The past few years have shown that a majority of performing artists – not those on major records – but people like well, the rest of us, have grown to understand that when you record someone else’s song on your album that you pay what’s called a mechanical license when you press CDS or put them out for digital download. You are essentially paying them for the use of their song.
Now, let’s say that you make a video of yourself performing that song and you post it on YouTube. Well, now you will need what is a called a synchronization license which is often called a synch license. This is the case for every movie where you’ve heard a song performed. Someone negotiated with the owner of the song for the right to use the song in the movie.
While I sounds straightforward, it can be confusing.
Where do you get a Synch License?
Unlike a mechanical license that is a regulated procedure and you can go through 3rd parties like Harry Fox, a synch license requires you to deal directly with the owner of the publishing of the song. And that’s true even if its your sound recording of their song.
Unlike a mechanical license which has a set rate, a synch license is whatever they want to charge.
Its usually best to apply for this BEFORE you have put together your video – or released it on Youtube. This approach communicates to the rights holder that yes, you’d like to use it but you have other song ideas for the video. No sense in paying more than you have to.
Plus using it in a youtube video for your own band is not like a major motion picture so don’t be afraid to make an offer. What’s the worst thing that can happen?
And I know it goes without saying but that’s when people get into trouble. Please remember, we are not lawyers – we are not giving legal advice – you should do you own due diligence and speak with your own legal representation to get a legal opinion.
If you’re needing help you need someone who is familiar with entertainment law and you can probably find one with a local google search.