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in Filmmaking
on Dec 29, 2005


Filmmakers looking to score quick tunes from up-and-coming bands for their indie flick often don’t understand the realities of licensing pre-recorded music and wonder why their producers can’t clear a song on the fly. Here, then, is some straight talk from Sub Pop Records, the label that spawned Nirvana and which has a handy $500 festival rights quote but also plenty of provisos that filmmakers need to follow:

“A sync license for a Sub Pop artist will run you $500, half of which goes to Publishing, the other half of which goes to Sub Pop. If you do not want to pay money to use the music then why are you here anyway? Trust me, people, this is cheap. AND, you like this band, right? So now all of the sudden you’re going to try to take food off their tables by trying to bargain with me?! It ain’t gonna happen. Just so we’re very clear here: this is a festivals, student film or non-commercial license only. Any “for profit” uses of the film are not authorized under the $500 license. That, my friend, is an entirely different lecture…

So, in summary, to acquire a license for a Sub Pop artist, excluding The Postal Service, The Shins, or Nirvana, which you aren’t going to get, you will need $500 and at least 6-8 weeks. We do not have the time or patience to bargain with you, so if this doesn’t suit your needs you might want to consider your back-up plan. What, you don’t have a back-up plan? You’re never going to make it in this business.”

If you still want a Sub Pop song in your movie, click to the link above which contains a downloadable PDF application form.

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