realizing it. Besides costing you time, money and resources, it can cease distribution of your video instantly, rendering your marketing plans or film production useless. Always have a backup plan or an alternative score to use in case the rights to music take too long to clear.

This is why it pays to consult a professional video production company.

336 Productions is an award winning name in video production services, based in Orange County, California.

We’ve successfully spearheaded digital marketing campaigns for an array of businesses, specializing in training videos, trade show videos and event videos.

Call us today and let us help you secure music for your marketing video!