Insights Enhancing your advertising with music

If you want to connect your brand with a particular demographic, you’ll be familiar with the power of music to drive engagement.

Whether you aim to run your ad (or other production) on TV or a digital platform, as soon as you’re incorporating music into visual media, there are several rights to consider.

What rights are you talking about?

The rights in question are copyright in the recording, copyright in the underlying musical work and lyrics, performers’ rights, and moral rights.

Potential licensees should obtain a ‘master use’ licence for the sound recording (usually granted by the record label) and a ‘sync’ licence for the song, granted by the music publisher(s).

These licences allow for the incorporation of relevant elements of the music into your advertisement, as well as the right to create copies and to communicate the final advert incorporating the music to the public (e.g. via TV or an internet platform). These rights will be licensed under specific terms which will differ depending on the usage in question.

What rights are included in a master use licence?

It’s important to remember that this type of licence is granted for specific agreed uses which determine the fee payable. Having a clear idea of all aspects of your marketing campaign before contacting the relevant rightsholders is advisable, so you only pay for the rights you need.

Some rights may also be held back from the master use and publishing licences to be licensed instead to the channel or platform carrying the production by way of collective licensing, such as through PRS or PPL.

The nature of the withheld rights is largely dependent on industry practice, and varies depending on the type of production (e.g. a game; a film; an advert), the way it will be exploited (streaming; download; broadcast) and the type of right (musical work; recording).

The platform carrying your advert will expect an appropriate set of music clearances for the production and, if any are missing, it could result in the platform refusing to carry and distribute the ad.

What if we want to “upgrade” into a brand partnership with the artist?

When considering a marketing campaign, some advertisers explore the potential brand value that an artist could deliver beyond just the music.

If the artist’s personal appearance or endorsement is agreed, further rights will be required from the artist which could include the artist’s performer’s rights and moral rights as well as the right to use their name and likeness.

This article was first published as part of our “Expert insight on advertising, marketing & sponsorship” publication. Read insights on similar topics in the full publication here