Can We Use Commercial/popular Music in Our Wedding Video?
Yes and No.
For the longest time, wedding filmmakers were able to use whatever song they wanted when making videos because it was usually delivered on VHS or DVD before videos ever appeared on the web, so the violation was so minuscule that no one ever cared.
Once YouTube and Vimeo appeared, everyone began using these platforms to deliver and promote their product. A colleague of mine who filmed a famous athlete’s wedding was sued by Coldplay after their video made it onto ESPN one day and alerted the band. He was sued six figures but settled in the five figure range. Needless to say, that was a tough experience for him and he never made that mistake again.
Today, there are many platforms online dedicated to licensing music. And the music is really good now compared with when licensing sites started several years ago. In fact, many popular artists like Jason Mraz and Natalie Imbruglia have songs that are able to be licensed at under $100 each. Most wedding filmmakers subscribe to a service for a monthly fee that gives them unlimited access to these catalogs. The great thing about them also is that you can support artists who are making some really great music and aren’t household names yet.
Of course, if you really want someone to use a popular song, you can do it and host it on a private link and you’d be fine. However, the wedding filmmaker may require you to sign release of liability or not allow for the video to be public. You’re also technically probably violating music copyright by doing it without permission.
We always license music and never have any complaints. In fact, having a new song for your film that is really awesome is refreshing for our couple’s. It allows for us to be creative with new music while tapping into the heart of the story. I hope you find a wedding filmmaker who does this as well for your video!
Alexander F. Lewis
A Lewis Films
Colorfield Media, LLC
Film House Weddings
Greg Hoffman Films