So a while back I had this idea. After every festival I’d see dancers disappointed that their videos got removed from Facebook or muted on YouTube because they were using copyrighted music by big stars like Lady Gaga or Michael Jackson. It gave me this desire to highlight the musicians within and connected to our community who actually like belly dancers to use their music. I figured I’d reach out to a few musicians I knew, get a paragraph or two from each one, compile it into a post. I started with Solace, after I saw Jeremiah’s wife Lindsey posting about how they enforce copyright on YouTube. What I got back was enough for a blog post on its own, so please read on for a bit about music rights and copyright from one of Tribal Fusion’s favorite musicians!
Thank you for asking me to contribute to your blog about music licensing. As you may know the music business has changed a lot, which has impacted independent artists in negative ways. We have gone from selling CDs with a decent profit margin that allowed us an income to be able to support ourselves while creating. Over the years music has moved from CDs, to downloads of individual songs which reduced the profit margin significantly. Now that streaming is the main way most people listen to music independent artists make even less money-fractions of pennies per stream instead of selling a CD. This leaves music licensing as an important part of a musician’s revenue.
For several years now I have openly given permission for dancers to use my music for live performance without a license within reason. Technically, any live performance in public to an artist’s music requires a license. However, I appreciate the artistic expression of dancers and this is my way of giving back to a community that has also supported me.
Believe it or not all performances uploaded to YouTube also legally require a license. Once a performance has been recorded it is legally considered a “film” and a musician is legally entitled to both licensing fees for the film plus residuals for each time the video is played. I also do not require dancers or performance artists to obtain a license for these types of videos uploaded to YouTube. This required license is separate from what YouTube calls “monetization” and is separate from the notice you may receive that an artist has claimed the copyright on their song on your YouTube video. This means the artist is collecting their residuals, but a separate license would still legally be required.
Again, I do not require a license for this casual use.
When an individual wants to use my music in a project that is for profit or commercial use, that is when I do require a contract and license. For example, if a dancer uses my music for a promo reel he or she uses to promote their business, a license is required. If an event promoter uses Solace music as a background for a montage they create as a way to promote their event, a license is required. If a teacher uses my music to create an instructional video or DVD they are going to sell, a license is required. If my music is used for any purpose in a television show, film, commercial, documentary or video game a contract and license is required.
In these examples where a license is purchased the artist is still entitled to residuals for each time the video is played online or the commercial or film is shown. It is confusing and I encourage any performer with questions or concerns to reach out. We try and respond as quickly as possible. We have a standard contract and very fair licensing fees. We hate taking down videos when they are in violation of the copyright laws but occasionally we have had to do this if people won’t be fair and cooperate with us.
You might also be surprised to know that the videos that are taken at events and sold to dancers legally also require a license with the musician, as these are considered for profit videos. I can’t think of a time that somebody has offered to purchase a license for this use, but it’s just an example of how often licenses are legally required but not enforced and musical artists lose out on an income source that they are legally entitled to.
As we mentioned income streams for musicians have shrank dramatically in the past few years and licensing fees are one of the few ways left that an artist can make a comfortable living on their intellectual property. We really appreciate you reaching out to include us in the blog and all of the people we have worked with through the years to license Solace music. For dancers that want to use Solace music to perform and create to, please do, and please upload the videos to YouTube and enjoy. If you want to support your favorite independent artists even more, listen to and share our music on Spotify and Pandora, create Spotify playlists you share with your friends that include our music. When you download our music and enjoy it give it a good review on iTunes, Amazon or CD Baby. Follow our accounts on social media like Facebook and Instagram, get in touch with us with questions or to license a song and most of all keep creating.
-Jeremiah & Lindsey Soto
Ok, it’s Sophia again! I really want to thank Jeremiah and Lindsey for giving us this insight into the current state of the music world, especially for independent musicians. I think it’s so important for dancers to work with artists like Solace, who understand the reality of the belly dance world (which is to say that we are also not getting paid a lot!).
I hope you’ll keep this post in mind, make a bigger effort to purchase music from independent artists, and remember to purchase the proper license for your large professional projects!
Stay tuned for future installments of this series. And if you or someone you know is in a band that loves to work with belly dancers, please reach out to me. I’d love to feature you.
Thank you to my Patreon supporters who made this bonus blog possible!