View Full Version : Requesting a Music Clearance from a Record Label

The Norm
08-16-2011, 09:40 AM
Hi guys,
I'm currently trying to secure the rights for two songs from medium-sized independent US labels for a feature I'll be shooting later this year.

I've heard "festival rights" mentioned here and there, but did a search and couldn't find anything relevant. I'd be happy to accept festival rights for the songs I'm after, but am unsure how to word this in my enquiry.

Is it worth asking for broad rights initially and then asking for festival rights if my initial request is declined?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

08-16-2011, 10:05 AM
Festival rights were at one time a less expensive possibility for
filmmakers - the artist still has full control over how the song
is used so the publisher charges less. It's very restrictive to the
filmmaker. In the last ten years or so the astonishing boom in
festival submissions had made those rights less useful for
filmmakers. The artist can charge a little now and if your movie
does well on the festival cycle they can charge a lot more later.
It's a drag to have a popular, award winning movie you can't
show to anyone outside of a festival.

Before YouTube filmmakers had very few ways to show their
movies so these rights were viable. If you do get "festival" rights
that means you cannot show the movie anywhere except in an
established film/video festival.

I'd be happy to accept festival rights for the songs I'm after, but am unsure how to word this in my enquiry.
Something along the lines of:

"As a low budget producer I am interested in obtaining sync rights only for film/video festivals."

The Norm
08-17-2011, 10:15 PM
Thanks for the reply ... I am very keen on one of the songs so think it's worth getting the festival rights and taking it from there.

Are you aware of any "festival rights only" clearance forms?

Thanks again.

The Norm
09-17-2011, 09:39 PM
Just a follow up guys ...

Have been given permission from an independent record label to use some of their songs.

I'll be writing the release form up myself, keeping it as clear and unambiguous as possible.

Just two quick questions ...

The record label is the publisher, yes?

Should I have signiatures of the composer, publisher and myself on both of the sync and master licences?

Or just the singniatures of the composer on the master licence and publisher on the sync licence?

Thanks a lot ... As I'm sure you can tell don't really know what I'm doing with this stuff. The label doesn't have their own clearance process, so I'm really just trying to make it all as simple as possible.

09-17-2011, 10:27 PM
The record label is the publisher, yes?

One would think so, but a record label could be doing the work on behalf of another entity.

But yeah, a clearly worded contract and signatures from EVERYONE. Make sure a line indicating they're giving you permission to use the music for NO COMPENSATION is in the contract.

If you sneak this in, it'll be even better: The filmmaker is entitled to use the music in the film "x" and for all promotional purposes related to the marketing and selling of the film, as he sees fit.

Michael Allen
09-18-2011, 01:23 AM
The record company may own the actual recording but not the publishing. Since we are both in Australia I'll PM you my number. Give me a call and I'll be happy to answer some questions.