Agreed that the music on a video is (almost) as important at the visuals and I totally get it that you absolutely love the new James Bay track and it’ll go perfectly with the style of your video – but be warned! You’re in for a whole heap of trouble if you ignore the copyright law protecting the unauthorised use of music by people like you…
I’m sorry; you probably didn’t think it was that big of a deal or that ‘They’ would never find out your video on the whole of the internet but ignorance never stands in a court of law so I’m writing this to educate on the implications you may face if you decided to use a copyrighted piece of music without a license to do so.
It doesn’t matter if it’s an independent producer or a huge record label, the law is the same and you could face a law suit with a five-figure settlement charge if you break the rules. I’ve heard of a video production company being fined £20, 000 for using a David Guetta song in a promo video for a client. And that’s the point – it’s the video PRODUCER who will get stung for it not the client. If you make your own videos then it’s you who’s responsible, if you hire a professional video company or producer the liability falls to them.
So about not being found out… YouTube has really complex audio analysis tools called ‘ContenID’. This automated system instantly flags to them any copyrighted material and you’ll be informed. You’re content will be blocked and appear like this… Oops! Not quite the professional image you want to portray right?
Thankfully there are several options open to you to LEGALLY use good music in your videos.
Firstly there is a plethora of FREE royalty-free music online that you can use. Most of the time you will be asked to credit the artist which is simple, you just need to include an end frame on your video or type in the description on YouTube something like ‘Music by Bensound.org’
Okay, so a lot of free music is questionably cheesy and can be spotted a mile of BUT there are some hidden gems out there, it might just take you a while.
There are also plenty of sites were you can purchase single use licences for their royalty free music, these can range from £15 – £40 per track but in my opinion the quality of music is much higher than the free stuff.
Another option is to commission a sound-a-like. Sometimes there really is no other song that will work for what you have in mind but copyright is stopping you from being able to use it (unless you are willing to pay the £5000 license fee Sony Records is asking you for)
There are some REALLY talented music producers out there with a huge passion for making music and relish the challenge of a project like a sound-a-like. They can even take your favourite parts of your chosen song and ditch the elements you don’t like to produce your own bespoke version. It won’t be an exact copy – but by working with the producer you’ll have a track you love even more than the original to use in your video and really make it your own. Winner! This service could cost anything between £50 – £200. I’d recommend checking out www.chriscooperproduction.co.uk as a starting point.
There are several ways to avoid any unnecessary trouble with using music in your video – hopefully this has given you some viable options and next time you’ll think twice before using that classic Queen track to promote your services. Is it really worth the risk?