Soundtrack for your play?
I have been in exactly one non-musical play, though I have seen many. I have never had the beginning and inter-scene music stick with me. However, I have a couple of songs I would LOVE to use in my plays.
How does one get the rights to use a non-public-domain song in a performance? Is it okay as long as it's a nonprofit theatre? What if your play is published and you get a performance royalty? Obviously nonprofit or for-profit, the theatre gets money from tickets for the play.
I know the sound director for our production of "It's a Wonderful Life" is asking other crew members for CDs or downloads of instrumental Christmas music for the "overture" music fading in to the beginning.
Will the theatre end up trying to secure the rights to all those songs? Why do we have the right to play, say, even 20 seconds of the Boston Pops playing "Good King Wenceslaus" on a certain CD?
Maybe it's my years as a paralegal that gives me pause, but I have seen where other playwrights have used current, popular music as "soundtrack" for their plays and I wonder how one gets the rights to "perform" that music.
I would give my right pinkie to play Atomic Kitten's "Eternal Flame" at the beginning of "Brigid Kildare's Steelworks" as the lights come up and she's welding her latest creation with a torch.
But I don't have the money to give to the production company for license of the song that they'd require. And if licensing a song is anything like licensing even 20 seconds of film footage, I'm in big trouble.
I don't begrudge anyone a reasonable license fee; I just want to know what's right.
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