Introduction to synchronization licenses: using other peoples music in your dvd production

So you’ve heard a great song and want to use it in your movie for the perfect scene.  But how do you go about licensing it.  You need to get in touch with the publisher and wrangle out the rights to a synchronization license.  This allows you to use their music in your production assuming you get their permission.

But according to easysonglicensing.com that is not the only license you need.  You would also need to aqcuire a mechanical license which can be granted to anyone without requiring the publishers permission.  A mechanical license is 10.8 cents per song per physical copy.  But hold on.  Since you got into touch with the publisher it may be possible to hash out a cheaper mechanical license fee due to using partial peices of the song.  But don’t take my word on it.

The mechanical license part of the equation will be the easier license to aqcuire.  In 2008 after my dad passed away from cancer a distant relative heard his album and was inspired to make it a mission project.  It contained a collection of older christian songs that my dad had grown fond of in his younger years.  She paid for the mechanical license to produce 300 of the albums costing a total of around 360$.  It came out to around 27 dollars a song.

For the sychronization part of the equation you can contact the publisher through the society that represents them.  But you may have to contact the record label to get a master use license.  According to sesac.com a synchronization license is the license required to make and distribute audio visual recordings. A synchronization license does not include the right to use an existing recording (master) in association with a new audio visual product. You will need to obtain an additional “master use” license in order to combine an existing recording with a new audio visual project. To obtain a master license you will need to contact the owner of the sound recording, usually the record label.

So in summary you can’t go wrong by contacting the record label.

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