1. _Lulu_
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    _Lulu_ Member

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    Music in fiction.

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by _Lulu_, Jun 5, 2011.

    I was just wondering what the rules are for using singers/songs in fiction?

    For example:

    He could give Bon Jovi a run for their money as Peter sang Always whilst playing the guitar.
     
  2. wallomrslug
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    wallomrslug Member

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    The main danger with that is referring to current popular culture will date your work.
    The singers you refer to won't always be popular or well know and it can seem a bit awkward.
     
  3. _Lulu_
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    _Lulu_ Member

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    I never thought of that before! thanks for pointing it out :)
     
  4. Ashrynn
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    Ashrynn Active Member

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    Would using something classic work? Making a refference to Luis Armstrong for instance?
     
  5. Reggie
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    Reggie I Like 'Em hot "N Spicy Contributor

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    I heard that getting permission from an author of a song is very expensive, but I'm not sure if you can use them for your stories, the unpopulated ones.
     
  6. _Lulu_
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    _Lulu_ Member

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    Hmm, not really sure, I hadn't given classic a thought. The above was just a mere example, I won't be using it in that context.

    So you would need their permission then? I'm asking on the basis of the story getting published.

    EDIT: What about using a song title without reference to the singer?
     
  7. Lord Malum
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    Lord Malum Senior Member

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    Bah! Never, never treat your readers like fools. Always assume they know what you're talking about with references. It's no different from using uncommon words in your writing. Don't insult them.
     
  8. wallomrslug
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    wallomrslug Member

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    It isn't an insult to a reader, it's quite understandable that they wouldn't necessarily know a famous name. I live in the UK and if I read a novel by a US author and it contained references to celebrities in America, I most likely wouldn't know who they were. that's not to say that I wouldn't get the reference...even if I didn't know Bon Jovi to use the OP's example, I would still probably 'get' that it was a music reference.
    but that wasn't my point. I didn't mean that the reader wouldn't understand the meaning, just that they may not know the name. And it doesn't alter the fact that it can put a date onto the work.
     
  9. Lord Malum
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    Lord Malum Senior Member

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    Ok, I understand. But the fact that it dates the project or a handful of readers won't recognize the reference shouldn't stop the use of the reference. Write what you're compelled to write.
     
  10. wallomrslug
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    wallomrslug Member

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    Oh yeah, I totally agree. I wasn't meaning to put the OP off of the idea, just pointing out some things s/he might like to consider.
     
  11. Reggie
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    Reggie I Like 'Em hot "N Spicy Contributor

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    I just heard that it is expensive to sing it out in your finished work, but I'm not sure 100 percent if you can really use the song without permissioin. So don't trust me on this one. And I never used a song title, but I'm guessing that you can use song titles without copyright infringement.
     
  12. _Lulu_
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    _Lulu_ Member

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    Thanks, I'll definitely keep it in mind :)

    I wouldn't use the lyrics, or if I did it would be with reference and only a line or two max. I think I might just keep the song title in mind then with no lyrics or singer/band name or just make a couple up.
     
  13. Gigi_GNR
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    Gigi_GNR Guys, come on. WAFFLE-O. Contributor

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    This. I've read books where references to pop culture or popular artists of the day age the book because they're not popular anymore.
     
  14. darkhaloangel
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    darkhaloangel Active Member

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    You can reference singers and songs without paying royalties. Just like celeb magazines can reference celebrities and their work. That's totally okay. I'd say it seems fine - sometimes it's nice to have a date on the work, you sort of get into the times. Like a book published 10 years ago would seem quite nostalgic.

    Originally when I saw the title of this post - I though maybe you meant puting up a song in the footnotes, for with the scenes, so when people were reading along, they could turn to the right song and get a vibe for the novel.

    That sounds like an awesome idea - but very impractical and a bit useless. But could be fun. Anyways that's totally off topic.
     
  15. wallomrslug
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    wallomrslug Member

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    There is an existing thread on that somewhere. Can't say the idea appeals to me
     
  16. _Lulu_
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    I'm not very good at titles :p

    I suppose if I made someone up or a couple of lyrics, people won't necessarily know if they were real or fictional in years to come maybe.
     
  17. Gothic Vampire Queen
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    Um, isn't there a thread already on this?

    http://www.writingforums.org/showthread.php?t=41231

    And darkhaloangel, I agree :)

    I once thought it was fun, but now, that I have matured in writing, and have a good sense in what to keep out whilst writing, I think its just...stupid.
     
  18. Norm
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    Norm Contributing Member

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    If you reference a band, album or song, you do not have to get permission or pay anything.

    For example, if you want to write in your story that the MC's favorite band Atheist and he has all of their LPs, you can do that no problem.

    If you want to write that your MC is riding a bus and has his portable tape deck on him listening to some Liege Lord, you can totally do that no problem as well.

    If you want to write that your MC and his friends are having an awesome night out at the Overkill concert, that's totally fine as well.

    Just remember that it's usually best to avoid pop stars and current flavor of the weeks in your writing because by the time it's published... these figures are old news or forgotten. Stick to the classics (this also shows that your characters have good tastes).
     
  19. Gothic Vampire Queen
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    For example, I did a little tribute to the Sisters Of Mercy.

    Here's what I got:

    That line is not official or anything.

    It a....sample, if you will.
     
  20. nygiants_0000
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    nygiants_0000 New Member

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    At one point in my novel I have my characters sing several lines of 'The Boxer' by Simon and Garfunkel. I actually write out the lines from the lyrics they are singing-What's the legality here?
     
  21. Unit7
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    Unit7 Contributing Member Contributor

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    You'll need to get permission from them if you plan to have it published with the lyrics. Otherwise you'll probably be in a bit of trouble.
     
  22. nygiants_0000
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    nygiants_0000 New Member

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    Even if it's only one or two lines of the lyrics?
     
  23. Unit7
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    Unit7 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Actually I am the wrong person to ask. Better person would be asking a literary lawyer.
     
  24. Norm
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    Norm Contributing Member

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    I believe that if you cite the original creators of the work within your story, you will most likely not have any issues. That is, unless your book sells millions and the people that wrote that song are very greedy. They might be inclined to take action to try to get some of the cash you're making.
     
  25. _Lulu_
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    I didn't see that thread, thanks.

    In my first post I did state that was just an example and with all due respect just because you think it's stupid doesn't mean it actually is, especially when you have no idea what the story/inspiration/band or song context is. And, it's certainly not being used because it's 'fun'.

    ----

    Thanks for all your replies, you've been a great help.
     

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