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Old August 27th, 2009, 11:21 AM   #1
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Music Licensing- Zoom

Hey there. I hope this is the right forum for this post...

Does anyone have any experience with Zoom Licensing? I keep on reading how they have made all these big deals with a few major record labels to license songs for productions, but when you search for what songs are cleared to use, nothing even 1/2 way usable or that anyone has ever heard of ever comes up. Their site is never updated and whenever I have tried to contact them about how to license songs from the major labels they never reply.

Is this for real or just some sort of scam? If it is for real it's something I would definitely use, but have no idea how to go about actually doing it. Has anyone actually licensed any major songs or artists through it? I searched everywhere for how to get a song through them, but I can not find anyone who has anything to say about it.

ANY experience anyone had ever had with them that people would be willing to share would be greatly appreciated.
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Old August 27th, 2009, 07:39 PM   #2
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search the forums using the search feature (top right). lots of comments about them already.
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Old August 27th, 2009, 08:00 PM   #3
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I've seen all those posts. They just mention that it is out there, not if anyone has actually ever used it or how to go about licensing something from them.
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Old August 27th, 2009, 08:19 PM   #4
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I've seen all those posts. They just mention that it is out there, not if anyone has actually ever used it or how to go about licensing something from them.
Gotcha. So I have no experience with them. Supposedly they are partnering with WEVA, but the results have been . . . underwhelming (from what I have heard). I looked into them a while ago but couldn't find any of the songs that are constantly requested or played at receptions, so I didn't bother looking any further.
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Old August 27th, 2009, 10:21 PM   #5
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I do not understand why they do not respond whenever I try to contact them about wanting to license music.

If there is anyone who can actually give a straight answer for how it really works or why there are no songs from any of the labels they say they have made deals with available, I will be surprised.
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Old August 27th, 2009, 10:55 PM   #6
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I do not understand why they do not respond whenever I try to contact them about wanting to license music.

If there is anyone who can actually give a straight answer for how it really works or why there are no songs from any of the labels they say they have made deals with available, I will be surprised.
I would guess they are pretty much defunct. They have no clients because they made big promises on the libraries they had access to, when in fact, the labels would not release their top earning artists (probably out of greed).
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Old August 28th, 2009, 02:00 PM   #7
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Is there any way to license music? Is anyone working on a way to get it done? They have a system in England I believe, why can't they just adapt it here as well.
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Old August 28th, 2009, 02:11 PM   #8
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Is there any way to license music? Is anyone working on a way to get it done? They have a system in England I believe, why can't they just adapt it here as well.
Because the RIAA, BMI, ASCAP, etc don't want to change. Change is bad. Change is scary. And they control the lawmakers to make sure that nothing rocks their financially sinking boat.
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Old August 29th, 2009, 07:05 AM   #9
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Is there any way to license music? Is anyone working on a way to get it done? They have a system in England I believe, why can't they just adapt it here as well.
Of course there's a way! Licensing is the bread-and-butter of the music industry. They WANT to license you the use of their music because that's how music publishers and composers earn their living. Licensing is the main thing that generates revenue for them - it's just that you might feel it'll be too cumbersome and too expensive for the sort of projects you personally are working on. You research the copyright holders of the music you wish to use - the words and music copyright owner (usually the music publisher) is who you go to for a sync license and if you wish to use an existing recording, the owner of the copyright to the specific recording (usually the record label) for a master use license - then you contact them and ask how much they'll charge for permission to use their songs. Those licenses are separate from the performance licenses and royalties collected by ASCAP, BMI, etc so if your video is going to be broadcast or shown publically in festivals or whatever, etc, you also prepare a cue-sheet listing every cut used, its timing, and copyright owners, so that the broadcaster or performance venue can report the usage and pay their royalties to the appropriate rights agencies. That's the process that has been gone through for every piece of music, other than original compositions written for the show, that you hear in a theatrical movie or in a televison drama or variety show, commercial, etc.

There are music clearance agents that accept indy filmakers as well as major studios as clients and will do all that legwork for you (for a fee, of course) and they often have enough inside contacts so they they can get clearance for a much smaller fee than you would be able to get on your own. A google on "music rights clearance" or "music clearance services" will turn up a bunch and some of the websites have very informative whitepapers on the whole issue of rights and what licenses are required for what when.
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Old September 14th, 2009, 10:06 PM   #10
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Steve, it appears that you're pretty experienced in the area of licensed music and your guidance is certainly helpful. It take exception, however, to your statement that "they (record labels) want to license you the use of the music..." I'm doing some of the ground work for some low-level product videos that will be posted on our website and will probably make their way over to YouTube and Vimeo at some point, but nothing for sale and no major distribution. Our company desires to use somewhat old to recent music from some popular artists, so I contacted at least 15 major record labels to inquire about the licensing process because we want to do it the right way. Our company spends a fortune and invests a lot of time to license every product we make that requires we do so, but the record labels have been the most stubborn and uncooperative people that I've ever dealt with. We work with Ferrari, Lamborghini, BMW, Mercedes, and all the other major auto manufacturers, and they're quiet willing and easy to work with - the music business, which is the only market that's sinking faster than the auto industry, seems ambivalent when it comes to selling their products to willing customers. They say they want everyone to license the use of their music, but then never make it accessible. The actual use of the music and whether it's worth their time is irrelevant because I didn't reach or get a single return call or email from ANY of the labels. There wasn't any discussion about the use because the dialogue never happened. I'm beginning to understand why so many videos of this type are using unlicensed music, because the process of even reaching someone to PAY THEM a licensing fee is almost impossible. The process has been pretty frustrating (I'm sure you can tell by my comments) but perhaps I'm just looking in the wrong places, which leads me to my next question.

