There is a pretty clear line dividing the photographers who choose to feature music on their sites and those who don’t. It’s a bit of a heated debate easily found on various community forums. I understand both sides pretty clearly and think that both have their valid points. But in the end, as it does with almost everything else, it comes down to a personal decision.

For me, it’s like adding the music to a movie – personality, let’s say. After all, I’ve said it many times that I looove music, and my everyday life is hardly ever without its soundtrack. — As it happens, right this very moment it’s moving to Ingrid Michaelson’s The Hat.

Why should my website be any different? After much self-debate I opted to include music on my site. But there was a smidge of a problem.

Going back to said photography argument, one of its key points of argument centers on the difficulty in obtaining permission or rights to legally feature music. Many websites out there routinely post music illegally without any regard to artist rights. As an artist myself, I wanted to avoid doing this to anyone at all costs. It is a bit ironic that many photographers out there have no qualms about doing so, which sparks the debate on and on.

So I started doing some research to adhere to my personal principals. At first, I went the route that most people go. I tried contacting Indie artists via their websites/social networks to request permission or info on obtaining a license. But I quickly found that it is as difficult to garnish a response from these artists as it is from the big label ones. After a lot of online reading, I found the answer: BMI.

BMI’s licensing service offers folks the ability to feature music from countless artists – big names and newbies alike – for a fee roughly starting at $350 annually. It’s relatively easy to set up an account and the quarterly reports are simple as well.

If you are thinking of featuring music on your site, BMI is a great solution. The moderate cost is well justified by the wealth of music available, and the peace of mind that comes from doing the right thing and respecting the work of others.

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