Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some questions we are asked quite often. We’ll update this section as needed. If the answer to the question you have cannot be found here, please feel free to contact us directly and we’ll do everything we can to answer your question.

1. What is the average cost of an arrangement license for my band?

2. Are there songs that are unavailable for licensing for arrangement rights or video rights?

3. What is the average cost of a synchronization (DVD) license?

4. What is the average cost of a mechanical (CD) license?

5. How much music can I use without licensing it?

6. Why isn’t my use of the music considered Fair Use?

1. What is the average cost of an arrangement license?

The cost of a license to arrange varies from one publisher to the next. On average, you can expect to pay a fee of $250-$350 per song for your right to arrange. There are some publishers who charge less and some who charge more. But generally if you budget $250-$350 per song you should be within range.

2. Are there songs that are unavailable for licensing for arrangement rights or video rights?

Yes. The copyright owners are not required to grant permission for you to create an arrangement of their song for performance.Regardless of how creative or fantastic you believe your idea to be, some publishers/composers/groups simply do not wish to have one or more of their songs arranged. We’ve provided a partial listing of music below that we know is currently unavailable, or has been unavailable in the past. WE ARE NOT THE COPYRIGHT OWNERS. The list below is based on requests submitted in the past and information obtained from our clients. Circumstances do change and it is possible that something that was unavailable 3 years ago is available now.We try to keep this list up to date. If you are interested in using a song that is on the list below, we strongly suggest you ask early. It is always possible that you may get a “yes” but you should make sure to ask early enough so that if you are denied you have plenty of time to replace the song.

3. What is the average cost of a synchronization (DVD) license?

Synchronization license costs vary from one publisher to the next and are not set by law. The availability of music for video recording rights also varies. If you have a specific DVD project that you are considering, please email us the basic details and we can provide you with more specific information.

4. What is the average cost of a mechanical (CD) license?

The mechanical licensing royalty rate is established by law. The current statutory mechanical rate is set through December 31, 2012 at the following rates:

Songs 5’00” and under:  $0.091 per song, per CD/digital download sold

Songs 5’01” and above:  $.0175 per minute, or fraction thereof, per CD/digital download sold

5. How much music can I use without licensing it?

Essentially, none. If you’re on our site it’s most likely because you are putting together a show or product that uses copyrighted music. The best rule of thumb that I can give you is that if you can “name that tune” in the amount of music you use - it MUST be licensed. It doesn’t matter if it’s 8 notes, 8 seconds, 8 measures or 8 minutes. If a reasonable person can identify the music you are using it has to be licensed.

6. Why isn’t my use of the music considered Fair Use?

Fair Use is a fantastic tool for journalists, educators and artists. However, as musicians and educators, unless you are reproducing a portion of copyrighted music for use in the classroom, it is extremely unlikely that your use of the music constitutes Fair Use. Using copyrighted music in a public performance or product, whether sold or given freely to the public, requires permission from the copyright owner in one form or another.

Music Denied

The following list contains compositions the copyright owners have indicated WILL be denied and compositions that have been denied in the past.  It is only a tool for your use.  It is NOT a definitive list.

