January 22, 2015 at 5:10PM

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Music Licensing

I was wondering if anyone has dealt with this (and the search function for the boards doesn't seem to be working).

I'm trying to license a cover of a song for my film. I read that you can't just acquire the right to use the song whenever and wherever you want. I'm planning on showing my film at festivals but I don't know how many festivals or how many times the film would be showing at these festivals.

I'm just wondering if I should wait until the film is pretty much done before I figure all of this out? The scene is a montage and I'm planning each shot in synch with what's happening in the song so...what happens if I can't get the song? I don't want to get stuck without the proper song to fit the context of what is happening in the story :/

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Also, does anybody know if recording my own version of this song would make any of this easier? Or would I still have to deal with almost all of the same stuff?

January 22, 2015 at 5:24PM

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You would need sync rights in any case. If you have any budget to acquire the rights, I would ask a music supervisor who has worked on independent films to try and get that particular song. You know that the smaller is your film and the more famous is the said song, the less are your chances. But why not give it a shot?

However, you should not get obsessed with the said song, or any song. There is a reason why we call it temp music. Since it's so fundamental for your film, you have 2 other solutions:
1) Search for a less popular song that sounds similar (is in tha same genre) or that its lyrics have the same context. For example you can find hundreds of rock songs against the war/for piece or ballads about love etc. Then you would licence it for a fraction of the cost of the other popular song that you had on mind. OR

2) Hire a composer or an indie band to record for you an original song that fits your film.

In both cases, you would get rights to use their song forever and in any platform. Do not limit yourself just for festival use, you may get a VOD deal along the way and then you ll be in trouble without the music rights. Again, a music supervisor can help you with all these technical details.

Hope that helps! Good luck!

January 23, 2015 at 3:54AM

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Stel Kouk
Filmmaker
3132

It's not a huge song by any means. And luckily I want to use a marching band version of it, which is only about a minute long (only about 1/3rd the length of the original version). I have a person writing a score that features most of the same instruments, so recording our own version isn't out of the question. Hopefully some of those factors help.

Thanks for the reply!

January 23, 2015 at 12:24PM

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To avoid that kind of problem, if you don't need this song absolutely, you can use a "Copyleft" music...
I use music from www.be-tunes.com because they offer for Free Music under Creative Commons Attribution License (CC-BY) which is the best for any kind of project, even commercial...
You have quality music and you can make use of it freely!

February 27, 2017 at 7:56AM

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