I receive many inquiries about the use of music (pre-existing) in audiovisual projects. I think that with so much independent producer in the making and so little culture to consider the music that one wants to include in an audiovisual work as an important cost that must be previously planned, it is worthwhile to make some basic precisions.
For the inclusion of music in an audiovisual of any kind (whatever the number of chords or whatever the type of use, as long as it is identifiable or audible on the screen), the audiovisual producer must obtain two authorizations, which they know, both, as Synchronization Licenses:
The first is that of musical works that have been interpreted or whose previous recordings are used in the audiovisual. The owner of the right is usually a publisher (Publisher in English); if there is no publisher, it will be an author or several; if the author no longer lives, an heir or several. It can also be negotiated with a copyright entity (such as SGAE or ACDAM) that represents the owner (s), but is not mandatory through these companies, as it is for other types of use.
Here the key word to take into account is HOLDER (copyright). Who holds that ownership or represents who holds it, who will sign the License Synchronization of the work.
The second license is that of interpretations, or -if the ones that you use have been previously recorded- those of the recordings of said interpretations. Therefore, in this case, the producer will obtain authorization from:
The interpreter (if he has acted or executed directly the interpretation for the film, that is, if it has not been taken from a previous recording). In the event that the interpreter also acts in the film (and not only records audio for it) it is good that the contract also includes a cession of the image right.
In the event that the music used is taken from a track audio or a fragment of previously recorded video, the license to use it (include it, synchronize it) will have to be given by the producer of the phonogram or videogram. This is simply the owner of the audio or video matrix, it can be a record company, a film or TV producer, the same artist or anyone who has financed the previous recording and obtained the corresponding ownership.
Once the roles and types of contract between the producers of the audiovisual and the holders of copyright on music and interpretation or recording have been clarified, the negotiation and definition of the amounts to be paid for synchronization licenses is something that must be negotiated the parties and, in general, depends on multiple variables:
- Prestige of the author or performer and the musical work that is intended to be included. Using a work / interpretation (or fragment) by an unknown author or interpreter will certainly not cost the same as that of a consecrated person.
- Type of use within the audiovisual. For example, it will not be the same if they are a few seconds as background music of a scene or if it is a work that accompanies audiovisual credits.
- Type of audiovisual: Rates usually vary if they are feature films or fiction series, documentaries, short films, etc.
- Budget of the film: The price of the synchronization license will not be the same if it is a mega production of a large company, if it is the end-of-course work of a film student.
As I said at the beginning, these are basic questions about a complex issue. If you have any doubts, write to me [email protected], and I'll gladly answer you, if I know the answer.