Music licensing fees
Date: February 2, 2013
I have, on a few occasions, created arrangements of music still under copyright. I always go through the process of obtaining a license (or in some cases, attempting to obtain a license, as there have been some cases where I could not locate the copyright holder based on the listed copyright holder on the score, or via an internet search). The fees are rather all over the place, from sometimes free use for a funeral, to one this week for $100 for my request to create a handbell arrangement for my church for one time use. The license holder does grant the license for reusable copies, up to 100, but I wil never likely need more than 10. I have appealed for a reduced fee, but haven't yet heard back.
Some of these fees seem really a bit over the top to me, and definitely over my budget, which has serious limits. I am wondering what some of the rest of you might know about how these fees get set, or if there are strategies to employ to reduce them if you have limits. Obviously, the easy answer is "do something else", but I am wondering what might be possible or what might be known. It seems to me that when these fees far exceed what you would pay for the sheet music, and you, the arranger, have to do the actual writing. I am a composer myself, and of course I want to do the right thing. But it is hard to feel excitied about it when it is such a stretch.
Thanks for your advice and comments!
Nan Beth Walton
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