Music Licensing for Small Business Videographers

Antique Still Camera

The Music Bridge gets one to two dozen calls every week for the past 3-4 years from small business DVD videographers - weddings, yearbooks, personal remembrances, etc. - inquiring about obtaining audio-visual licenses for well-known, popular songs and recordings for these small "one-off" projects

Unfortunately, these type of one-off licenses using popular music for home based non-corporate audio-visual businesses and projects are, in our opinion and experience, difficult to obtain from the major record labels and music publishers and, even if granted, usually prove to be cost-prohibitive.

Our explanation of the reasons are that most major and major independent licensing departments have minimum licensing fee requirements and also have to contractually gain the approval from artist management and/or songwriters for third party licensing requests, and thus do not want to do this for a small projects.

Further, as its pointed out to us weekly, we cannot comment on the fact that you see so many others using popular music for these small home-based businesses, as it would appear that its being done illegally, and they certainly are not our clients.  All we can do is tell you what our experiences are and point you in the right direction.

We would suggest that you contact a reputable music production library such as,,,,  These are companies with great sounding recordings for which they usually control both master rights and publishing rights.   These are not the popular hits by famous artists however, but rates will be significantly lower than major publisher and label fees, and blanket deals are sometime available.

Also, look for independent, unsigned artists, composers and songwriters online - many would probably love to participate in your projects!

If you indeed, now or in the future, acquire a corporate client that is in need of media rights such as corporate dvd/video for internal use, trade shows, internet/intranet postings, sales meetings, new customer promo, or retail sales with a minimum of 2500 units advance, and has a budget at least in the low thousands, then please don't hesitate to give us a call.  That we can help you with!

Meantime, much success with your business.

Kindest regards,

David Powell, President