March 6, 2012

Rightclearing Makes Music Licensing for Filmmakers Fast and Easy

Whether it's for your short film, feature film, or funny YouTube video, finding and properly licensing music can be a pain.  You can either try licensing that classic track, which can be exorbitantly expensive, or if you have a musician willing to license their music, you may have to go through the rigamarole of drawing up legal documents and agreeable terms.  Enter  It's a new service launched by that aims to make it easier for musicians to monetize their music -- and easier for content creators to find and license that music.  Just how easy?  Find out in the following video:

It provides an overview of the process-

Going back to the opening scenario.  Let's say I had been using Blur's "To The End" as a dummy track on the closing credits of my short film.  Now, I don't know about you, but I don't forsee myself having the time or budget to license that song any time soon.  With, I can simply drop the song into the search function, and through some analysis the service will draw up a number of similar songs - in terms of genre, mood and instrumentation.  I could then sort the songs by license terms (i.e  whether the song has been licensed for advertisements vs film projects, commercial or personal use) as well as my budget.  I would then pick the songs that fit my project, pay the license fee and sign a licensing contract immediately sent to me by e-mail.

At least that's how it should work.  From playing around with it over the past couple of days I've found some pretty interesting stuff -- as well as some of the limitations.  As a relatively recent launch, it seems it will be as useful as the size of the song collection one can browse and the number of musicians who license their music through it (12,000+ songs may seem like a lot, but it will be a much better service once it has several hundred thousand songs from which to choose).

By eliminating the lawyers and negotiation factor it seems like it does make the process a lot easier - I can find and license the appropriate music in the course of an afternoon.  Of course, as with anything involving contracts - it's best to read it carefully before signing, and if you don't understand what you're signing, get a lawyer!

If you're interested in how it works from the musician side (since I'm sure we have many multi-hyphenates out there) check this video out.

Have you had any luck with other music licensing services?  Does this look like a good idea?  Let us know!

[via BoingBoing]

Your Comment


the record industry is leaving so much money on the table by not making it easier for people to get rights to use their songs. I have known a few people that wanted to pay for rights to use big name songs but they couldn't ever get anyone to call them back. They were never taken serially enough to even deny them or tell them how much licensing would cost.

The record industry screams about how youtube lets people infringe on copy right but doesn't offer a straight forward path for people to pay for the right to use the songs.

If the record industry offered $20 or $40 youtube only, one video only licenses I think a majority would pay to stay legal.

March 6, 2012 at 1:34PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Amen to that. However, I think the music industry also doesn't mind monetizing their music through YouTube themselves, as they already make big sums from the rev-split with Google. If they would license the song in the clip, payments would stop at the lecense fee. With ads, they grow with the popularity of the video...

March 6, 2012 at 11:23PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Thanks for the lead. I'm going to spend sometime navigating the site. I've always hated the search for public domain music. This will hopefully help.

March 6, 2012 at 1:44PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Just tried it for a Billie Holiday song that we used in one of our YouTube videos.... Unfortunately, the Right Clearing system uses a waveform analyzer to find music in it's library that IS SIMILAR. The problem is, when selecting music, we spend a great deal of time finding the EXACT song we want. Rarely will something similar work. I want the rights to that exact song! is not about getting rights to any big name tracks.... it's about finding something similar to what I have, which is really disappointing. Why would I pay $223 for one license to use one track for a YouTube video, when I could have selected a track from the much cheaper royalty-free music I already had. I selected that track because none of the royalty-free music I had fit. Maybe, when Rightclearing's library grows beyond the 12,000 tracks it currently has, and gets some big record labels to play ball, this service will be more useful.

March 6, 2012 at 3:12PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Even if you do get them to call you back they want a boat load of money... I try to explain I'm not producing a hollywood blockbuster here. Can't afford thousands of dollars for a track! They seem to have these one size fits all prices.

So then I hit up these music licensing sites and I have yet to find the perfect song for a project on there. It's a huge problem for me. I feel like I need certain music to get the right mood, but then you can't have it! Frustrating!

March 6, 2012 at 4:49PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM

Clayton Arnall

i just tried to search for "dark twisted fantasy" by kanye west, the results were pretty hilarious. some songs change drastically in parts like that one which confuses the engine.

March 6, 2012 at 6:20PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


i first searched on 'alternative', never heard of any these artists, some of the songs were pretty good imo. they are trying to do some slick things with the interface - however it was a bit clunky and slow if you want to sample many songs. i typed in film project budget $5000 and the songs rights all priced out about $117. then i searched on 'sad alternative' they new results didn't seem to match and now the rights per song was $650 so something funky is going on. if you're low budget like most, id suggest hang out at the local coffee shop or open mics find a band/musician you relate to and work together to come up with orginal stuff. most musicans i know are starving and would jump at the chance to get stuff into an indi flick at no cost just for the exposure. give 'em a six pack of beer they will probably do sound/boom work for ya too.

March 6, 2012 at 8:03PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Give 'm a six pack... And keep 'm starving, that's what you're saying?

March 6, 2012 at 11:45PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


I think what he's saying is: find someone with lower expectations that you can actually fulfill
which sounds perfectly fine to me

March 7, 2012 at 2:36AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


and also: get rid of intermediaries, go directly to the source (which in most cases means you have to go for someone that's just starting out and hasn't sold his soul to one of those intermediaries yet)

March 7, 2012 at 2:40AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


The problem with copyright is that you own it immediately, so you still need written permission to use people's work

March 7, 2012 at 1:59PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


I find that this similar music licensing site pretty helpful and easy to use (you can purchase the license based on where you are planning to use the song and have to put credits "powered by Jamendo" somewhere. The cost of one song is around 80 EUR.

March 7, 2012 at 3:31AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Go find a local band. There are a ton of bands, or musicians out there. Chances are, if you know 100 people, at least 10 of them dabble in music. Then go from there.

March 7, 2012 at 7:03AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


I agree that their song selection is limited if you're looking for big name songs. This site is awesome for me because I tend to avoid using songs by main stream people (Jay-z, Kayne, Lady Gaga, etc). I use movie soundtracks for my shorts.

This site works if you're looking for music like that. I dragged "The Vote" from The Village soundtrack (one of my favorites) and was introduced to beautiful music that will really work for films. License was extremely cheap ($50) mainly because I work on no budget (own my own equipment and don't pay for locations).

Perhaps it's just not ready for those who want to use mainstream music just yet.

March 7, 2012 at 8:54AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


If you guys are looking for indie / folksy type music this site has some great tracks for between $49 and $199.

March 8, 2012 at 10:45AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


March 8, 2012 at 3:18PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


I knew there was a reason music in low budget films was so atrocious.

November 28, 2012 at 3:57PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM