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Radiohead may be pushing the boat out on retail music, but Moby lays out the new territory when it comes to synch.

One of the best ways to make money from music, if you hadn’t figured it out yet, is to get your tunes attached to moving pictures — be they television commercials, movie sound tracks or a few seconds in the background in a cafe scene on East Enders or CSI.

But these days — perhaps even more than the increase in the amount of music that’s become available — there’s an absolute explosion of independent video, animation and film makers, in part thanks to the likes of YouTube, Atom Films and Spike/iFilm.

It makes a lot of sense to hook up with these independent film makers. After all, not all of them will be low- or no-budget forever. It’s also a great way to get a music clip made on the cheap, just quietly. But we’re not the only ones that have noticed that explosion in the visual media, and Moby has made an interesting offer on his website.

He writes:

hi,
i’ll keep this brief.
this portion of moby.com, ‘film music’, is for independent and non-profit filmmakers, film students, and anyone in need of free music for their independent, non-profit film, video, or short.
to use the site you log in(or on?) and are then given a password.
you can then listen to the available music and download whatever you want to use in your film or video or short.
the music is free as long as it’s being used in a non-commercial or non-profit film, video, or short.
if you want to use it in a commercial film or short then you can apply for an easy license, with any money that’s generated being given to the humane society.
i hope that you find what you’re looking for,
moby

Despite an irritating aversion to capital letters (I don’t care how egalitarian and humane you are — some letters are more important than others), this is a really encouraging approach to the problem.

If you don’t know Moby, he is by far one of the most soundtrack and commercial-friendly music producers of the past decade. In fact, synch to visuals pretty much sells his recorded catalogue and lines his benevolent pockets. This puts his music within reach of the most modest independent film makers, thereby potentially adding value to the films themselves and lifting their actuality-soaked soundtracks with the kind of chill-out, pop-friendly backing music that seems to go so well with second-act moments of self-awareness and regret, and end credits.

This reminds me, in a way, of the short-lived Creative Commons licence that simply said ‘Free to anyone in a developing country — normal rules apply for everyone else’. It legitimises the practices that already go on, it encourages the use of one’s own music for film, and it builds up an enormous amount of goodwill.