The short answer is probably no. But today we’re tackling an important question anyway: what should you do if you want to include a copyrighted song in your wedding film?
Music is a powerful way to set the tone of your video, but navigating copyrights can be tricky. Let’s dive in and demystify this process.
Understanding Copyright Laws
Before we delve into solutions, it’s vital to understand copyright laws. In essence, copyright law protects the original work of creators. That means songs are legally owned by the songwriter, performer, or music publisher.
Using a copyrighted song without permission is illegal and can lead to significant legal penalties. While it may seem harmless to use a song for your personal wedding video, the law doesn’t differentiate between personal and commercial use.
Obtaining Music Licenses
So, how can you legally use a copyrighted song? The answer lies in obtaining a music license. The type of license you need depends on how you plan to use the song.
For a wedding film, you typically need synchronization (or “sync”) licenses, which allow you to “sync” music with video. You’ll need to contact the copyright holder or their representative (like a music publisher or licensing agency) to request this.
From our end- we absolutely refuse to use copyrighted music unless the couple pays the licensing fee associated with it. If you want to use something you could hear on the radio- say, a Taylor Swift song, you can expect those licensing fees to be upwards of $10,000.
Hey- don’t shoot the messenger.
Considering Royalty-Free Music
Obtaining licenses can be time-consuming and expensive, especially if you’re aiming for a popular song. An alternative is to consider royalty-free music. There are many online platforms that offer high-quality, royalty-free tracks that are pre-licensed for use in projects like wedding films.
While these may not be your favorite hit songs, you’d be surprised by the range and quality of music available. Plus, the right track can evoke the same emotions and enhance your video just as effectively.
Hiring a Professional Videographer
Another way to navigate this challenge is by hiring a professional wedding videographer. Experienced videographers have the knowledge to handle music licensing and often have access to licensed music libraries.
Sharing your vision and music preferences with your videographer will help them choose a suitable track for your wedding film, keeping it legal and stress-free for you.
Now, don’t take this to mean we have access to the aforementioned T-Swift. It means there are midlevel musicians who are official artists, but who make their money through websites like MusicBed. We pay a pretty hefty yearly cost to have access to these libraries.
Generally, our couples like for us to select the music for them. This turns out better for a lot of reasons- not the least of which is the fact that your wedding video is going to be synced to a certain beat per minute (BPM). Letting us decide this for you results in a better film overall as we carefully match the pacing.
In conclusion, including a copyrighted song in your wedding film requires careful consideration of copyright laws, obtaining necessary licenses, or exploring alternatives like royalty-free music and certainly hiring a professional videographer. Navigating this process might seem daunting, but the result can be a perfectly personalized wedding film with a soundtrack to match.