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Old June 9th, 2008, 02:40 AM   #1
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copywritten music / 80's song

If I was doing a documentary and I had a budget where I could pay for the rights to use an 80's song, how would I go about finding out who owns it and how much it cost to use it?

I figured some of you had to of used some hit song in your work either in a film or commercial etc.

I just don't know where to start besides finding out what record label the song is on and trying to email someone from the labels website. I doubt I would get a response if I did that.

Thanks.
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Old June 9th, 2008, 08:07 AM   #2
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You can try a search on the ASCAP and BMI websites, also the Harry Fox Agency site. They don't clear the sync and master use licenses you'll need but their free online databases are a good source to research who holds the various copyrights you'll need to clear. Be prepared for sticker shock.

You might find it worthwhile to engage a rights clearance agency to do all the legwork for you. It can be a real can of worms for someone to untangle on a DIY basis.
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Old June 9th, 2008, 04:58 PM   #3
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Be prepared for sticker shock.
Any ballpark estimate?
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Old June 9th, 2008, 05:10 PM   #4
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Without knowing the song, it's impossible to even hazard a guess. There is no 'set fee' for licensing music. It all depends on the song, and the purpose of the synch - you'll just have to do some legwork.

Could be anywhere from "Hey, its a worthy cause - sure you can use it for free " to many hundreds of thousands, to "NO- GO AWAY".
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Old June 9th, 2008, 05:33 PM   #5
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Just as an interesting side note, here in Canada today the CTV television network has announced they have purchased the rights to use the theme to "Hockey Night in Canada" after the CBC's license for it expired last week. They plan to use it as the theme for their NHL broadcasts and the hockey coverage in the 2010 Winter Olympics. Earlier today I heard the figure of $3 million mentioned as the price they paid for the rights to use a song that's been around since 1968.

Not that it's apropos to the present discussion but I though it was interesting to note how high licensing fees can go when someone really, really wants it bad.
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Old June 9th, 2008, 05:39 PM   #6
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Any ballpark estimate?
Here's an interesting article that discusses some specific numbers you might encounter ... http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/16/mo...=1&oref=slogin
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Old June 9th, 2008, 10:21 PM   #7
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any links to the specific sites you talking about Steve?

Reading that article kinda makes me sick...
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Old June 10th, 2008, 02:44 PM   #8
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any links to the specific sites you talking about Steve?

Reading that article kinda makes me sick...
One that comes to mind is one recommended by Jay Rose on his DV audio site: www.firstlightclearance.com. I haven't dealt with her but the website has a nice ring to it. A google on Music Clearance Agency will turn up a bunch.
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Old June 10th, 2008, 04:33 PM   #9
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Thanks Steve!
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Old June 17th, 2008, 03:52 PM   #10
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Steve, thanks for the link, I e-mailed Cheryl to get the ball rolling. Music is key to film.
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Old June 17th, 2008, 03:56 PM   #11
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Well that answers that question, it takes 5 posts to go from Tourist to New Boot.
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Old June 19th, 2008, 01:42 AM   #12
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Here's an interesting article that discusses some specific numbers you might encounter ... http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/16/mo...=1&oref=slogin
Steve, thanks for posting the link to that article - hadn't seen it before. I think everyone thinking of producing a doc should read that.

Greg
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Old June 27th, 2008, 01:13 PM   #13
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The initial price is high, but you can negotiate a much lower one some of the time, if you explain what your budget is and what is the maximum that you can afford to pay.
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Old August 5th, 2008, 09:58 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Oliver Darden View Post
any links to the specific sites you talking about Steve?

Reading that article kinda makes me sick...
Yeah, I just decided to dump the idea of using any "poplular" music in the doc that I'm working on.

There are plenty of great, local musicians that will let you use a song for nothing more than a credit and/or lunch. In the same way that great video equipment is affordable, great music production is affordable. Sure, some bad video, film, and music is produced, but many creative people have shown up as well as a result.

I know that doesn't help the OP, but maybe will for someone who has had to deal with copyright issues, which is all of us.
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