Should I license my song to a Commerical?

I have been speaking and teaching so much lately on how to GET YOUR MUSIC LICENSED; how to get that first call and begin to make money, that I wanted to take a very timely opportunity to blog about about what can happen to even the most accomplished band when you GET YOUR MUSIC LICENSED; Franz Ferdinand.

It was just reported yesterday is this Stereogum post that Sony US, via record Label Epic approved the MASTER rights to use the Franz Ferdinand song “Bite Hard” for a McDonald’s advertisement (it was unclear in the article if this was a TV and internet or soley an internet license). Alex Kapranos (@alkapranos), an accomplished foodie himself, was more than bitter about the match as you can see on his Twitter page.

Picture 18

I could not agree more with Alex, or with the writer of the Stereogum blog. I would be upset to see my music placed somewhere that I did not think represented my music, and yes it is a great way to fall out with your record label.

So let’s stop here and take count of the real issue at hand. The band’s rights. In a standard record contract or music publishing contract, a band signs away their rights to say yes or no to any potential license when they sign a contract. The Label owns the masters. The Music Publisher owns the music. Now, as a Music Supervisor I speak to many labels and music publishers that need to check with the artist before approving a synchronization license, and I have had many licenses refused by the band for artistic reasons.

The message here is, if you choose to sign with a label (and may I say there are still MANY great record labels out there) make sure that you maintain the right to refuse any synchronization use that you do not feel is in line with your band or your image.

Licensing your music is not selling out, but licensing it to the wrong company, for the wrong message, could damage you in the long run.

A good label will care about such matters and want to help you protect your image. But it is up to you  make sure that you have that right. Don’t give it up, or you could very well end up on Twitter having to air your anger and irritation, because you have no legal rights to the claim whatsoever.

When you become an artist the size of Franz Ferdinand and you can actually sell a good amount of records, you can make a stink and they will likely listen to your wishes, just make damn sure you don’t put yourself in that position. NO Record contract is worth giving up your rights as an artist to say no.

One Response to “Should I license my song to a Commerical?”

  1. Justin Moshkevich January 25, 2010 at 12:57 am #

    The interesting fact to me is that now it got to a point where labels know it compromises the artist’s image and are willing to sacrifice a long-run relationship with the client for a single license.

Leave a Reply:

Gravatar Image

© Sarah Gavigan