I am making a short film for college that is going to a small festival. I only have a shoestring budget, can I use the entire Sub Pop catalog for free in my film? Or maybe just a few songs by Nirvana and the Shins? Please, I promise I will thank you? - Dean H
Here’s everything you wish you never knew about licensing and Sub Pop… Have fun!
Film Festivals/Student/Non-Commercial Music Licensing and You-A Practical Guide for Practical People.
So, you’ve made a movie and you really, really want to use a Sub Pop artist in the soundtrack but you have no idea where to begin. You’ve come to the right place. Here—the beginning. Let’s get started:
A. Licensing music for use in your film is going to be a LOT trickier than you thought. How do I know? It’s my job.
B. WE WILL NOT GRANT ANY LICENSES FOR THE FOLLOWING ARTISTS: The Postal Service, The Shins, or Nirvana. There are far too many requests to be able to process any of these. Really, it’s no joke. Are you still here? Okay, we’ll continue.
C. A sync license for a Sub Pop artist will run you $500, half of which goes to Publishing, the other half of which goes to Sub Pop. If you do not want to pay money to use the music then why are you here anyway? Trust me, people, this is cheap. AND, you like this band, right? So now all of the sudden you’re going to try to take food off their tables by trying to bargain with me?! It ain’t gonna happen. Just so we’re very clear here: this is a festivals, student film or non-commercial license only. Any “for profit” uses of the film are not authorized under the $500 license. That, my friend, is an entirely different lecture.
D. There is a 6-8 week processing time for all licenses. The reason that these licenses cost money in the first place is that people (lawyers, even!) have to draw up contracts and do all that lawyer-y stuff that lawyers do and it takes time, which equals money, etc., and so forth. It’s starting to really come together now, right? If you are still interested, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
E. Even after all those financial and temporal hoops have been cleared, your license is still not ready to roll until it has been cleared with the Publisher and that may or may not happen. This means that there is no guarantee that your license request will be granted.
So, in summary, to acquire a license for a Sub Pop artist, excluding The Postal Service, The Shins, or Nirvana, which you aren’t going to get, you will need $500 and at least 6-8 weeks. We do not have the time or patience to bargain with you, so if this doesn’t suit your needs you might want to consider your back-up plan. What, you don’t have a back-up plan? You’re never going to make it in this business.