Like everything else as technology broadens it changes everything; including music then and now. Our world has changed how we listen to music as well as how we purchase it. I am not going to lie; this was one of the hardest blogs I have written. I started out one way but then ended up completely different. I have had numerous redrafts too many to count!
I am first going to talk about the then. Growing up there where only several ways I could listen to music; on the radio, albums, 8 track tapes, cassette tapes or what about going to a live concert? Now for the Now. Today, we have our phones where we can download apps to play music but one of the most widely used is YouTube. You may be wondering what this has to do with belly dance and I will answer that very soon but, here is my question to you: You are surfing YouTube in search of a song you want to dance to. Lets say you find this particular song; you have fallen in love with it, your connecting to it, your even dancing to it so what do you do? Do you find out where to purchase it or do you just use the music off YouTube? This all comes down to an ethical question is it OK just to use the song over and over again off YouTube or any other downloadable site without ever paying for it and giving credit to the artist where credit is due. I am by no means attacking YouTube it is there for a reason to share but at what point does sharing hurt these artists? In fact, YouTube does have a licensing but it only covers you in certain areas and not on everything. Here is the information I gathered below:
Most of us that perform whether we are professional or a student take video and then put it up on YouTube for viewing. To a point we may or may not be covered. If we are dancing in our home and post the video on YouTube and the music we are using is copy righted then YouTube takes care of the licence which is known as “User generated content”. If we have a video for commercial use or any type of monetary gain we may not be fully covered or even if we are performing out in public we may not be fully covered.
YouTube has a content Management system known as CMS. ” CMS is YouTube’s Content Management System. It’s the system on the YouTube web-site into which you upload your video. CMS tracks the ownership of various types of Assets supplied to it by content owners, including Video Assets, Composition Assets and Sound Recording Assets.” Taken directly from YouTube.
What happens to video with music used in it? “At some time after the upload of your video, CMS may notify you that your video may contain music owned by a third party. This will indicate that CMS believes that your video contains either Composition(s) and/or Sound Recording(s) that are controlled by Music Publishers and/or Record Labels. Assuming that you agree that you do not control the rights to the Composition(s) and/or Sound Recordings, you can Acknowledge the third party’s ownership within CMS.” From YouTube FAQ.
Here is a screen shot below of my YouTube Channel and of one of my most recent video’s. Notice on the bottom right hand corner you will see the album, name of the song and where you can buy it. This is how YouTube matches and approves the content of music that is copy righted. What this is for if someone watches my video and they like and want to buy the music they can with just one click!
When I started out belly dancing my teacher made a CD of music for us; initially I thought this was great because I had music I could use at home and I thought my teacher was doing me a favor by sharing her music. When I first started teaching I did the same thing but I stopped because I realized first of all this was wrong and second I was not really helping my students learn what music was out there. I was not educating my students and this was totally wrong of me. Today, when a student asks me what music I listen to in class I will let them know what cd it is off of and where to get it. Choreography class is the same way I will make sure students know what the music is so they can purchase it this is the right way and the ethical way.
Belly Dancing, Performing and Music
When it comes to Belly Dancing and performing always use music that has been purchased! It does not matter whether you are a student or a professional use music that you have paid for support the artist for their work. Realize though just because you purchased it does not necessarily mean you have the rights to use it outside of your home. Most of the time you will not get in trouble for using music, but know it does and can happen and you just need to be prepared. There are numerous sites other then YouTube where you can listen to music such as Spotify, Pandora and YouTube to find out what is out their and if you like it enough to purchase it. They all have licensing which covers you the listener in your home, but not always outside of the home. Purchase your music and support the musicians.