Some of you may be unaware that including favorite pieces of music in your travel, birthday, wedding or life story videos is illegal if that music has a copyright. It doesn’t matter if the only people who are going to see your production are family and friends. It doesn’t matter if you’ve bought the CD and are using only a few clips. It doesn’t matter if you’re never likely to get caught. The truth is that using someone’s original work and not paying for it is essentially stealing.
So what’s the solution? You can get permission to use the music from the copyright holder. This is not for the faint hearted. It can be a lengthy and expensive task – hardly something you’d want to do for Uncle Jack’s retirement video.
There are several other possibilities. What I do is hire a local musician to compose and play original music for my videos. He’s excellent and has been kind enough to give me a great rate. There are all kinds of struggling young musicians out there who would love to compose and play something that would work in your video. Check out your local music school, University fine arts department and the Internet.
Another solution is to use royalty free music available from a number of web-based companies. One I discovered and would certainly recommend is incompetech. It’s owner/composer/musician Kevin MacLeod offers a wide selection of his own work and makes it available for free or a modest $5 donation. You can’t beat that.
I’ve assembled a partial list of other royalty free music providers below. Just click on the site for further information. I haven’t used any of these, so I can’t personally vouch for them.