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Music & Licenses

Printed From: Community Theater Green Room
Category: Theater Administration
Forum Name: Running Your Theater
Forum Discription: General questions about how to make it work
Printed Date: 5/18/24 at 9:02am
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 8.05 -

Topic: Music & Licenses
Posted By: colugino
Subject: Music & Licenses
Date Posted: 6/20/12 at 11:24pm

Sharing this because I was surprised at how many organizations around my area have been fined for using unlicensed music.

Just a forewarning, as many of you already know, using music for a production is only legal if you license it. Any venue where you are charging people to come requires permission from anyone that has anything to do with the song(s) you are using. This includes:
- Music used before a show when patrons are entering, at intermission an at the end as patrons are leaving.
- Music used in a show (one school in my area was fined because they had a Lady Gaga song "playing on the radio" during a scene)
We did a production using two songs from a popular music group and had to pay several hundred dollars in licensing. We had to get permission from the band, their label, as well as the person who wrote the music.
Several theatres and schools in my area were "busted" by local auditors that come to productions and events and check up on licenses. One theatre company was fined over $18,000 for using two songs they did not have permission for. A school in my area did a talent show in which several Broadway songs were performed without license and were fined several thousand dollars.
Another was a theatre company was threatened with fines because they changed several lines in a show without permission. The ommitted several pages of dialogue, changed words in one of the songs.... My theatre company, because it is operated out of a church, always has to edit content. We contact our licensing agents at MTI, R&H or whatever and many times they have just allowed us to make changes with no charge. And sometimes we have had to pay a few dollars (one production we had to pay $100 to change two lines)
So, bottom line, if you don't have a license, or you aren't sure, don't use it!

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