Anyone know music copyright law?

Allow me to begin this post with a request for anyone who is well-versed in copyright law, as it relates to music, specifically, to please take the liberty of clearing up any misconceptions regarding the use of copyrighted music in fitness. My current understanding is that copyrighted music is not to be used for one’s own financial gain without having purchased the rights to use it first. If one chooses to use this music, let’s say in a fitness video and on a platform such as YouTube, there is a very real possibility that YouTube will delete your channel. This is very detrimental in that years of work can be obliterated in what amounts to seconds. Volumes of followers can be lost forever…relationships severed. So why is it then that it’s so easy to find videos using copyrighted music on YouTube and Instagram? Has it been paid for by the user? I would think not unless the video is a high budget project. Today the rate of video production is so fast that acquiring the amount of music needed to regularly post video would be exorbitant. Most times a 60 minute album of uncopyrighted subpar music could cost hundreds of dollars. Even then, the right to use this music is usually limited to one project per the purchase contract.

Who and what dictate when we can use music freely?

Music has the power to make us passionate about virtually anything. Music has been an integral part of fitness forever. Whether it be getting pumped by whatever music moves you in a fitness class or video, your energy comes from the music. Over the past few years, it has become very difficult for trainers/instructors to complement their workouts with motivational music in order to engage and entertain their clients. A good instructor focuses on creating an experience for the client that becomes contagious and addictive. The usable music available to trainers/instructors not only fails to inspire but may actually detract from the quality of the fitness instruction. This problem is most difficult for classes such as kickbox, hip hop, and step in my opinion. The freebie music on YouTube or Instagram compromises the quality of the product and/or service that ultimately benefits the consumer. The clients’ experience is affected in a suboptimal way.

Artists should be compensated but when and how? 

Please don’t misunderstand my post as being dismissive of the fact that artists should be compensated for their work. It is the lack of clarity and the contradiction that is prevalent in the use of copyrighted music that is the source of my contention and frustration.

For instance, can copyrighted music be used if the video, for instance, isn’t being sold? There would be no financial gain. Could one argue, on the contrary, that there is some financial gain in that the video was produced to promote the professional in the profession that is the source of his or her income? For the professional who wants to play by the rules, such as myself, the legalities behind something that at one time was quite simple now result in roadblocks to creativity which are extremely deflating at times.

Please contribute to the conversation. I would be curious to get your insight whether or not you are knowledgeable on this topic and, especially, if you have a different point of view.