Cheap Music For Your Videos

- - copyright

A lot of photographers are making videos now. Many of the videos I see and get sent are using copyrighted music which clearly has not been licensed, which is lame. When I saw this new service called Friendly Music that is looking to “reduce the inefficiencies of the music licensing business” I thought I’d highlight it for everyone. Now, for $1.99 you can buy a non-commercial license to go on your BTS and test videos and continue to live by the Golden Rule.

Friendly Music lets you upload your videos to YouTube or other websites without having to worry about whether they’ll be muted or taken down because of the music they contain. Friendly Music gives you over 30,000 copyright-cleared songs to choose from by artists from all over the world.


There Are 28 Comments On This Article.

  1. You must not use a non-commercial license for a BTS video! That is a commercial use. “Commercial” does not only mean “I’m selling it”–it also means (usually) something you are using for your marketing. If it is connected to your business, it is a commercial use!

  2. I’d just like second what Leslie said.

    If you’re making a bts video, or a promo video of any kind, related to your profesionnal photography–you CANNOT use music with a non-commercial licence. This applies to “Creative Commons NC” music, as well a friendlymusic.

  3. From the website in question:

    “What does “non-commercial purposes” mean?
    It means that if you are being paid to make your video, or are charging people to watch your video, or if you are getting revenue from advertising or other sources (other than UGC Network ad share revenue on the video portion of your production) when people watch your video then you have to contact us to negotiate an additional license fee.”

    • @Andrew Webb,
      Agree with that and think you’re right. In fact for some reason my initial post didn’t go through this afternoon, but I posed a question to @Leslie…
      What does commercial use mean then?

      I have used Moby and others and have cited full well in my application for non-commercial usage what I’d be doing. They approved and granted usage.

      To be honest a BTS video is not being paid to be watched or for the most part does not have an advertising note to it (unless you’re Chase Jarvis).
      It does show your capabilities and what you’re like to work with but in my opinion, does not constitute a full on “Commercial” use.

      I know that you could argue that “…well you’re advertising your business.” But to be honest a large contingent of the viewers of the BTS videos are other photogs themselves (me included). So full on “commercial” targeting of clients is not likely acheived…

      Show us the way @Leslie …I know you’ve got some case law to site ;)


  4. Instead of using copyrighted music, why don’t you start networking with local bands in your area? Do a shoot for them in return for using music in your videos. Both parties win, it’s cross-promotion!

    Hope this advice helps people out.

    • @Calvin Wallace,
      This is something we’ve been doing here in Brazil, and it’s great!
      Everybody is happy: the band is getting it’s music played around the networks, they have a very high quality video to publicize their work, and we get very good quality music for our videos. And more: when we are called to make nice commercial videos, we can call the band and pay them quite well..

  5. The problem with the term “commercial” is that there is no one definition. By extension, same goes for “non-commercial.” When a claim of infringement (use beyond the license) ends up in the courts, this issue is always debated. But, sadly, there are no b/w legal definitions as far as I know. REmember, I am not a lawyer yet, however.

    My licensing law professor did bother to tell the class that promotional use, including self-promotional use, was definitely commercial in her experience and she had practiced in Silicon Valley before teaching at my law school.

    Think about it as if you were providing the license in question–that is, if someone came to you to use one of your images to promote their business, would you consider it commercial? I think most of you would answer “yes” and charge accordingly.

    Now, there is no reason to be afraid of licensing for your commercial use–you won’t be charged the same rates as Nike because, get this, music license prices are based on extent and value–just like a photography usage license!

  6. So is everyone getting commercial releases from anyone appearing in the BTS videos. “Commercial” definitions seem to changed based on whom is doing the defining.

    • You should get a release regardless of commercial/non-commercial use. That differentiation often is of little consequence when it comes to releases.

      Best practice is to get releases from everyone always. WHen you can’t do that, get as many as you can and try not to show those you don’t get released.

      As in all things, it’s ultimately up to the person in the image/vid to decide if s/he wants to try and sue so a photog can gamble and play without a net, er, release, but why run the risk when most people will sign a release without a second thought?

      • @Leslie Burns, Ok, so probably the better question is are you paying people in the video for commercial use?

        • Most of the people in the vid will use it for their own promotion too–stylists, assistants, even talent and clients. Additional payment won’t likely be an issue.

  7. You might also try (, an innovative new online marketplace for royalty-free music. The production music library has thousands of tracks of affordable, high-quality royalty-free production music suitable for film, video, TV, radio, website, background music, on hold music and other business music applications. New music is being added every day. offers four purchase options– Single Tracks, CDs, Subscriptions and our Internet Music Stream. I am the co-founder.

  8. As I start to make videos I’m starting to grapple with this.

    I’m wondering where Apple & iTunes/iMovie/iLife/Aperture fit into this? IOW, Apple actively encourages the use of one’s iTunes catalog as soundtracks for video projects in iMovie and Aperture (slideshows.) Are they doing this against the wishes of the music industry even though they’ve negotiated the contracts with them regarding selling, downloading, and allowed uses of the music? Additionally, they have features to share your movies online (e.g. MobileMe, You Tube, etc.)

    Where does it cross the line? I made a short movie on my iPhone in the iMovie app, added a soundtrack from music on my iPhone – all using features of the software (and following examples set by the author of the software.) I can now use the last feature to publish what I made.

    Does it cross the line from the get-go because I am a professional photographer? Does it not cross the line if I post the movie on MobileMe or YouTube but does cross the line if I put it on my blog or my web site?

    Similarly, I made a video slideshow for a family party in Aperture. I added music from my iTunes library, a feature built-in to Aperture. I show the video at the party. Is that alright but no longer alright if I then put it on my blog?

    I’m not looking to get out of paying royalties but just trying to wrap my head around a situation where I’m being sold music and encouraged to use it as the “soundtrack”. If I’m not selling the videos I’m making, and they end up on a web site that is not supported by advertisers or subscribers – how different is it to publish them on MobileMe than on my blog? And does that keep me within the limits of whatever Apple worked out with the music industry?

    Put another way – are there already some fair uses granted if the music is purchases through certain outlets (e.g. iTunes) because the supplier negotiated with the creator and the supplier allows you to repurpose the music as soundtracks?