Music and Memorial Videos: Be Sure You’re Protecting Both with Memory Valley Music

Funeral Industry News Obituaries & Tributes Products & Services November 10, 2022
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Music and Memorial Videos: Be Sure You’re Protecting Both with Memory Valley Music

Why does your funeral home offer memorial or tribute videos? Photo displays alone may help to tell the story of a beloved family member or friend and create a lasting keepsake to help loved ones remember the good times. Adding music to the collections in a rewatchable digital format, though, takes these memories to another level, and that’s why protecting your tribute videos — and your funeral home — from copyright infringement is vital. It’s also why you need Memory Valley Music.

The science of music

Music is incredibly interwoven into our everyday lives, and therefore plays an important role in our memories. Harvard Medical School has concluded that “listening to and performing music reactivates areas of the brain associated with memory, reasoning, speech, emotion, and reward.” In fact, two recent studies “found that music doesn’t just help us retrieve stored memories, it also helps us lay down new ones.”

It’s difficult to imagine a memorial service or celebration of life without some sort of music. The music associated with these events can resonate with families long after they’ve said goodbye to a loved one. In fact, Psychology Today explains that “listening to a piece of music that was played a lot during a significant life event, such as a wedding or funeral, can trigger a deeply nostalgic emotional experience.”

Music can also help families and friends navigate the grieving process. Listening to a song that reminds them of someone who has passed away can calm the body and mind, help them remember special times, and remember the role they played in that person’s life. As a funeral director, the music-accompanied tribute videos you create for families are much more than a photo album. They could be the key to the family’s continued healing and acceptance process.

What could go wrong?

In today’s hyper-social world, anything and everything can be shared online — including the tribute videos your funeral home provides to families. They will share these mementos for all the same reasons they watch them on their own: This combination of photos and music helps those who knew the deceased to retrieve special memories and relive significant events.

Sharing a tribute video online, however, presents a potentially devastating issue for your funeral home. Always-advancing artificial intelligence bots are combing the internet for copyrighted music — they can even detect snippets of a song that last only a few seconds. Next, these bots check to see if the music has been properly licensed. If it’s not, the people behind these bots — usually the companies who own the copyrights or represent the copyright owners — could take action against the individuals or the company who produced the piece, even if it’s a tribute video made for a grieving family by a funeral home.

Potential penalties for using unlicensed music

Let’s look at the potential outcomes. It’s possible that these copyright representatives could add advertisements to the video or ask the person who posted the video online to take it down — permanently. No big deal? Not exactly. What would you say if a family you served contacted you asking why they had to take down the video you made? What would you tell them when they asked why you used unlicensed music?

Here’s another scenario. Legally, the copyright owner could impose a fine on your funeral home. Currently, that fine is $300,000 — $150,000 for each of the two copyrights each song holds for the song’s composition and the sound recording. Say you use two unlicensed songs in one tribute video. Can your business take a hit of $600,000 in fines?

Preserve memories — and your reputation — with Memory Valley Music

Betsy Brumley and her team at Memory Valley Music don’t want any deathcare establishment to face either of these potential events. In fact, she created Memory Valley Music expressly to protect deathcare professionals from copyright infringements on tribute videos.

The services Memory Valley Music offers supplement the licensing protection offered to deathcare entities by the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) and the International Cemetery, Cremation & Funeral Association (ICCFA). While the performance music licenses provided by these organizations protect licensees from several types of copyright infractions, they do not cover synchronization issues, like those that could stem from tribute videos. This protection is only available with a synchronization license, which covers music that is synchronized with visual content. This is the protection Memory Valley Music can provide.

Memory Valley makes it easy

With Memory Valley Music’s recently-launched tribute video production service, users can create tribute videos to include properly-licensed songs. Simply visit, choose a package (which is priced based on the number of songs you’d like to use in the video), and add personal details and photos that tell the story of a loved one’s life. Memory Valley Music’s system lets you share a link with the family so they can participate in adding content, as well. When you’re done, you’ll get a watermarked version of the video to preview before completing payment. 

After you’ve approved the video, you’ll receive verification of the licenses you’ve purchased for the music and a link to embed the video on your website and send to the family to share with others on social media or via email or text. Anytime someone clicks the link to watch the video on your funeral home’s website, they’re actually linking to where the video resides securely on Memory Valley Music’s private server.

“Having one link to the video containing licensed music that you’ve purchased protects you from copyright infringement,” explains Brumley. “The link can’t be shared on YouTube, and the video can’t be downloaded to be saved on a flash drive or DVD. The license covers one recording of the song, and copying the video would require additional licenses.”

Get started today

If a song you’d like to use isn’t included in the Memory Valley Music catalog, Brumley and her team will work with the copyright owners to negotiate a license. This process can be time-consuming, so Brumley suggests that you share the most-requested songs with Memory Valley Music so they can get the ball rolling.

Brumley and her team are here to answer your questions! Visit today or reach out to Betsy Brumley at today so you and your organization can continue to provide the music-accompanied memories to the families you serve.