“I really want [insert Top 40 song here] in my wedding video. Can you do that?”
Just like most wedding filmmakers, we get this question a lot. The answer is actually a bit complicated and we thought it deserved a little more of a complete treatment than we give it in our FAQ section. Wedding music is an important topic so we hope you can spare one or two minutes to consider our perspective on it.
The real answer to the above question is that any music selection is theoretically possible if you have the budget to pay for it. The more realistic answer is, in many cases, simply no. Here’s why:
First: Music is property. In order to use a song, you have to pay the owner a license fee. Generally speaking, the more popular the song is, the more expensive the fee will be. A Top 40 song will easily command a license fee to the tune of several thousand dollars. Given that we usually use a minimum of three songs in our films, the license fees could easily surpass the $10,000 mark. We’re not joking.
Second: Filmmaking is a holistic process and choosing music has to be done in the context of all the other storytelling pieces – footage, speeches, narration, etc. Sure, you may love when “I Gotta Feeling” comes on the radio, but in the grand scheme of your wedding film it may make no sense at all. It’s not a slideshow or a music video – it’s a film. We want you to trust us to make good storytelling decisions based on how well we have come to know you. And believe me, we get to know our clients very well.
Unfortunately, many high-profile professional wedding filmmakers out there are still using unlicensed (stolen) music. We’re not going to name names – they know who they are. Usually they surface after being slapped with a big lawsuit – like this videographer who settled a crippling five-figure case for copyright infringement.
We’re artists too, so we don’t want to steal other people’s creative work. Musicians put a lot of time and effort into producing their songs and they deserve to be compensated for creating something that everyone loves. So we have no problem paying for music licensing via websites like Song Freedom and The Music Bed. Our packages include all music licensing fees required to make a great film, so you don’t have to worry about it. But we think it’s very important for people to know that we play by the rules, because not everyone does.