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Licensing music for audiovisual works requires a synchronization license (a license to synchronize music with an audiovisual work, such as a TV advertisement, television show, or a DVD). There is not a central organization for clearing synchronization licenses, as there is for mechanical licenses (Harry Fox stopped doing synchronization licensing in 2002) or performances (e.g., ASCAP, BMI, SESAC). Rumblefish offers a few synchronization licenses, but not for classic pop songs. Synchronization licenses generally have to be negotiated separately and directly with the music publisher and, if you are using a specific recording, the recording company.

To locate the publishers of the songs, you can search the ASCAP, BMI or SESAC websites. Identifying the owners of the recordings after multiple sales and transfers of recording catalogs might be more difficult. You can search copyright registrations and transfers at (

Synchronization licenses are not cheap, so budget accordingly.

Subjects: Film & Video
  • Last Updated: May 21, 2024 9:04 AM
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