We invite you to read an interview published at Grenier aux Nouvelles concerning Music Rights Clearance. What are the stakes related to music licensing, the costs, the importance of contacts and (bonus!), the title of the song that we get asked about the most by our precious partners? Read the complete translated interview below.
Music Rights Clearance: Clearing for Success
The Montreal-based division of the Prime Time Entertainment inc. company specialises in clearing music advertising rights, a vital yet little known practice. This (and musical references) is the subject under discussion with François Lachanche, CEO of Music Rights Clearance.
François Lachanche, CEO | Music Rights Clearance
Would it be unthinkable to put “We Are The Champions” at the end of my ad? Is the price of the Stones’ success too expensive to launch my brand? A group of negotiators who have become masters of the art of clearing copyrights field these sorts of questions every day. “Around 50 requests wing their way to us every week,” François Lachanche tells us. “Marketing managers want to see their brand associated with a musical hit. You have to pay for this and that is nothing new. When it matches the product’s values, music becomes a major generator of emotions. At Music Rights Clearance, we act as middlemen to make the agencies’ job easier when the time comes to clear musical rights while respecting the budget they have available. We give good advice and we are very approachable.”
THAT MILLION-DOLLAR TUNE
How do I make a submission to Music Rights Clearance?
“We have an online form,” François tells us. “It is very easy to fill in, whether it is for an advert, film or something else. You tell us the track and the context it will be used in: this will determine the costs incurred. Of course, a Bowie track for a year-long advertising campaign will be much more expensive than a more obscure artist’s song for an online ad. We have a huge bank of previous negotiations, which means we can provide price comparisons quickly.” What is the song that costs the most to get clearance? “There is one we are asked for every week,” François guffaws, “‘Here Comes the Sun’ by George Harrison. You’ll be asked for a million dollars at the very least for standard advertising use. It is a lot of money, but it is a case of supply and demand.”
IT IS NOT WHAT YOU KNOW…
How are negotiations carried out? “In 80% of cases, the artist has an input,” François continues. “If they have passed on, we go to the heirs or even a third party if they have the music rights. For me, it always goes relatively smoothly as I know the key players in the industry very well, whether it is the chair of Warner, Universal, Sony, etc. In this business, it is not what you know but who you know. Also, the fact that we clear several tracks at the same time allows us to have better agreements, which makes the prices we negotiate very competitive.” How did your interest in copyright clearance develop? “I have always been interested in advertising,” he says. “And I’ve always been surrounded by music. In my early days, I worked in management – a career where your income does not necessarily match up with the popularity of your artists. This was one of the reasons that led me to find out about copyrights. I had some advice early in my career from a great mentor: Donald K. Donald. He was the one who took me under his wing and introduced me to the big wigs in the industry.”
The inevitable question: will all artists accept to have their work used to popularise a brand? “Some don’t want to,” François says, “but let’s just say that for many the money can be very persuasive. Money talks, as they say. However, if you want to use a song by Paul McCartney, a noted vegetarian, for a Burger King ad, there is a good chance that your negotiations will take a while.” Any clearances you are particularly proud of? “There are several,” he says. “But I would say the biggest coup is that we managed to release the rights to the song Please Come Home For Christmas for an Air Canada Christmas ad in under 12 hours, even though it was Thanksgiving. It was crazy! It is so satisfying to see the final result in the advert, and to see the track we were able to clear adding that little je ne sais quoi. It’s good to be able to give advertising executives the song they dreamed of to support their concept.”
To access the clearance request form, click here.