Along with copyrighted images and logos, music is probably one of the most contentious legal issues for the video production company. It is also one of the least recognised, with people slinging in all sorts of copyrighted music without realising they are leaving themselves open to being sued by the person or company that produced it in the first place.
This might seem a touch unfair to the amateur video maker uploading videos online. Indeed, since the proliferation of web video thanks to YouTube and the other video platforms this issue has ballooned. YouTube’s work around is to use expensive software to identity copyrighted music in their customer’s videos and pay a flat fee to the copyright holder.
The same can’t be said about commercially produced web and corporate video, any use of copyrighted music leaves the production company AND their client wide open for copyright infringement. Many have been stung and a lot of lawyers have put their kids through college exploiting this. Fortunately, there are alternatives which involve an outlay in the short term, but can save a lot of money in the long-term.
The cheapest solution and with many good and not so good music library available online, certainly the most popular. Personally, we would recommend Audio Network, who provide a terrific range of quality music to suit all tastes. We most recently used them for the music for our TV advert for Canopies UK.
Having music written for a video is another good (although perhaps more expensive) alternative. Do be aware though that there is of course a great range of ability, so choose your musician carefully. Also be aware that music in video is easily the most personal aspect and which can cause the most disagreement – everybody has their individual music tastes and thinks they are right!
Also important when choosing your library or bespoke music is to be very clear about what period of buyout your need for the piece. If the video will only be on your client’s website for 6 months or a year, you will get one price. If the music is needed for longer, or in perpetuity, the price will most probably be higher. Again, you are setting yourself up for a fall if you miscalculate or give the wrong buyout period to the person supplying the music.
To conclude, music is certainly one of the most contentious areas of video production and certainly one that can cause headaches for all sorts of reasons. It pays to handle with care!