Do I have another option? Are there any music clearing houses that have a library of popular or once popular music where they are authorized to grant limited license use under an "umbrella" license from the record labels? There are hundreds of thousands of commercials and product promotion videos shot every day and I'm hard pressed to imagine that they have to go through this all the time. Am I just completely missing out on an easier solution that I've yet to discover? We won't do it without licensing the music, but I've experienced the process that turns willing, paying potential licensees into those that would rather take their chances than to run the licensing gauntlet of the music business. Please give me some hope that there's a more expeditious solution... PLEASE!!!! :-)
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Old September 15th, 2009, 01:32 AM   #11
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Steve, it appears that you're pretty experienced in the area of licensed music and your guidance is certainly helpful. It take exception, however, to your statement that "they (record labels) want to license you the use of the music..." I'm doing some of the ground work for some low-level product videos that will be posted on SNIP
that would rather take their chances than to run the licensing gauntlet of the music business. Please give me some hope that there's a more expeditious solution... PLEASE!!!! :-)
Well, if you want expeditious you should probably contact someone who does exactly this for a living. Start with BZ Rights and Permissions in NYC. Yes, you might be disappointed by what they tell you are the going rates for such clearances - but they CAN clear almost anything.

The rest of it, IMO, is just a matter of the reality that for decades, it's been easier for copyright holders to license less - but at large rates - and thus protect themselves from the chance that that lovely song adored by millions ends up being the soundtrack for Tim's Fast Acting Acne Treatment. Music licensing has always been an EXCEPTIONS rather than a bulk sale business. (Other than buyout, of course) and is shouldn't surprise anyone that the people who own the rights don't want to have to spend their entire lives fielding calls from 10,000 event videographers who all want to license "My Heart Will Go On" to slap over Cousin Katy's third marriage civil ceremony. Especially if that license means that should Katy's new husband turn out to have socially unacceptable habits - that snippits of the wedding video replete with Celine's perfectly licensed warbling ends up as the background soundtrack on "To Catch a Predator."

Licensing is typically complicated stuff.

The one hope is that now that iTunes has demonstrated that there's a model where limited licensing for a low fee can generate significant income, perhaps someday someone will come up with the equivalent for production music.

That WOULD be nice.
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Old September 15th, 2009, 06:13 AM   #12
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Thank for the reply Bill. Unlike my video skills, I'm not "green" when it comes to licensing, the music business notwithstanding. Our company spends millions of dollars a year in licensing fees and I've negotiated licensing agreements with some of the largest, most demanding and unweidling corporations and organizations in the world. I don't need a lesson in the nuances of licensing, intellectual property and ecomonies of scale. There's also not much that can shock me in terms of fees, but the indemic lack of professionalism in the music industry is simply stunning. As I mentioned, they couldn't know the scale on which were prepared to partner with them because they're not even professional enough to respond to at least half a dozen inquiries.
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Old September 15th, 2009, 09:16 AM   #13
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Thank for the reply Bill. Unlike my video skills, I'm not "green" when it comes to licensing, the music business notwithstanding. Our company spends millions of dollars a year in licensing fees and I've negotiated licensing agreements with some of the largest, most demanding and unweidling corporations and organizations in the world. I don't need a lesson in the nuances of licensing, intellectual property and ecomonies of scale. There's also not much that can shock me in terms of fees, but the indemic lack of professionalism in the music industry is simply stunning. As I mentioned, they couldn't know the scale on which were prepared to partner with them because they're not even professional enough to respond to at least half a dozen inquiries.
I think it's all in knowing who to call and as Bill suggested, that's where a rights clearance agency can be very worthwhile. That's what they do for a living and their phone calls DO get returned by the labels because they're on a first-name basis with the guy what does it. Can't comment on the lack of professionalism and common courtesy you've encountered ... lack of professionalism is endemic in many, if not most, industries these days it seems.
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Old September 15th, 2009, 06:29 PM   #14
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I think it's all in knowing who to call and as Bill suggested, that's where a rights clearance agency can be very worthwhile. That's what they do for a living and their phone calls DO get returned by the labels because they're on a first-name basis with the guy what does it. Can't comment on the lack of professionalism and common courtesy you've encountered ... lack of professionalism is endemic in many, if not most, industries these days it seems.
I think Steve has hit the nail on the head.

Just as in Hollywood, where the AGENT is the gatekeeper who pre-screens talent so that the casting directors don't have to personally see 10,000 wannabee actors, in music licensing, rights clearance houses are the gatekeepers for licensing stuff like this.

In that context, asking about this stuff HERE is a waste of time. Call a clearance house. They'll know in 10 seconds who owns which rights, how much they expect to be paid to clear which of those rights, and most important of all, know the number of the person to call to cut through all the mess and get a thumbs up or down.

If, as you imply, your org already has the assets, expertise and experience to do this professionally, I'm surprised someone there doesn't already have these names in a rolodex. Which means your original query starts to make not so much sense.

Rights clearance is an established business. If you're familiar with it - it seems odd that you seem so upset and surprised by the normal way it works.

But then again, who am I to say.

So I'll just wish you good luck.
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