    • "The Easter Symphony - Mvt. 2 (Death Tree)"by David Holsinger
      (publisher instructed to deny requests to arrange 2nd Movement only)
    • Music and film scores by John Williams
    • Music and film scores by Thomas Newman
    • Michael Jackson – publisher has stated music cannot be arranged as a medley
    • Music by Joaquin Rodrigo (eg. "Concierto de Aranjuez") has been denied.  START EARLY
    • Music by Charles Ives
    • Music from "Riverdance"
    • Music by Vincent Persichetti
    • The use of Literary Charaters (i.e. from "Where the Wild Things Are")
    • Music and stories of Dr. Seuss (has been approved/has been denied – always check early)
    • "Symphony #3" by James Barnes
    • Works by David Maslanka (Mr. Maslanka will consider personally creating a new commissioned work or arrangement for your band.)
    • "Ritual Fire Dance" by Manuel de Falla (Approved/denied on a case-by-case basis.   START EARLY)
    • "Carmina Burana" by Carl Orff
    • Music composed or performed by the rock group Van Halen   (This may have changed.  If you're interested in this music let us know.)
    • Music composed or performed by the group Guns ‘N Roses  (This may have changed.  If you're interested in this music let us know.)
    • "She Loves You" by John Lennon and Paul McCartney
    • All works by Bruce Springsteen
    • Music by Morten Lauridsen
    • Some songs by Aerosmith (all music is unavailable for DVD purposes according to the copyright owner)
    • “Gabriel’s Oboe” from The Mission by Ennio Morricone (as of 2008…)
    • “Concerto for Orchestra” by Witold Lutoslawski
    • Anything owned by Nintendo.  It is Nintendo policy to deny all requests to use their music.  For the official company word on thisyou can see their website at http://www.nintendo.com/corp/faq.jsp#graphics.
    • “When David Heard” by Eric Whitacre
    • “Threnody” by Jim Bonney
    • “Flute Concerto” by Christopher Rouse (only 2nd& 4th movements are available)
    • Music by Ennio Morricone will often be denied due to the third party approvals requirements. START EARLY
    • Some of the music from Candyman by Phillip Glass is unavailable.  Please check with us to see what is available.  (As of 2015 "Helen's Theme" is available for licensing.)
    • Rainbow Body” by Christopher Theofandis
    • Music from Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (denied in 2010)

 Music Denied in the Past – Restrictions may be eased now

  1. Other music written by Joaquin Rodrigo ( NOT "Concerto de Aranjuez" – that is still unavailable)
  2. Music by Manuel de Falla (e.g. "Ritual Fire Dance") – may be available but ASK FIRST

Video Rights Restricted/Budget Considerations

The following compositions are available for arrangement. However, Video rights have either been denied or licensing fees are set that may make rights unavailble within your budget.  You should take the following into consideration when planning your show.

  1. “Fly Like An Eagle” (Steve Miller Band) – arrangement rights available but Video rights restricted
  2. “Hurt” by Trent Reznor – arrangement rights available but Video has been denied
  3. “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright” – arrangement rights available but Video has been denied
  4. “Let’s Get It Started” by Black-Eyed Peas – arrangement rights available but Video has been denied by one of the co-publishers.
  5. “I Can See Clearly Now” by Johnny Nash requires a minimum $10,000 synchronization license fee.
  6. The music of Led Zepplin requires a minimum $10,000 synchronization license fee
  7. The music of AC/DC is not available for video licensing for marching arts videos.
  8. Music from Cowboy Bebop is unavailable for synchronization licensing per the copyright owner.
  9. Music from all James Bond films - arrangement rights generally available but Video requests will be denied.
  10. Music owned by Disney is usually available for arrangement licensing but the company licensing rights for Video charges a fee higher than most publishers which can mean your video company may opt not to include the music on their DVD due to the "most favored nations" clause in all DVD licenses.
  11. Per Sony/ATV the song "What's Going On" (What's Up) by Linda Perry is rarely approved for synchronization licensing.

Budget Considerations

  1. “Ai No Corrida” – expect to pay $600.00 for a 1 year license
  2. Arrangement license fees for the music of Johan de Meij, Jan van der Roost, Stephen Melillo & Philip Sparke are generally around $1,500 per song.
  3. “I Can See Clearly Now” by Johnny Nash requires a minimum license fee of $3,500 for arrangement licensing.
  4. “George of the Jungle" - each co-publisher in 2008 requested $500 for their 50% share for a total fee of $1,000 for a custom arrangement license.

Additional Notes:

  1. Music by Irving Berlin - The Berlin Estate is very restrictive with his works.  Submit your request early to allow for adequate time for the publisher to review your request and obtain approval.  Please be aware that requests to arrange "God Bless America" may well be denied so submit your request well in advance.
  2. Music by Vincent Persichetti.  This may or may not be approved.  You'll need to get an early start.
  3. The Lord of The Rings by Howard Shore.  Alfred Publishing Co., Inc. has been required in the past to obtain composer approval for all requests to arrange this music.  Permission to arrange this music can be difficult to obtain.  If you wish to arrange the songs from this movie you will need to request approval in advance as your request may be denied.

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