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Music licensing expert shares 5 useful tips on clearing music for your film!
Posted by Michal
February 21, 2013, at 11:51 PM

If you are a filmmaker you are probably well-aware how important are the copyrights. But what about music tunes? You cannot use any music tune without holding the appropriate rights, but that's obvious. But what's important is that you need to be 100% sure that you hold such rights - and sometimes (especially if you use "free" music for your movies) things can be tricky. Celine Palavioux shared some tips that will allow you to clear music for your film - with one unclear copyright you can forget about a distribution deal or showing your film at festivals. Celine has over 17 years' experience in licensing music for film, television and advertising. She has worked for record labels, music publishers and was music consultant. Here are her tips (via Raindance):

  • If you don’t know the difference between a sound recording and a composition, find out! Music licensing is much easier once you understand the basics of how music copyright works.
  • Research, research, research…. Not everything is straightforward and the mergers and acquisitions that have taken place in the music industry recently have muddled things even further. Ask questions, speak to collection agencies (PRS for Music, PPL), record labels and music publishers; in short do your research!
  • Unfortunately and for many reasons, you may not be able to clear the track that you really want. So come up with alternatives early on.
  • Regardless of whether you are clearing commercial music via synchronisation licences or commissioning a composer to write a score, you will need to pay for whatever music you want to use. The rule is 10% of the total film budget should go to music.
  • Film soundtracks have become very popular. They are used constantly on shows like Top Gear and on TV commercials, yet you should avoid using them altogether. Firstly most film scores are the property of film companies, which often make them unclearable. Second, they are very expensive to clear.

If you want to find more info on the matter you can participate in the Music For Film course that will take place on Monday 25th of February at the Raindance Film Centre in London. For details follow this link!


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