A common subject amongst the small, independent video world (including wedding filmmakers) is the topic of music in projects. Mainly, what music can I or should I use in my projects? As an independent business person, but also as a creative I want to make the best possible film I can, but I also don’t want to be a criminal. I want to use music with etiquette…
My perspective is a little different because I’ve got one foot firmly planted in the music world (as a musician) and one in the video world (as a filmmaker). Here’s a few things I want to say up front:
1) Creative people should be compensated for their work by people that enjoy their work
2) Lots of great musicians are barely making anything and want all the exposure they can get
3) I want to share things that I enjoy with people I enjoy
From the perspective of a wedding filmmaker I’m not terribly concerned with the legalities of using copyrighted music in my films, because
a) they will primarily be watched at home by the couple that hires me
b) I go out of my way to purchase that music (and maybe plus some) to make sure the artist receives some compensation
c) I’m going to include a copy of the soundtrack on a CD with the artists and track info clearly included so the couple can know what that great song is in their film, and possibly even become fans of that artist. If I’m putting a song in a wedding film its because I genuinely enjoy it and would love it if my clients went out and bought more of that artist.
Using an artist’s song to complete a wedding film seems like it should be worth more than a dollar or ten. Because it is. Unfortunately standard licensing of music is waaaay too expensive for this type of project, and frankly unnecessary (speaking as both a musician and filmmaker). The little wedding filmmakers like me haven’t had a good system in place to compensate musicians for using their music on a small scale. Even though we want to! And the little musicians like me haven’t had a good system in place for filmmakers to compensate me for using my music in their films. Even though I want them to use it!
I discovered With Etiquette courtesy of my twitter feed and it looks like a great solution for this problem. They’re a go between for small indie artists and wedding filmmakers. Its brand new so I’m sure things will evolve, but its great to see someone stepping in and filling this niche. Musicians get compensated properly and the licenses are affordable for smaller indie filmmakers.
The catalog of artists at With Etiquette is still small, but contains some very nice musicians like Amy Seeley (great name) and Zachary Lucky. The With Etiquette crew let me know via email that they’re looking to expand their offerings in the near future which makes me excited both as a musician and a filmmaker. My hat’s off to them (if I had one) and I selfishly hope that they succeed.
PS In the spirit of sharing great music here’s a few of my current favs…