A guide to licensing music in corporate video

Licensing music for your marketing videos can be tricky. In an ideal world, we’d all like to use the latest Ed Sheeran song to back up our obviously fantastic marketing video by Stone’s Throw Media, but unless you’ve got a wad of cash, that’s not likely to happen.

In this blog we’ll discuss your options when looking at licensing music for your corporate video, as well as what to do when you can’t license the music you were hoping to include.

How to license music for your video

In the majority of cases, popular music often tends to be copyrighted. This means the first step you will have to take is to contact the artist or their record label for permission to use their music.

Smaller acts may be more likely to give you permission to use their music, but if it’s a well known track or artist there are likely to be various legal issues regarding copyrights – which may put you in hot water if you don’t approach them in the right way – or at all. Not to mention a potential substantial cost that may be payable to license the track for use.

Licensing music when the artist is not tied to a record label

You’d be right to assume that you’re free of any royalties or cost if the artist is not tied to a label or management, but you still need to a) check if the track has ever been tied to a record company or any other third party and b) get permission to use it first.

Can I use a track which is offered as a free download?

When artists put their music as a free download on websites like SoundCloud and BandCamp this gives you a little more leeway when looking to use their song as a backing track.

For courtesy, it’s still recommended that you contact them for permission, but if they’ve specifically stated that downloads are for personal use only, then it’s a no-go.

I’ve found the perfect track but I can’t find the owner of the music

Again, another tricky situation as you could find yourself in trouble if you use a track which is later noticed by the artist.

If you can’t find any information on the track, no matter how perfect you think it might be, then it’s best to leave it.

What to do when you licensing music becomes tricky

If you’ve searched for what seems like an entity and still can’t find the right backing track, there are other options which are a lot closer to home than you think…

Many video production companies offer bespoke music creation for projects which require an additional element. Tracks are created using a variety of instruments and devices, meaning this can often be the perfect solution to hitting a brick wall in your quest of licensing music for marketing videos.

Some production companies will also have a number of ready-made stock tracks for you to browse, so it’s definitely worth a shout when your video is in the production stages.

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