about the music licensing process

A little about the music licensing process

In the USA Copyright law states that in order for someone to use music synchronized to a picture requires them to gain the permission of the copyright holder or owners of the music.  The main job of the music supervisor is for them to locate music and gain the permission from all copyright owners to use that music in film or TV production. Thisprocess is call “clearing” music, or ”music clearing”

There are two different copyrights in any piece of music

The music itself has a copyright and then on each sound recording of that piece of music

Music Copyright 

Typically owned by a music publishing company

A license between a music copyright owner and a film/TV production company for use

of music in a production is called a Synchronization License (aka “Sync License”)

Sound Recording Copyright

Record labels typically own and there may be many recordings of the same work, each with a different sound recording copyright owner


A “Master License” is used for a recording in any given production it is the license between a sound recording copyright owner and a film/TV production company.

I would also like to add that there is so much information on this process that it will take a bit more than just one or two postings. I am working on trying to help my fellow musicians and artist in their quest for fame and stardome but you must do the homework. You must be the one to do all the studying.

Nothing good comes easy it will take determination, perseverance, talent and luck. You are on the right road though for you are researching and trying to educate yourself in this matter. Please visit back often for more updates and ask questions. We are working on a program that may help you and others that has helped me in this process. So hang in there and keep on keeping on.

For more info you may also look at wolfiesmusicpublishing.com and / or markallanwolfe.com We also have a handy glossary which will help many of you becoming familiar with the process visit Music Licensing Terms


ASCAP Initiates Multiple Infringement Actions Against Nightclubs, Bars & Restaurants to Heighten Awareness About Performing Copyrighted Music Without Permission

NEW YORK, NY, Jun 25, 2012 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) — The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) announced today that it has filed multiple infringement actions against nightclubs, bars and restaurants in several states across the nation.

In each of the cases filed today, the business or establishment has publicly performed the copyrighted musical works of ASCAP’s songwriter, composer and music publisher members without obtaining a license from ASCAP to do so. These establishments then refused to acquire a license and continued to perform ASCAP members’ music without permission, resulting in the filing of the infringement actions.

ASCAP manages the rights of its members by licensing and distributing royalties for the non-dramatic public performances of their copyrighted works. Those licensed by ASCAP include any establishment or business that wants to perform copyrighted music publicly.

“Music plays a crucial role in attracting customers to restaurants, bars and various other establishments. Our membership of songwriters and composers are, in essence, small business people, who must invest in the tools of the trade that allow them to create music the world loves. They deserve to be fairly compensated when others benefit from the fruits of their labor and talent,” said Vincent Candilora, ASCAP Executive Vice President of Licensing. “It is both ASCAP’s right and responsibility to collect licensing fees from these venues in order to protect the livelihoods of our members.”

Any business using copyrighted music has the opportunity to obtain permission to do so lawfully, through acceptance of a license covering the use of the more than 8.5 million copyrighted songs and compositions in the ASCAP repertory. Nearly 90% of the license fees ASCAP collects are paid as royalties directly to songwriters, composers and music publishers. The balance covers ASCAP’s operating costs, which are among the lowest of any performance rights organization in the world.

“ASCAP only takes legal action as a last resort — after several attempts to provide the necessary permission have failed,” added Candilora. “Like a liquor license, establishments require a license to play copyrighted music. This is a basic cost of business recognized in hundreds of thousands of venues across the country. By filing these cases today, we hope to raise awareness among music users and the public that it is a Federal offense to perform copyrighted music without permission.”

Frequently Asked Questions about licensing can be found on ASCAP’s website at http://www.ascap.com/licensing/licensingfaq.html .

The establishments that have performed publicly the copyrighted musical works of ASCAP’s songwriter, composer and music publisher members without receiving their permission to do so, resulting in lost income for these music creators, include:

Establishment, City, State Anthony’s Lounge & Ristorante, Murrieta, CA Romeo Cucina, Laguna Beach, CA Smuggler’s Bay Restaurant, Fort Lauderdale, FL Younger’s Irish Tavern, Romeo, MI Coyote’s, Hillsboro, OR Bud’s Sports Bar, Chattanooga, TN Ixonia Pub, Ixonia, WI

About ASCAP Established in 1914, ASCAP is the first and leading U.S. Performing Rights Organization (PRO) representing the world’s largest repertory totaling over 8.5 million copyrighted musical works of every style and genre from more than 435,000 songwriter, composer and music publisher members. ASCAP has representation arrangements with similar foreign organizations so that the ASCAP repertory is represented in nearly every country around the world where copyright law exists. ASCAP protects the rights of its members and foreign affiliates by licensing the public performances of their copyrighted works and distributing royalties based upon surveyed performances. ASCAP is the only American PRO owned and governed by its writer and publisher members. For more information, please visit http://www.ascap.com .

        Press Contacts
        Tim Hayes
        (212) 621-8414

        Bobbi Marcus
        Bobbi Marcus PR & Events, Inc.
        (310) 889-9200


How Lessons from Van Halen can save you thousands.

So there I am getting my work done, looking for something to write about and BAM! There it is, the perfect video sharing a little about contracts and the importance of them by none other than one of Rock and Roll’s greatest showman and musical talent.

First, let me share a few thoughts about CONTRACTS. There you are a musician,composer, songwriter or an artist and you got some great things going on. You have been working your tail off pitching your music to all the right folks and been offered a contract! What to do? Most people that I have come across are so thrilled they do not take the time  to read completely thru the contract that was presented. They don’t even contemplate having a music attorney or any professional that has studied the legalese of written contracts to look at them.

I have been around a lot of contracts over the years both in sub contracting as a plumbing contractor and also as a composer and musician. Unfortunately, in this business as with any business you need to read the fine print. People may say one thing yet do another thing altogether different. So when offered a contract the best thing to do is read it thru and and understand it.

If you need to read it a bunch of times you need to read it a bunch of times. If you have access to a person who works in the legal profession or some one who has had dealings in the past with contracts that is someone with whom you should be speaking to about this and any other contract. Do not be afraid to admit to certain folks that you need help in understanding things. The first step in wisdom is the admittance that you do NOT know all things you are not omnipotent or omniscience.

I will share a bit more about this on my other blog or in another entry into this BLOG but I wanted to share with you as well this little tidbit of info from David Lee Roth of Van Halen. He tells a story about a certain incident concerning the candy  M&Ms and their Rider. For those of you who do not know what a “RIDER” is, it is basically a part of the contract stipulating what some request that the artist or band have as a pre requisite before performing and conditions for them to , with out the fulfillment of such a rider the contract CAN become useless and void. That is a discussion best suited for another time altogether.

Anyone familiar with rock and roll lore has undoubtedly heard the story of Van Halen’s classic tour rider. The rider stated that there could be no brown M&Ms in the backstage area, or the venue’s manager would forfeit all of the money from the show to the band.

Watch this little short, slightly humorous video and learn who sometimes these little RIDERS or sentences can mean the difference of a SMALL paycheck to a very LARGE BILL YOU OWE. They had the rider placed with in and it saved them from having to pay a lot of cash for something beyond their control.

Brown M&Ms from Van Halen on Vimeo.

I found this article at GUITAR WORLD from a blog posting written by Josh Hart . I thank him for this wonderful posting of the video clip. For it inspired me to share a little of the importance of reading your contracts. Guitar World .com is a great resource for musicians of all types and a source of learning about the music business.