How to License a Jingle

By Louis Kroeck

Licensing a jingle is not much different from licensing any other copyrighted song. Before you can proceed, you will need to locate the correct owner of the jingle and the outfit that takes care of licensing for the owner, and negotiate and execute a license. It is not always possible to license a jingle. The owner or the licensing company may decide that they do not desire to grant you a license for your particular use.

Identifying the Owner

Determine the owner of the jingle by conducting an Internet search. Alternatively, if you have a tangible copy of the jingle, such as a CD, check the CD jacket for a copyright notice. Any copyright notice associated with the jingle should contain the name of the writer or the owner. Identifying the jingle's writer will help you when you need to conduct a search for the publisher and request a license to use the jingle.

Publisher

You cannot request a license to use a jingle unless you can identify the publisher who has the authority to grant you a license. Search for the jingle's publisher by searching by song title or writer through the following organizations: CCLI, ASCAP, BMI, SESAC or The Harry Fox Agency. Most jingles and other musical works will be held by one of these organizations. It is possible that the jingle could be held by an independent publisher, but check these agencies first.

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Drafting Your Request

Different publishers have different procedures for requesting a license. All publishers will require that you provide the following information: the name and author of the jingle you wish to license, your intended use for the jingle, the duration of your use, where you will be using the jingle and the frequency of your use. Finally, there are different types of licenses you may need to request. You will need to determine if you want a mechanical license, an Internet use license, a blanket license or a synchronization license. A mechanical license is used so that you can produce a cover of a preexisting work, an Internet use license would be applicable if you needed to use the jingle on a website, a blanket license could cover many different uses at the same time and a synchronization license would be used for playing the jingle along with corresponding images or video.

Other Options

In addition to the traditional music publishing companies that have vast libraries of jingles and other works, there are some smaller outfits that specialize in jingles. If you do not have a specific jingle in mind but are just shopping for a jingle that would suit your intended purpose, you should consider contacting one of these agencies, as the process for licensing a jingle may be less expensive. Some of the outfits that specialize in jingles include Jingle Punks, Stock Music Site and JingleBank.

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