If you’re thinking of using commercially released music in an Advert, Online Campaign or a Film, a key question on your mind is probably:
How Long Does it Take to Clear Music?
From our last post, How to License Music for Your Campaign, you know you’ll need to contact the relevant rightsholders for their permission and obtain a signed licence or licences, depending on the rightsholders and how many of them there are.
We’ve worked on campaigns that go from Quote Request to Approval to Signed Licence in a couple of days…but others a couple of weeks, and some that have stalled entirely – meaning Plan B comes into play.
The key is to allow as much lead time as possible, but we know that isn’t always practical, so here are a few factors to consider:
Where did you find the song?
A song that was pitched to you by a Music Supervisor or came directly from the rightsholders is likely to be more straightforward to clear than a song you (or someone else!) found, for example, while trawling through SoundCloud or YouTube.
Rightsholders will normally have the contact information for all relevant parties and be in touch with the right people to contact to seek permission for the usage – and a Music Supervisor will usually have an idea of, or at least be able to find out, who the rightsholders are.
As it’s key to obtain permission from all relevant rightsholders for any song, it’s often not as simple as just contacting the artist and asking them to sign a licence.
Who are the rightsholders?
Related to the above – sometimes ownership is in dispute, or it’s unclear who owns portions of the rights, or the rights may not be registered.
If you know who some of the rightsholders are, they may be able to help identify who controls the remaining shares, and even help get them registered with the right collection societies so the song can be licensed.
This process can, again, take anything from a couple of days to a couple of weeks or more.
How many rightsholders are involved?
If it’s a straightforward as:
The song is by an unsigned solo artist who wrote and performed the original music and lyrics and wholly owns the recording.
…this will often – but not always! – be more straightforward than:
The song has 5 writers, each represented by a different Music Publisher, is performed by one main artist and a featured artist each on different Record Labels and also samples a Motown classic, a 90s dance anthem and a recorded quote from an obscure movie.
That example is intentionally convoluted – usually it will be somewhere in between the two.
Where are the rightsholders based?
Clearing a song controlled by rightsholders in the same timezone as you will often be easier / quicker than for a song whose rightsholders are based half way around the world for the simple reason that some people (not all people…) need to sleep!
When you’re looking to clear music for your ad campaign, online content or film, the general rule of thumb is: the earlier in the process you can decide on a song, the better.
Working with a Music Supervisor can help speed things up when you’re trying to clear music – we’ll usually know where to start, and the questions to ask – and if it becomes apparent that a song is going to take more time to clear than you have, we can also help you come up with a backup plan.
If you’re looking for help finding music or have a specific song in mind already and would like some help with quotes, contact Storyboard Music on hello[at]storyboardmusic[dot]com.
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