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Lets talk about music clearance


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#1 Film Idaho

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Posted 08 January 2006 - 04:57 PM

I want to use the Beatle's song ?With A Little Help From My Friends? in a short film discussed early on the forum. :lol: The clip would be the exact recording that was released on the CD. It would be used during the opening and a little bit into the film. One minute or less of the song. The rights desired are film festival only rights for one year.

What would be a rough estimate? I understand the Beatles were famous and this was a popular song so I guess the cost will be quite a bit, any guesses?

Thanks,

Alex M.
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#2 Gordon Highland

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Posted 08 January 2006 - 06:15 PM

It's completely negotiable. Contact the publisher, and they'll find out for you. In rare cases, artists (contacted directly, likely) who own their own have allowed usage for free if they believe strongly in the project. But it will likely be many thousands of dollars if they even allow it at all. Harry Fox Agency
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#3 Film Idaho

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Posted 08 January 2006 - 07:01 PM

I know that the Beatles don't own the music that they made. And it was one of their better hits. Maybe if I discuss every aspect of my film and how it will be used maybe I could get a good deal. Well it looks like Sony owns the rights good, it's not Michael Jackson. So the rights I would need to ask for would be a Mechanical License re "film festival viewing" rights of the song and that's it or are there more steps? Or wait is it a synchronization license? I just want the original song and put it in a film what the heck do I need to do?!

Any help would be much appreciated!

Alex M.

Edited by Film Idaho, 08 January 2006 - 07:09 PM.

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#4 Michael Ryan

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Posted 08 January 2006 - 07:10 PM

Hello Alex,

I think you should follow through because it will be a good experience for you, but the reality is that any Beatles song is going to be well beyond the budget of any small budget film.

But stranger things have happened, so give it a go!

Mike

Let us know the results.

Edited by Michael Ryan, 08 January 2006 - 07:11 PM.

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#5 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 08 January 2006 - 07:18 PM

Hi,

I have found music licencing to be an abominable nightmare from beginning to end, almost set up to ensure that everyone will risk it. Not that you should.

For anything I do, I tend to have stuff composed. It is cheaper, and less work.

Phil
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#6 Film Idaho

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Posted 08 January 2006 - 07:25 PM

Or wait do I need Sync license? I am totally lost this is not my area of expertise. Could someone tell me in detail what I need to do and what license is needed? I want it to be film festival only rights if that helps?

Thanks,

Alex M.
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#7 Gordon Highland

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Posted 08 January 2006 - 08:52 PM

To record the song onto the tape/film alongside your imagery, that is a synchronization license, not a mechanical one. It's also sticky, because even though it's theoretically just for festivals, what if as part of the festival application, you sign away permission to include your short on a compilation DVD or broadcast on IFC or whatnot? That is very common, but would likely be beyond any "festival only" negotiation you're attempting (and they probably know this). When you submit, the responsiblity to clear everything is yours (having a producer is nice for these kinds of undesirable tasks), or they won't accept it, or you'll either be disqualified or in potential legal trouble when it gets distributed later.

It's probably not worth it, and it's never a good idea to write with anything copyrighted in mind in the first place. The monetary value of the memories or emotions that a popular song conjures is high. Create your own new ones and have something written, even a knockoff version. Or find something royalty-free that has a similar feel. As we've said, talk to the publisher; it'll be good experience for you one way or the other.
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#8 Film Idaho

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Posted 08 January 2006 - 09:04 PM

So if I want to use the same recording of this song I just need to get film festival only synchronization rights? But do I need to go to Capital Records to have them approve the use of the song also? I think I can swing them with a sappy I'm a young independent director trying to break it in the biz speech.

Thanks,

Alex M.

Edited by Film Idaho, 08 January 2006 - 09:04 PM.

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#9 Gordon Highland

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Posted 08 January 2006 - 09:28 PM

It's this mysterious concept of "film festival only" rights I'm having problems with. I've never personally heard of such a thing (even though it gets mentioned a lot by hopeful filmmakers), that's why I was being vague. I guess you'd call that "exhibition" or something like that. The scale always slides based on things like size and location of audience, amount of music, and calendar length, so I suppose it could happen, I dunno. I've gotten deals on "one-time" broadcasts, as well as company-internal-only viewings.

Yes, there is also the issue of them providing you with (and charging you again for) a copy of the actual physical song to synchronize to your film. I believe the publisher makes these arrangements for you as well, but I think it is a separate deal, technically. You don't just import it from your personal CD. Again, just make the phone call; they'd be happy to help, because it's their job to try to get these songs placed (or not). This is all speculation on our part. Keep us posted.
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#10 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 09 January 2006 - 09:01 AM

You are really limiting the life of your film by using a piece of music that you only have the rights for one year and one territory. A short film can have a life of 2 years, if not 3 years on the festival circuit.

I know some people who have managed to do a deal for a year. However, unless the music really hits the mark, it often doesn't much extra to the film for the cost involved. I know one film where it ended up feeling like a scene from an Australian soap opera and wasn't worth the effort. The director felt the lyrics added something - they didn't.
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#11 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 09 January 2006 - 09:29 AM

If you want to use this song check out the Joe Cocker version, personally I think he does it better than The Beatles. Also, you may also find it easier to do a deal.

You should find a sample to listen to at Amazon.com
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#12 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 09 January 2006 - 03:31 PM

Hi,

I second the "Festival Rights" thing as being overly hopeful. I've never had anyone ask me for more information than how it was going to be distributed and how many people would see it, then come back with a figure. It's not like they have specific packages worked out.

Phil
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#13 Annie Wengenroth

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Posted 10 January 2006 - 09:14 PM

Why do you want to use this specific song? Would it really be a huge loss to the film if, instead, you used it as a temp track and got a composer to write something with a similar sound? I'm just curious.
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#14 David Sweetman

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Posted 10 January 2006 - 09:59 PM

Geez, what a headache...this is why I started scoring my own films. It doesn't hurt that many of my friends are musically inclined, and will help me get great-sounding stuff for free.

I feel original music is much more pleasing and effective, not to mention fun to make and produce. For me, it helps to make the movie more my own creation.

Furthermore, I feel that to include the work of the Beatles is to attempt to springboard of their popularity. I really don't like it when movies do that sort of thing. But if you can get it done, cheaply and legally, then go for it.
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#15 Keith Mottram

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Posted 11 January 2006 - 08:40 AM

actually i have known people to get festival only rights, the problem is that if it then gets picked up you have to renegotiate and if you cant then afford it you might then lose distribution (oh but that scene was made by that music etc etc). this is one of the reasons that festival only rights are not always expensive and sometimes free- the artist/ record company then have you over a barrel (a different example would be sampling, the Verve for example samples a string section from a rolling stones record, they failed to clear it properly and ended up handing over 80% of royalties to the rolling stones for a sample that none of the stones played on!). so if you do want to license music for a festival make sure you have a buyout price if it is picked up, so that you can then negotiate with distributers. beatles are a nightmare because there are huge legal issues with sonys and apple music's publishing rights.

keith
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#16 gregorscheer

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Posted 12 January 2006 - 01:30 AM

The only safe way is sing your own score or have friends play somethingof their or your own composition. If your films success relies on the fame of the beatles, It can't be so great. In the end you will have the satisfaction of having created something.
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