7-Myths-on-Legally-Licensing-Music

“There have been about 12 lawsuits in the last 9 months for photographerss using unlicensed music [in their videos]”

 –  Lee Morris, Fstoppers.com

As photographers, when it comes to using music in our videos, it can be very tempting to just use a song without first going through the proper steps of obtaining a license. After all, it’s only for a Youtube video right? Or maybe a slide show for a wedding maybe?

In either cases, you do have to obtain a specific license called a “synch license”. Lee Morris from Fstoppers.com and Matt Thompson from SongFreedom.com published an excellent article called 7 Misconceptions About Licensing Music Legally Vs. Stealing that helps explains why you need a synch license, as well as the truths and myths of licensing music.

The first point really nails it, I think. They state that when the music is playing in the background of our website, playing in our studio during a client’s visit, or playing in our videos for our clients, we are ultimately benefiting from the musician’s work. If you think about it, the music we use does go towards our bottom line.

And that’s why we should license music legally, and that’s why sites like SongFreedom.com is a great resource for integrating music to our products without breaking the bank.


Here are the 7 misconceptions that Lee and Matt talk about:

  • Personal Use vs. Commercial Use – “As long as it’s just for a single client for their “personal use” then it’s not a commercial use of the song.”
  • “If I have a license from ASCAP and BMI then I’m covered for using the music.”
  • “Artists just want to get their music out there and the labels are just being greedy and are making things difficult.”
  • “I can use whatever I want as long as I acknowledge the artist or other rights owners.”
  • “I’m really doing the artist and everyone else a favor by including their music in my video since it helps get their music out there.”
  • “These labels have billions of dollars so they don’t really need the money. And I’ve heard that the artist doesn’t even get that big of a percentage so I really don’t like the labels anyway.”
  • “Using music illegally is really just like speeding on the highway. It only matters if you get caught and they will only pull you over if you’re going faster than everyone else (your videos are getting a ton of views).”



To learn more, take a look at Fstopper’s article on 7 Misconceptions About Licensing Music Legally Vs. Stealing