Book Beat Babes

Book Beat Babes

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Using Music in your Writing! by DL Larson

I have a character, an alien, who loves rock 'n roll. His personality is perfect for searching out old tunes and singing and dancing to the beat. He is also extremely forgetful which causes trouble for me, the writer, to be sure credit is given to the musical artist inside my story.

The music industry has placed severe restrictions upon writers. Using a line of a song is taboo. Writers may use a title only, if they give credit to the artist who owns the song. Or the performer more accurately. Yet a writer's work may be used without permission if credit is given for their words. It doesn't matter how many words are used as long as credit is given. The credit may appear in the middle of a paper, at the end in a bibliography or in footnotes. Whole paragraphs have been used. Yet music artists retain their works completely.

Writing a book takes considerable time, probably longer than it takes a musician to write a song. A nonfiction book may take years of research before being published. Yet no one expects the general public to site the title only of a book when they want to share some bit of information inside the pages. The lopsided thinking is unjust and in my opinion selfish of the music world.

I'm all for giving recognition to artists of the written word, in any form. But I am frustrated the music industry has hog-tied writers in such a way. Many editors/agents shy away from stories with music in it for this reason.

I don't want to go into piracy issues, that's a different topic all together. And I realize money is behind all these restrictions. But it is also a cloak of injustice to writers. Most writers offer accolades to another artist when using some snippet of their work. No one wants to be charged with plagiarism. But not being allowed to use a line from a song when credit is stated for all to see, is wrong, in my opinion.  

I'd love to see these restrictions lifted.

But I won't hold my breath for it to happen.

Til next time ~

DL Larson


  1. I use music for inspiration a lot. In my books I don't usually mention specific songs or lyrics, but I will mention artists and their particular style.

    An alien who loves rock and roll?! I love it!!

  2. Thanks! It's been fun and weird all at the same time!
    I listen to music as much if not more than watching TV. Would be sad without music! :)

  3. Music mentioned gives a good hint of the personality of a character.

  4. It sure does! I like that you can discover more about a person through the music they listen to.