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I made some street recordings with music playing in background. In one case, it was a musician, who was improvising on a saxophone in a metro station. In another, i recorded a city park ambience with some soft music playing through speakers.

It's a silly question, but can i use these ambiences in my production or sell them? Do i have to obtain something like a talent release for that or license the music?

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Not a silly question at all! –  Andrew Spitz Jul 17 '11 at 9:35

2 Answers 2

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Hi, Serge

Don't use or sell ambiences that contain music. It's just asking for trouble later. Find a new location without music to record in. Sometimes (usually) I have to try a couple of different locations to get away from the music that is everywhere nowadays, but it beats getting sued.

Check out Paul Virostek's blog post here http://www.jetstreaming.org/2011/06/28/selling-sound-effects-6-mistakes-you-want-to-avoid-part-2/#more-1267 and read "mistake #5: Using performances in your field recordings". His blog has lots of good advice.

-Thomas

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Thanks, Thomas! I just wanted to be sure. It's a pity though, because the musician played pretty good and he created a very nice mood of a lonely man in a big city... i guess, i have just to delete the recording. –  Serge Eybog Jul 17 '11 at 10:35
1  
I know what you mean. Street musicians can really add something to a location. Don't delete the recording. Keep it as a reference. –  Thomas Alf Jul 17 '11 at 17:46

I am lucky enough to live in NYC so I get to capture a ton of this stuff, some amazingly talented people running around out there. My general rules are:

  1. I never use them commercially at all without expressed permission from the performer, which I've gotten plenty of times. I am a good tipper. =)

  2. I only use them at all if they are original compositions. If it contains anything even remotely resembling a "cover song" then it's just strictly for my own enjoyment. I can deal with a street musician knocking on my door in a few years looking for a little cash, but I can't afford to have record publishers doing the same.

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