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Old October 8th, 2009, 06:17 PM   #1
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Acquiring rights to music for commercials?

Hey, everyone. I've just recently decided I want to start shooting commercials. I'm getting everything underway, and it's going smooth... Except one thing. Music. Stock music, to plainly put it is absolutely horrible. I can't find any. So my question is, how do I go about acquiring good, mainstream music? The commercials I'm shooting are mainly going to be broadcast locally. Is there a way to just pay for a licensing fee, and be able to use a band's music legally? I was told to check out BMI. I'm kind of up on the air with that website. So, if anybody could help me out here, that'd be so, so great. I'm completely lost. Haha.
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Old October 8th, 2009, 06:37 PM   #2
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Tons of info on this over in the TCB forum...which is where this should probably be.
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Old October 8th, 2009, 06:52 PM   #3
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Old October 8th, 2009, 06:56 PM   #4
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dewolfemusic.com is yer buddy. Great tunuge and they haggle. They'll negotiate a flat rate per production with you. I haven't counted needle drops in shows in years. I love em.
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Old October 8th, 2009, 07:54 PM   #5
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Tons of info on this over in the TCB forum...which is where this should probably be.
Moved to TCB and merged with a duplicate that was cross-posted to ATA.

Please search first before starting new threads -- this is a frequently discussed topic.

Please don't cross-post. Thanks,
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Old October 8th, 2009, 08:49 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Douglas Joseph View Post
Hey, everyone. I've just recently decided I want to start shooting commercials. I'm getting everything underway, and it's going smooth... Except one thing. Music. Stock music, to plainly put it is absolutely horrible. I can't find any. So my question is, how do I go about acquiring good, mainstream music? The commercials I'm shooting are mainly going to be broadcast locally. Is there a way to just pay for a licensing fee, and be able to use a band's music legally? I was told to check out BMI. I'm kind of up on the air with that website. So, if anybody could help me out here, that'd be so, so great. I'm completely lost. Haha.
If you're defining 'mainstream' as famous, platinum-selling music acts, don't get your hopes up- it's prohibitively expensive, esp. for local TV commercials. The good news is that there are many alternatives.

Have you tried Pump Audio or Shockwave Sound, places like that? They have very high quality music from most any genre you can think of there you can get quickly with minimal hassle.
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Old October 9th, 2009, 02:15 AM   #7
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FYI Harry Fox handles mechanical licensing to allow one to record and distribute music specifically as audio recordings, ie, cover songs on CDs and or distributed through downloads, but they're not involved with the sync and master use licenses necessary to use the music itself and existing recordings of music in film and video soundtracks, including in commercials.
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Last edited by Steve House; October 9th, 2009 at 03:03 AM.
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Old October 9th, 2009, 02:50 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Douglas Joseph View Post
Hey, everyone. I've just recently decided I want to start shooting commercials. I'm getting everything underway, and it's going smooth... Except one thing. Music. Stock music, to plainly put it is absolutely horrible. I can't find any. So my question is, how do I go about acquiring good, mainstream music? The commercials I'm shooting are mainly going to be broadcast locally. Is there a way to just pay for a licensing fee, and be able to use a band's music legally? I was told to check out BMI. I'm kind of up on the air with that website. So, if anybody could help me out here, that'd be so, so great. I'm completely lost. Haha.
Check out the Smartsound royalty free music library and SonicFire Pro software for working with it. Excellent music without the hassles.

BMI, along with ASCAP and SESAC, is a performance royalty collection service. If you play a piece of music on-air in radio or TV, in a club or concert venue, use it in an elevator or on-hold or on your website, even play it as background music in a dentist's office, the composers, publisher, etc gets a royalty each time it's played and that's what BMI and the others collect on their behalf. But a public performance of the song is not the same thing as using it a film or video soundtrack such as in your commercials. To incorporate the words and melody of the music into a soundtrack alongside the images, you need what's called a synchronization license from the music publisher. To use an existing recording, you also need a master use license from the recording's copyright owner, usually the record label that recorded it in the case of a commercially released CD. If you're going to make a fresh recording yourself, all you need is the sync license. BMI, ASCAP, SESAC, the aformentioned Harry Fox Agency do not deal with sync or master licenses at all - for those you need to identify the copyright owners and negotiate directly with them, there is no one-stop shopping. If you want to go that route instead of the royalty free library music, your best bet is to hire a music rights clearance agency to do the legwork for you. A google on "music rights clearance" will turn up a number of them. ASCAP, BMI, etc eventually do get involved - each time the film or commercial is played on the air that counts as a "performance" of the music and a royalty is paid but that's handled by the broadcaster, usually covered under the blanket licensing fees the broadcaster pays to the rights societies m each year. You're not involved with that part of it beyond providing a "cue sheet" for their reporting purposes.
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Old October 9th, 2009, 11:11 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Douglas Joseph View Post
Stock music, to plainly put it is absolutely horrible. I can't find any.
Keep looking, or lower your expectations. I've never had a problem finding good royalty-free buyout music. There are at least 1,000 vendors selling it, someone has something you'll like.
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Old October 17th, 2009, 05:16 PM   #10
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Thanks everyone for your help. This is exactly what I needed. Sorry for cross posting, Chris!
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Old October 19th, 2009, 02:26 AM   #11
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Check out the Smartsound royalty free music library and SonicFire Pro software for working with it. Excellent music without the hassles.
Seconded!

The Smartsound system allows for a lot of variation in the arrangements & very clever matching of music length to sequences so is far more than just a tune playing in the background of your video. We used Smartsound with most every video in our portfolio Barkers | Video Portfolio
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