Watch: Everything You Need to Know About Music Rights
Confused about music rights? This video breaks it down.
When it comes to legal quagmires for filmmakers, issues with music rights and licensing are by far the most common. Many filmmakers are under the impression that the rights can be "sorted out" in post-production, but this is a dangerous assumption. As David Morrison from the Cardozo Indie Film Clinic told us, "music is very, very complicated, both as an area of law and as a practical issue for film.... You want to have some help, either from a music supervisor or from an attorney, in planning that stuff out well before you start shooting."
An extremely helpful new video from Audio Network breaks down the different types of music rights by their uses in filmmaking, and what you need to do to clear them:
Overview of types of music rights
Note that obtaining each of these types of rights requires their own separate licensing agreements.
- Sync rights: cover the composition and lyrics of a piece of music
- Master/dubbing rights: cover the actual recorded piece of music; usually held by the record label
- Mechanical rights: if you plan to duplicate your production (i.e. on DVD) and secured through a rights society or directly with the publisher
- Performance rights: need to be cleared if your production will broadcast on TV or be posted online; usually, the TV channel or website is responsible