How to legally get copyright clear music that you can use in your videos
You might like a piece of music for use in your video, but that does not mean that video is available freely for commercial use. Many of the websites that provide copyright clear music free for download do that only for learning purposes. If you make commercial use of those music tracks then you might end up paying a lot more for it if you get stuck in any sort of legal implications. To get the complete copyright of music for commercial use you might need to get sample clearance certification. If you are a new or independent musician then getting this sample clearance is quite difficult and expensive. This clearance also states that the music belongs to you completely and you hold all the rights of production, distribution, and resale of the music owned by you.
To get legal clearance of copyright free music you need two different licenses —
- for the master recording usage which is mostly required by brands and companies
- For use by the underlying composition which is under the control of the songwriter or the publisher.
If you intend to distribute a cover song then none of these two licenses are mandatory and the copyright owner need not give you permission for the same. You can mutually agree with the composer to get the copyright of these tracks. You must present your track in front of all the copyright owners before they take the decision to make it copyright clear music.
The process of copyright clearance also requires some funding. The publisher will definitely charge an advance or a clearance fee that can be around some 100s to 1000s of dollars and also a percentage of the sales and revenue that the music track generates. If you are using a sample of a music company or a composer then the person can charge anywhere between 15-50% based on how prominently the music sample is featured in the new song.
Apart from the composer or publisher, you will have to pay an up-front fee to the label or brand that owns the master recording. Apart from the up-front fee, you must also give a rollover amount to the brand as a royalty amount.
What must you do if you cannot get in touch with the copyright holders?
Many times big brands and publishers do not consider or have time for the sample clearance requests of small and independent artist’s. These brands pay attention to the artist’s requests only when they are signed or their songs become popular and then there are chances that these labels can sue legal actions on the artist’s just to create some controversy. So even if the copyright holders are not replying, you cannot use a sample legally unless you have sample clearance.