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Old August 4th, 2010, 09:46 AM   #1
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Very high price for using music

A client of mine wanted to know what it would cost to use "start me up" from the Rolling Stones in a 15 second animated trailer as background music.
This trailer would be projected on a cinemascreen a few times in about 4 hours time during a business event.
That would be the only use, so no distribution on dvd or internet.

To my big surprise EMIMUSIC who you have to contact for these matters said it would cost at least 5 digits in euro (more then 13.200 dollar)

Is it normal that such big amounts are charged for such a limited use of music? Anyone any experience in these matters?
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Old August 4th, 2010, 10:10 AM   #2
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Of course it's normal. Frankly, I'm surprised it's that low.
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Old August 4th, 2010, 10:19 AM   #3
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For big names (i.e. The Rolling Stones), Perrone is absolutely correct. And it's unfortunate that the greed has blinded record labels to the use of proprietary material on a smaller scale (as there's still money to be made).

"Cheers" DVD's (for example) have been re-edited without music that was used on the original episodes because greed forced a revision. And given how much CBS is making off those DVD's, there's certainly room for that. But for a corporate project like you described, it's ridiculous. Aside from Christian music houses and lesser known personalities, it's generally not worth the headache/expense/hassle.

Wish I could offer a more positive response, but my experiences are similar.

Brad
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Old August 4th, 2010, 01:19 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Perrone Ford View Post
Frankly, I'm surprised it's that low.
Well they said, "at least" 5 digits but didn't gave me an exact number. the person that would come to speak at that event is a sport-athlete who uses "start me up" as warming up song at every event she performing her sport. Can't imagine she has to pay tens of thousends euro to play that each time??

When used for a commercial that airs on tv or on a dvd that will be copies more then 1000 times, then I could understand, but for a silly trailer that is only shown at a small business event? That's just plain greed as I see it.

For the event it doesn't matter because now we will just use a much cheap replacement song, not Rolling Stones for sure. :)
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Old August 4th, 2010, 03:22 PM   #5
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Blame Bill Gates - for real. Microsoft licensed Start Me Up to introduce Windows Vista to the world, paying a cool $1M in royalties for the privaledge. I believe it was the highest royalty ever for use in a commercial.
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Old August 4th, 2010, 04:41 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Noa Put View Post
Well they said, "at least" 5 digits but didn't gave me an exact number. the person that would come to speak at that event is a sport-athlete who uses "start me up" as warming up song at every event she performing her sport. Can't imagine she has to pay tens of thousends euro to play that each time??

.... :)
A public performance of a song or such as singing it or playing a recording of it before an audience is a whole different royaltie structure from taping a performance of it or otherwise incorporating it into a video soundtrack. The performance license is very reasonable and is administered through a rights society such as ASCAP or BMI and a single performance is just a very small fee. But a sync license to incorporate the same song into a film or video soundtrack such as your client wishes to do is whole different animal, even if the ultimate audience is relatively small. The audio visual work that the song becomes a part of is a separate copyright entity while a performance of the song is not. After all, that animated trailer theoretically COULD become the basis of a series a commercials airing nationwide or the cornerstone of an employee orientation or training program worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to the company where the song is not just random noise but rather an intrinsic element instrumental in giving the production its value.
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Old August 4th, 2010, 06:36 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Cascio View Post
Blame Bill Gates - for real. Microsoft licensed Start Me Up to introduce Windows Vista to the world, paying a cool $1M in royalties for the privilege. I believe it was the highest royalty ever for use in a commercial.
How time flies. It was Windows 95, the first version of Win with a "Start" button. I was there at the time.

Interesting story about that here: http://web.archive.org/web/200712140...es/016913.html
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Old August 4th, 2010, 08:31 PM   #8
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I really like "Malcolm in the Middle", it is one of my favorite TV series. I bought Season One on DVD many years ago. No other seasons have been released on DVD and I am told by a friend at Fox that no other seasons will ever be released on DVD or Blu-ray. Same issue, they cannot afford the music rights.

Strange since the series is on TV all over the world in syndication on a daily basis, but it is true, broadcast rights are very different than home video rights, which are typically MUCH more expensive.

The Rolling Stone thing doesn't surprise me at all, that does sound cheap. I once licensed a Madonna song for a corporate internal video and we paid $32,000.00 for a one time use license.

Dan
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Old August 4th, 2010, 08:42 PM   #9
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Several years ago, I shot and edited footage for vignettes at a manufacturer's Years of Service awards ceremony and my client wanted to use a pop song by a Canadian artist (no, not Bryan Adams, Rush or Celiné...)

This is back when most Royalty Free music (at least the stuff I had at my disposal) was still needle drop and required a license fee (and was fairly poor and sounded VERY "synth-y"). The client was insistent on using the pop song. I said "Well, since I'm liable if I include it, you go ahead and get the license and I'll include the song when I see the paperwork".

We edited the videos around the song the client wanted and I used it as a reference track, expecting to have to pull it out at the last minute.

