The ProShow Blog

Tips, tutorials & inspiration for making slideshows

5 Questions for Matt Thompson with SongFreedom


We all know that finding the perfect music track for your video slideshow is an important part of the creation process. But licensing music and finding great songs that you actually want to listen to can be a bit tricky.

That’s why we love the folks at SongFreedom. Not only do they have great licensing rates, they offer a wonderfully diverse and contemporary selection of relevant music from artists you’ve actually have heard of.

With all the questions that surround licensing music for use in video slideshow productions, we reached out to Matt Thompson (SongFreedon’s Founder and President) to put things in perspective! Check out our 5 questions for Matt below!

1. Why is it important to license a song when I’m creating a video to sell to a client or post online?

There are a lot of possible answers to this question but my favorite is artistic integrity. You’re an artist and so are the musicians creating these wonderful songs. If another company were going to use your images to sell their product or help promote their brand in some way, you’d probably want the right to give or deny permission. You may even want to get paid for another company using those images. It’s the same thing. You’re creating something for your client either as a salable item, a packaged “pull-through”, or just a marketing piece to promote your work on social media. Or maybe, you’re just creating a slideshow to showcase the images during a client viewing to evoke an emotional response, making them more likely to purchase prints, canvases, etc. Yes, these are all things you should be using slideshows and amazing music for, but of course, you should obtain proper permission by way of licensing the music.

Of course, there’s the whole legal side and copyright law but we hope that people will just want to do the right thing without fear of being sued. Artists should support other artists.

2. I paid .99 cents for my song on iTunes, does that give me the rights to use it in my video?

That song is for personal listening use only, not creating a video…especially one for your business. Without being boring and going into different license types and various points of copyright law, we can just look at this question from a common sense angle. If the iTunes thing were possible, then we wouldn’t have invested so much time and money into creating Songfreedom. The same goes for the existence of other music licensing companies. I would sure hate to think that we exist for no reason. Although, we do get to meet a lot of cool musicians so I guess it wouldn’t be for NO reason.

3. What if my client wants a very particular song in their video and it’s just not available to license?

This of course happens. I was at a bridal show once and heard a great answer to a bride from a local photo/video company called Switzerfilm. The bride had asked them if they could use a particular song that she wanted in their video. They told her that it wasn’t available to license yet but maybe would be by the time their date rolled around. However, they would love to help her pick some songs that would work well with her special day. She seemed somewhat satisfied by that answer but of course mentioned that the other company just down the aisle at that show said she could use whatever song she wanted. That’s when they got a little more candid with her.

They said, “Look, I’m sure you’re right, but we just won’t use music that isn’t licensed. As artists ourselves we don’t want to steal from other artists and of course we don’t want to break the law. At the end of the day, I think that everyone wants to do business with a company that is ethical, otherwise you might wonder what else they will do down the road that might effect you. Ethics aside, there is the legal aspect. What will you do if you book this other company and they get sued and put out of business 10 months from now because they wanted to play by their own rules? Then you’re 2 months away from your wedding and you have no one to shoot it, and it can be very difficult to find someone on that short of notice.”

The bride-to-be thought for a second and then decided they were right and booked with them right there. Instead of using a legal and ethical inability to use any song a bride wants as an apology, they used it as a way to establish trust and credibility.

I’m not saying this is the right answer for everyone, but it certainly worked for them. Apart from that, we have SO many songs available (mainstream, indie, cinematic, world, religious, etc.) that you’re sure to find something that will work for them.

4. How does SongFreedom have access to artists like Etta James and One Republic? It’s magic, isn’t it?

Well, every morning we do gather around a cauldron and throw in some random items and do a little chanting but I wouldn’t necessarily call that “magic”. In all seriousness, we’ve worked very hard for the ability to do what we do but there’s certainly been an element of luck (or whatever you want to call it) involved. We’ve spent a lot of time developing relationships with the right people and as long as we stay in their good graces, we can hopefully keep making licenses available for more amazing music.


Or maybe we are the only ones crazy enough to go through this sort of process and stick it out. Each song probably has an average of 5 people that need to approve its use. That’s a lot of hoops to jump through for each and every song. But we do it so you don’t have to.

5. What do you suggest is the best way to search SongFreedom’s music collection to find the perfect piece for a project I’m working on?

We’ve set it up so there are a few different ways you can search but my favorite way is to use our Sonic Search and let the site do the work for me. If you’re a music fan like me, you probably know what you want your video to feel/sound like. You can just type in that song and artist name into the search bar and our site will spit out everything that’s sonically relevant within our library. For example, if you want something that might have a similar feel to “Crash Into Me” by Dave Matthews Band (a very unique sounding song), then just type the song and artist name into the search bar and check out the results.

You can also use this same technology to get options that are similar to another great song you’ve already found in our library. So if you’ve already used “On Top of the World” by Imagine Dragons 4 times and love the way it feels but just need something different, you can hit “play” on that song and a Similar Songs box will appear under the player. Then you can start listening to everything on our site that has a similar feel. It’s really cool!

But if you’re not as musically inclined then click through some of our Mixtapes or just check out the filters up top. Maybe you want a big time photographer like Sal Cincotta to do your music selecting for you. Well guess what, we’ve got Sal Cincotta Mixtapes for weddings or seniors. Or maybe you just want to filter by something like genre, tempo, mood, instruments, or just about whatever. You can pick as many or as few options as you want.

Finally, there’s my favorite buttons, the Popular, New, and Trending sorting options. Just use these buttons alone or pick a genre or other filter option and see how using these buttons changes things. Obviously “New” is all of the newest music we’ve added to the site. You might want to check this every afternoon, because we add new stuff very regularly. Then there’s “Popular” and “Trending”. These are kind of the same thing but paint a different picture. Popular shows the all-time most popular songs on the site. It’s not a straight up number on how many times a song has been licensed, but part of a super-cool and sophisticated weighting system that shows favor to songs licensed more recently. It’s a really awesome thing that we’ve built here. And then the Trending sort is just like Popular, but on steroids. There’s a 100-song cutoff and a 2 week cutoff for this sorting option. That means that you’re looking at what is being licensed the most and most recently for the last 2 weeks down to the second. Check out the results and then refresh a few seconds later, they might change. I love to see what people are really into. It might be something we just added 24 hours ago that’s catching on big or something we added longer ago that’s getting new life.


Either way, if you want to see what songs other people think are amazing to use, then check out the Popular and Trending options. However, certainly don’t forget to check out what’s new. You could be the one that helps take a new song from zero uses to the top of the trending tab and maybe even begin to push it into that Popular section. You have the power to get an artist noticed and paid. How cool is that?

A big thanks to Matt for taking the time to speak with us. Check out theSongFreedom site to see their catalog of awesome songs for your video slideshows.




Amanda works in Photodex's marketing department and heads up the company's pr and events efforts. She loves photography, living in Austin and making slideshows.