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Music Licensing for Video

No matter which way you look at it, video on social media is booming. It’s everywhere; YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and it’s clear that video has had a direct influence over engagement rates. Facebook users alone watch over 100 million hours of video every day and 72% of us would prefer to watch a video when learning about something new than read about it (thank you to the 28% who are reading this…). But we don’t want to focus on the importance of video in your social media strategy, just one important part of it; the music.

Music plays an pivotal role in your video marketing campaign and is vital when communicating your brand voice to your viewers. Music should be valued just as highly as the visuals, the speech or sound. Imagine watching a movie like ‘Black Panther’ if there was no Kendrick Lamar curated soundtrack or orchestral score. Even silent movies have a musicals core to help communicate and elevate the energy of the story to the audience.

The most important thing to remember is that not all music is free to use. Just as we all know that it’s illegal to pirate movies or TV shows, it’s an typically an infringement upon the copyright of the piece if the artist or owner of the music is not acknowledged or compensated. Using a track without proper permission can result in lawsuits or hefty fines, especially if the content is being used to generate sales.

When it comes to using music in a project, it’s good to be aware of the resources (and legalities) associated with licensing music. The music licensing business is huge and it remains one of the main ways that musicians can actually make money from their art today. When their music is licensed for marketing, advertising, or for the screen then they’re paid a fee or royalties over time, depending on the usage agreement. It’s not unheard of for the track of a popular artist to be licensed for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

But for the humble creator, those costs are definitely out of the question and using royalty-free, created by real artists is a great option. There’s a whole host of websites out there devoted to making the licensing process super easy. Sites like Musicbed, Pond 5, and Audio Jungle all have a database full of music created by artists with complete meta data that allows you to search through the list by genre, artist, tempo, and even feeling. Plus you can purchase the rights to the music at very reasonable rates.

Copyright does have an expiry date and some older pieces may have fallen to the public domain, making those tracks free to use. Free Music Archive has a great database of this music in the public domain. Sometimes artists make their music available for people to download and use in their projects also. Again, Free Music Archive or YouTube Audio Library make the artists tracks easily available in their database and are usually free to use with certain conditions, usually an on-screen credit to the artist.

So these are the basics. Of course it’d be amazing if we could all freely use the most popular music of the minute to help us promote our brand or product but that’s just not the way the system works. But that doesn’t mean your projects have to suffer from stock music syndrome, there’s a tonne of great, reasonably priced or even free music, created by real artists to use and help elevate your video game.

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