Everyone wants to get their performance sport routine down to a ‘T’ - great choreography, awesome music, precise timing - after all we all want to aim for ‘zero deductions’!
Understanding the music is an extremely important part of the choreography process. Getting to grips with the beats and evoking the lyrics, and meaning of the song helps athletes, judges, and audiences connect with the routine.
Whether your routine is performed to a mix that has several tracks edited down, or to one track unedited, something called Grand Rights apply.
Grand Rights are the right to perform musical compositions within the context of a dramatic work. This includes stage performances such as musical theatre, but also the performance of a sporting routine; when you add the visual elements of a routine to a piece of music you are deemed to be making a dramatic re-interpretation of the music - and this is where Grand Rights kick in. Grand Rights must be negotiated directly with the rightsholders - they are not available from PRO’s / collecting societies.
At ClicknClear we refer to the impact of Grand Rights on choreographed sporting routines as ‘Choreography Rights’ to make the connection more obvious!
Choreography Rights apply whether your routine uses several songs or just one. It’s one other license (over and above the licenses to play music in public that your venue needs, and the rights to edit and mix the songs) that you need for each track you use.
Sports music licensing guidelines now say that ALL rightsholders, the performing artists AND all songwriters, need to have given their permission to both edit and adapt the music and perform a sports routine to the adapted music.
Copycat cover music - which seeks to get around the issue of performing artists rights by having an unknown singer mimic the original hit performance - is not a solution, because it:
i) ignores the songwriters completely (so you are most definitely NOT licensing Choreography Rights and the editing rights you need from songwriters),
ii) is more vulnerable to record label lawsuits for plagiarism the closer to the original hit performance the cover version is, and
iii) means you also need to check very carefully whether the cover music license from the copycat recording artist even covers you for the Choreography Rights in the recording.
So, if any tracks in your mix aren’t licensed from the original performers AND songwriters, and any of those licenses don’t include the Choreography Rights, then you do not have the music rightsholders’ permission to perform your routine to their music, even if you have the licenses to edit and mix the music. And you are not compliant with music guidelines.
Here at ClicknClear we have all of this already sorted - each of our tracks come with licenses to all rights necessary from both the recording artists and songwriters, including the Choreography Right for sports routines as well as the editing rights. We also offer legal indemnity for use of our tracks in sports routines.