Live streaming is here to stay – Media, Telecom, IT, Entertainment
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In the wake of the pandemic, livestreaming of music is booming and it’s unlikely to die down even after in-person concerts come back in full force. Brands and agencies looking to use this hard-hitting marketing tool will need to understand the basics of music licensing before getting involved.
The following questions and answers provide information on what marketers should consider regarding music licensing for live streams before they dive in.
Q: We would like to hire a band, singer or rapper to do a live stream to promote our brand/products. We already have a talent deal with the performer, so do we still have to worry about music licensing?
A: Yes, your talent contract will likely require the talent to perform and grant you rights to the talent’s name, image and likeness.
Even if the performer wrote all the songs to be performed, the talent contract probably won’t include the rights to:
- Use these songs;
- “Publicly perform” these songs; or
- Use any existing sound recordings that can be used in the performance.
Q: Our products will not be featured in the live stream and we will not have any signage. Do we still need to worry about music licensing?
A: Yes, if you plan to promote the live stream on social media (or elsewhere), you need to make sure the music is properly licensed. The commercial association between your brand and the songs may be enough to trigger the need for music licensing.
Q: We want to use clips of the artist performing the songs on social media to promote the next livestream and then, once it’s finished, to promote that it happened. What licenses do we need?
A: It’s important to understand that using recorded clips of the artist performing songs live will likely require the same licenses that you would need if you were using a song in a traditional TV, radio or digital commercial.
This means that you will need to obtain a synchronization (synch) license allowing you to use the musical composition (the lyrics and the music), and you may need a license from a record company for use. actual newly created master recordings from the live performance, in the event that the artist is party to an exclusive recording agreement. Even if you paid for the production of the live event and paid the artist for the performance, you still need to consider those synchro and master recording licenses. Additionally, if an artist wishes to use pre-recorded music in their live performances, additional third-party licenses may be required.
Q: We don’t want to use recorded clips in the promo, but we want to replay the entire live stream and leave it for a while. Do we still need to consider getting sync and master recording licenses?
A: Yes, you should always consider synchro and master recording licenses in these circumstances.
Q: We want to tape our live stream in advance for production reasons, but otherwise it will appear live. We will only play it once and will not use any recorded clips for promotion. Do we still need to worry about music licensing?
A: Yes, in these circumstances you may still need to consider synchronized and master recording licenses.
Q: Our live stream will be truly live — not recorded in advance — and we will not replay it or use recorded clips in marketing before or after the event. Do we still need to worry about music licensing?
A: Yes, you will still need to consider public performance licenses, which allow you to publicly “perform” musical compositions live. The livestreaming platform may not have a license in place, so you may need to obtain a “one-time” license from performing rights organizations such as the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers ( ASCAP) and Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI).
“It’s important to understand that using recorded clips of the artist performing songs live will likely require the same licenses that you would need if you were using a song in a traditional television, radio or digital commercial.”
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide on the subject. Specialist advice should be sought regarding your particular situation.
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