Music is such an important part of a wedding film. It is often seen as a form of self expression and allows you to have a more emotional connection with what you are viewing. When a couple comes to us and has a vision of there wedding film we are often asked, “Can we use our favorite song?”. The answer to that depends on the song. We love to accommodate all of our couples, however if it is a popular song the answer is unlikely. The licensing fees for most popular songs are expensive, and often difficult to obtain.
The thought in the past was that it was no big deal. Everyone uses unlicensed music in their wedding films, and the recording industry isn’t going to do anything about it. Recently however the music industry has been quick to crack down. Joe Simon of Joe Simon Films found out the hard way, when he was hit with a law suit in the sum of $150,000. (Read more about it here)
We admit that in the past we too have used copyrighted music in our videos and figured it would be fine, until we were contacted by a recording artist demanding residuals. In the end we worked it out with the artist, but after that experience decided to change our music policy. Will we loose some couples that are dead set on using a certain song? Possibly, but ultimately it is not only the right thing to do for our business (so that we don’t have to pay $150,000), it is just simply the right thing to do. We are actually glad it happened, because it has pushed us into the right direction and made us a better business. Artists deserve to be compensated for their work, and just because they are successful doesn’t give us the right to steal it.
As we have begun searching for licensed music amongst unknown artists, we have been surprised just how much talent is out there. It really has made our work that much more original. In the end though it’s up to you. Do you want your wedding highlight to be timeless and unique or do you want your wedding video to be the same as the 1000 other wedding videos out there?