LICENSING PRE-RECORDED MUSIC

Introduction

Music is a powerful storytelling tool since it has the ability to convey and heighten the emotion in a scene.
Nonetheless, independent film makers, generally out of necessity, under budget for it. Worse even, they
spend the money they did budget, on dealing with unforeseen expenses associated with the production or
post-production process.

Filmmakers who decide to reproduce pre-recorded music on their film ’s soundtrack have to be prepared
to spend time and money acquiring the music’s synchronization right (these licenses are referred to as
“sync licenses”). The endeavor is time-consuming because it requires contacting and negotiating with
various parties. It is also expensive if you are going to secure the rights to pre-recorded music: you will have
pay fees to the record company, publisher(s), the Am American Federation of Musicians, Am American Federation
of Television and Radio Artists and/or Screen Actors Guild. The information below is basic information. It
is not an exhaustive discussion on the topic of music licenses. I suggest that filmmakers use the below
information as a jumping board. If the licensing process gets too complicated, then I always suggest that
filmmakers either hire a knowledgeable attorney or music supervisor. [Read Article]

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