Ok, where to start with this... So it's xmas and out of self absolution I decided to finely deal with the Music Rights. The film is based on my sketch book witch contains shit loads of lyrics from songs I like. To give the short film the same spirit, I asked my musical friends to cover some famous songs.
Since I'm planning to get it into festivals and/or on the net, I need to clear the music rights.
I started writing that post and after half an hour it was 3 pages long... Music Rights are somewhat complicated.
I'll try to sum up:
How does it work?
2 différents rights/licence:
- synchronization licence: is the licence to use the lyrics / partition / writing. It's the right to use a song if you re-record it yourself.
- master use licence: is the licence to use a specific version of a song by a specific artist on a specific album.
Those licences are for using on images/film. To use them on a format (i.e. CD, tape, whatever) its yet another story.
So in my case I mainly need Synchronisation licences since I'm going to use covers.
How to get them?
Publishers hold the rights on behalf of the artist. So licenses for a same song can be hold by different publishers. Lets say 3 artists wrote a song, and one sang it, the right can potentially be hold by 4 publishers.
To know witch publisher holds witch right you need to go on those 3 websites: www.ascap.com, www.bmi.com and www.sesac.com and find the specific song you want. You need to go on all 3 of them because there repository are not the same... Sweet.
You then need to contact the publishers and ask them for the licence you want. In the case of Warner and Chappell there's an online form to fill, it's pretty strait forward but quite specific. You will need to explain how you're gonna use the music, what is the film about and other stuff.
For some other publishers (for exemple EMI) you need to contact them directly by email or phone.
Why get them?
When you aim at having your film in festival, it is mandatory . If your aiming at showing it to your mum, at a wedding or to a small youtube audience, you should ask for them, obviously, but it's probably not worth the time and energy you and they'll spend.
The reason why I'm getting them is because my friends are spending time making covers and I want to be sure to be able to use them.
Usually producers deal with the music rights and I thing that a bit of négociation is involved. I contacted a few publisher and I haven't heard from them yet (Xmas brake I think) I hope the price they'll ask me for will be reasonable, that is between 0 and 50 dollars, but until they contact me, I have no idea what's gonna happen... STRESSFUL!