Music Copyrights

Jul 27, 2008
62
0
Geneva, Ohio
Hello theory11

I was curious on the guidelines with using music for your magic routines. Are you allowed to use any music you want as long as you credit it at the end of the show? Would I need to make my own music, and how would I go about doing that? What about royalty free music?
 
Sep 1, 2007
3,786
15
What you really want is to talk to an expert in copyright law.

Royalties-free music requires a one-time fee typically, which can be anywhere from a few bucks to 3 or 4 figures.

Music under the Creative Commons License is easier to get, but only for non-commercial purposes. If you're planning to sell tickets to your show and play this music during the act, then you'll need to work out a deal with the copyright holder.

For non-commercial projects with music that has a more traditional copyright, you can use... I believe it was 30 seconds, but don't quote me on that, of any song and it falls under fair use. On reflection, probably less than that. To use the full song, you have to talk to the label. I talked to a filmmaker back in 2004 who was upset that a song he really wanted for diagetic music in a scene in the climax was going at $650 for a single use. And it wasn't a particularly popular song, either.
 
Apr 17, 2013
886
4
You need to pay an ASCAP and BMI fee for music you use in a commercial setting that is covered by those two groups. That is about 99.99% of music. There are some artist who put their music out as royalty free and creative commons. Use to be you could be covered by the licence of the venue, but with the way the change those laws you would really need to check. Do a google for BMI and ASCAP. Now that is for the US. There is a EU version of ASCAP and a Canadian version as well.
 

CalvinTan

Elite Member
ASCAP and BMI for the US, and SOCAN for Canada.

I deal with this on a daily basis. I work for a company that provides our customers with a license ASCAP, BMI, and SOCAN so they don't have to worry about obtaining and paying for one. I used to work for Universal Records, now I work as a recording engineer/music programmer.

If you plan on performing using music from popular artists, they are most likely not royalty free music, and therefore you should technically have to pay ASCAP or BMI for the right to use it for commercial use (use while performing in public, or private).

Even if you have a license from ASCAP or BMI, it still doesn't give you the right to alter the song in anyway (editing). I know some performers out there edit they're music to fit their act, which is technically they need to get other permissions and rights, which can get pretty complicated as the Record label owns the rights to the recording, while the artist owns the rights to the composition.

Most venues SHOULD have a license to these organizations, such as bars or coffee shops if they have live music. I work in the music industry, and have heard of ASCAP and BMI sending letters to bars that advertise live music saying they need to pay for a license. They started cracking down on this a few years ago. If they do, and you perform there, you should be covered, but I wouldn't bet on it, since a lot of places still get away with not having one. Technically the live band or DJ should have a license, however, it's easier for them to go after the venue since they are the ones hiring such performers, and easier to track. A lot of people think, what's the big deal, I can play the radio in my store, after all, anyone can turn on the radio and hear the music for free. But all that is wrong, and they do need to pay if they want to even play the radio.

Basically the rule is, if you're playing music that is not royalty free, such as the radio, ipod, cd, etc, for or in your business, you have to pay ASCAP or BMI.

Now aside from all the technical talk, I think you'll be fine getting away with it. ASCAP and BMI will most likely not go after you if you plan on using it in your performances because they're not going to know (if you're doing private or even public shows). Just don't do it on TV and they won't know.
 
Jul 27, 2008
62
0
Geneva, Ohio
Basically the rule is, if you're playing music that is not royalty free, such as the radio, ipod, cd, etc, for or in your business, you have to pay ASCAP or BMI.

So, if I just use royalty free music, I should be good to go as long as I'm not broad casting on media, like youtube?
 

CalvinTan

Elite Member
So, if I just use royalty free music, I should be good to go as long as I'm not broad casting on media, like youtube?

You should be good with royalty free music on any kind of media, including live performances. The only thing I would double check on is if you need to mention or credit the artist/song. In some cases of royalty free music, they want you to mention them since they're letting you use their music for free.

You can get away with music on YouTube that is not royalty free these days. A couple years ago, it would have been removed, but after a losing battle with the Internet community, YouTube and the record companies realized they can't stop or even regulate everyone that posts videos using music without a license for them. So what they did was use software to analyze whatever music you have on your YouTube video, and post a "Buy" icon link to buy the track from Amazon, GooglePlay, and iTunes.

So basically:

- You're good to go with royalty free music for whatever you want
- If you want to use non-royalty free music, you're only good to use it on YouTube, but not anywhere else
 
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