How to Avoid a Clearance Catastrophe: Song Exclusivity - Do You Really Need It? 237 words · 2 minute read

All creatives fear hearing music from their brand’s campaign in a competitor’s spot. Regardless of the nature of your project, once you find that perfect song, you’ll naturally want to be the only one to sync it. It’s part of your brand’s sonic identity, after all!

While exclusivity seems like a necessity, we recommend reflecting on the following before you pay for it:

Do you need exclusivity?


This is a tricky question to answer, but one that is frequently asked. Almost no one really needs exclusivity. No brand wants the same song its competitor is using. Have you ever pitched to your client, “We should use the exact same song our competitor just used in their ad?” Probably not.

Nonetheless, it’s always possible to run into exclusivity issues; so, in some cases it’s better to be safe than sorry and request exclusivity in the license. Exclusivity can be a good thing to have, but a common mistake that brands make is failing to ask for it upfront.

If you don’t negotiate for exclusivity right away and end up needing it later, the rights holders will charge you a significant sum. It could’ve just come gratis if negotiated upfront. For that reason, Music Dealers always asks for exclusivity in the early phases of negotiation to protect our clients for as little cost as possible.

Be on the lookout for our final clearance tip!

By: Alex Holder, Music Dealers