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A Filmmaker's Guide to Music Licensing

A Filmmaker's Guide to Music Licensing

This article originally appeared on the Film Independent blog and has been republished with permission. Filmmakers often feel so attached to a song that it becomes a crucial and indispensable element to the story. A scene, or even an entire film, can revolve around a single piece of music. What many directors don't realize is that the process of clearing that song can be very difficult and expensive. Brooke Wentz, the music supervisor behind "Kings Point," "Bully" and "Bill Cunningham New York," cleared up some of the confusion and little-known realities of music licensing during a recent Film Independent education event. The most important thing to know is that there are two rights to every song. There is the person who wrote the song (who holds the publisher rights, a.k.a. sync rights) and the person who recorded it (who holds the master rights). To use this piece of

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