She showed up one day with a registered letter from the Artist's management giving the go ahead. The cost? $4k. She said it wiped out HER part of the budget but that it was worth it.
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Old August 6th, 2010, 01:13 AM   #10
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Noa, two thoughts. I'd look at the cost of syncing the video playback machine with the CD player player and then paying only performance rights. Syncing two machines can't be considered copying. Secondly, if the event is a closed door company event and no further use will be made of the combination how will the licensing authorities know? I'm not suggesting you break the law - because I don't think that playing two separate machines at the same time is breaking the law - but it is realistic.
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Old August 6th, 2010, 01:18 AM   #11
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Dunno about the law in the UK, but synchronizing playback of audio from another recording/machine is the very essence of what SYNCHRONIZATION RIGHTS covers. You can kinda tell from the name, no? You can be sure the lawyers aren't going to argue the fine points of how many frames out of sync it has to be to "not count".
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Old August 6th, 2010, 01:39 AM   #12
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Richard, first I'm no lawyer but I'm pretty sure the same basic tenets apply to USA and UK. However, my understanding of the essence of synchronisation is that it's the combining the two media to form a new item. Merely legally performing a discrete and complete medium whilst another medium is playing is surely not what the term synchronisation - as used in the licences - means?

It would be interesting to have a better brain than mine look at this - for example, if a dancer performs in public to a piece of music on an original, commercially obtained CD is that synchronisation? It certainly would be if a recording was made of both events but merely performance - assuming the performance rights were paid for?

I recall some years ago that a European AV company made a keynote programme for a big conference at which the music was performed live by a symphony orchestra. The synchronisation was via a click track played into the conductor's headphone. As far as I recall, the report mentioned a side-merit to the technique was that no synchronisation rights were payable - though of course you did have to factor in the cost of a symphony orchestra!

It's an interesting point because, as my posts here and elsewhere will indicate, I have always believed in fulfilling my legal responsibilities throughout my 30 years in the business.
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Old August 6th, 2010, 04:09 AM   #13
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I have been dealing with weddings primarily some years ago and then it's simple, here we are allowed to use commercial music without any paperwork or paying license cost as long as the dvd is for the couple's personal use.
When I went more into events I noticed what a world of difference this can be for using music and I have been using programs like Sony cinescore to create background music, at least my clients found it good enough for their purpose.
My current client also said something like what you are suggesting Philip but we eventually decided not to make it too complicated and risk getting a severe penalty, since there is absolutely no budget for these type of licensing we will have to look into much cheaper alternatives.
But it's good to know that it's "normal" to charge these amounts.
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Old August 6th, 2010, 04:32 AM   #14
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Back in February a client wanted some specially composed music for the start of a DVD for sale - we did the edit, but she paid extra for 30 seconds of something 'special & unique'. This request was only made when the subject of copyright clearance came up, so we suspected it was purely a cost factor making the decision. I did a very quick, and not very time consuming piece of music and charged her a small amount.

I saw the DVD being played a couple of weeks ago, and this music was missing - replaced with the original pop song she wanted to use. I'm not expecting any re-orders of this one, so are not going to make a fuss - and if the copyright police come knocking, I'm happy with my original evidence - but it's sneaky, isn't it!
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Old August 6th, 2010, 06:04 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Noa Put View Post
I have been dealing with weddings primarily some years ago and then it's simple, here we are allowed to use commercial music without any paperwork or paying license cost as long as the dvd is for the couple's personal use.
When I went more into events I noticed what a world of difference this can be for using music and I have been using programs like Sony cinescore to create background music, at least my clients found it good enough for their purpose.
My current client also said something like what you are suggesting Philip but we eventually decided not to make it too complicated and risk getting a severe penalty, since there is absolutely no budget for these type of licensing we will have to look into much cheaper alternatives.
But it's good to know that it's "normal" to charge these amounts.
It may be more liberal in Belgium but I have to wonder if the interpretation that it's okay there to use commercial music in a wedding DVD without licensing because it's for the personal use of the couple it is actually correct, After all, a wedding DVD is a commercial product being manufactured and sold by a vendor of commercial media services. The only thing that really makes it different from a copy of a movie made to be sold at the video store is the potential customer base is much, much smaller, just one or two customers instead of potentially hundreds. Virtually every commercial CD or DVD made is sold for the personal use of the purchaser.

Here in North America, if the couple actually makes the DVD themselves, actually physically taking the raw video footage and creating the finished program from it, and they choose to use a piece of copyright music such as a popular song, if it were to come to court it probably would be considred copying the music for personal use and thus legal. But if a third party such as a wedding videographer makes the final production, the copying of the music is not truly for personal use because although it will be for the personal use of the couple, it's not for the personal use of the person doing the copying. The videographer is copying the music into another production and HIS purpose is distribution and/or commercial sale of the copies. After all, every CD I've bought is for my personal use - the logic that copying music into a wedding DVD is okay because it's for the personal use of the customer would say that the store I bought my music CDs from should be able to buy one copy of release CD from a record label and make as many copies in their backroom as they like for resale since all those copies are only for the personal use of their customers. If I copy a commercial music CD so I can take it in the car without risking my original, it's legal because the copy is for my personal use. Likewise if I rip a CD I own onto my MP3 player to take my tunes with me, it's okay because it's also copying for my personal use (but I can't borrow a friend's CD and rip it for my own use later).. But if I make another copy and give it to you, THAT copy is not for the personal use of the person physically doing the copying of a CD that he personally owns and so is illegal. Certainly if I make a copy and SELL it to you there's no question it's illegal unless I've licensed it and selling copies of the content to his client, including the music that was used or performed, is what the wedding and event videographer does with every client for whom he shoots a video.
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Last edited by Steve House; August 6th, 2010 at 06:43 AM.
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