A few years ago, after about 10 phone call attempts, I got in touch with a guy who was in charge of licensing the music for a major band. I wanted to purchase the rights for a single song to to play in the background on my wedding website. I was told that if my budget was below $15,000 he didn't have time to talk to me. Since my budget was around $100, our conversation ended quickly. It has always been practically impossible for individuals to purchase licenses for popular music... until now.
After I hung up the phone I was angry. The music industry wants us to pay for the rights of their music but then doesn't give us a reasonable way to do it. If I get paid a couple thousand dollars to shoot a wedding and then they want to charge me $15,000 to use the song once, for a slideshow that at best will be viewed 200 times, it simply doesn't add up. As photographers we understand copyrights and most of us want to do the right thing, but for years it just wasn't possible. Today I am proud to announce that this has all changed.
After WPPI in Vegas I got a call from Matt Thompson, the owner of Song Freedom. Matt told me that he had recently struck a deal with some major music labels and it would now be possible to legally license popular music for certain types of small projects. I was really excited by this news, but there are two small stipulations. At that point in time, these licenses were only good for 1 year. So if you made a wedding slideshow, for example, you would have to pull it down after 12 months. The other problem was that his service was subscription-based, meaning that you would have to buy 50 licenses up front. This would cause a problem for those people that many only want to use the service on a per-project basis.
A month ago Matt called me again and said, "Lee I have good news, the 1 year restriction is now gone and I have a per project price of just $25." At this point I knew that this service was a major game changer.
Song Freedom does not have every popular song, but there is one way to fix that. If we can all start licensing music legally more record labels will jump on board. Hopefully in the near future buying any song for commercial use will be as simple as an iTunes purchase.
Over the past few months Matt and I have become friends and I'm excited to say that Song Freedom will be an Fstoppers sponsor. I hope that each of you (especially the wedding photographers out there) will check out this fantastic new service.