In 1998, Congress passed the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). A couple years afterwards, Metallica sued the company Napster for copyright infringement from their recently created peer-to-peer file sharing software of the same name.
Now, a little over twenty years later, Metallica ironically had their music dubbed over on Twitch with something akin to video game elevator music to prevent another DMCA strike against the streaming platform.
Now, with some law makers proposing bills to potentially make DMCA violators felons, it’s obvious that DMCA is still a looming threat in the modern online scene. Fortunately, content creators are a crafty bunch and are constantly trying to find ways to entertain without violating any laws.
So, how do we deal with this? Sea shanties from the 1700s? Classical music from the Renaissance? Jazz music from the 1920s?
Alright, real talk, for as good as songs were from two to three hundred years ago, content creators nowadays are usually looking for something a little fresher. But if that’s your jam though, own it.
Find copyright-free music
This is easier said than done.
A quick search provided several options for free downloads, but a lot of the premium content or licenses laid behind a monthly paywall. Certain creators, like Streambeats and NoCopyrightSounds, have promised safe usage and can be accessed through popular programs like Spotify or Apple Music.
There are also websites that provide music for download. Be sure to read the fine print with these sites though. Some may require an active subscription when uploading or monetizing your content. Others provide lifetime usage. The best way to ensure your safety is to stay informed.
Commission an artist
Before we get into this, be aware that music artists are masters of their craft. The amount of effort and creativity that goes into their work should be respected. Music can also be very expensive to commission, so be sure to budget properly and do your research before commissioning an artist.
You should also identify what your exact need is before pursuing this route. If all you need is a quick intro/outro for your videos, this could work. If you are looking for an hour-long playlist to cycle behind you as you stream, other options may be more affordable.
If you have a music artist in your life, try hiring them to put together a quick soundtrack for you. Fiverr.com has all sorts of options when it comes to artists and what they can do. Peruse some of their samples until you get somebody that hits what you are looking for then work out a deal. Don’t forget to respect their prices. They know what they’re worth. Pay attention to the length of the music, how many instruments and how many revisions you are allowed per their contracts.
Create your own music
This is another thing easier said than done.
Getting started with any type of content creation usually requires an investment, and quality software tends to have a matching price. Fortunately, many platforms have free trials you can use while getting familiar with your software of choice.
For the truly talented, creators can get a solid return on investment by making videos of themselves crafting music. Study what music videos are successful and grab the techniques that fit your style. If you can find a niche or aspect of music that’s underappreciated, you could start a whole new trend and reap the rewards.
The best part, your music is always available to you. Who knows, people could eventually be seeking you out to get their music one day.
So what does the future hold?
As long as music makes money, labels are going to do what they can to make it. The best way forward is to stay informed and find whatever methods you can to avoid getting yourself in trouble. We’ve detailed out a few ways, but they are, by no means, the only methods.
The music scene is constantly evolving with new changes every day. Agencies outside of major record labels have claimed a monthly income of $150,000 from views and streams through third party software, all while maintaining completely free options for their users. One day, this could be the norm, and we can finally stop walking on eggshells with music usage.
Fortunately, gaming companies are listening. Newer releases are providing copyright-free options within their games. Many artists are speaking out about giving permission to use their music without fear of reprisal. There are plenty of allies working toward more inclusive future.
In the meantime, be careful out there creators. We’re in this together.
Article by: Whooh