Every once in a while, a client asks us to use a popular, current or classic song as a music bed in a TV or radio commercial we’re producing for them. Our answer is always NO. Not because we’re difficult, but because we know copyright law.

The use of copyrighted music in advertising used to come up all the time when I was in the broadcasting business. Often, a client, usually a club owner, would ask us to produce a spot  to advertise a tribute band that he had booked. So if it was a Van Halen tribute band, he wanted us to use Van Halen music, Aerosmith music for an Aerosmith tribute band night, you get the idea. Our production guys would usually cave in and produce the spots using whatever original tracks the client asked for.

Dan O'Day (photo courtesy of Dan O'Day)

Dan O’Day
(photo courtesy of Dan O’Day)

Dan O’Day is a very talented and knowledgable radio creative. His creative and effective commercials air all over the country. I received an email from Dan today, and it touched on this very subject. Dan’s explanation of what you CAN and CANNOT do when it comes to copyrighted music is clear and to the point. Dan’s email is clearly targeted at radio station people, but everyone can learn from it. Dan tells me that he received such a huge response from his email that he posted it to his blog. Read it HERE.