Here’s Why Memory Valley Cares About You and Your Tribute Videos
Memory Valley Music is relatively new to the deathcare scene. Perhaps you first heard their name here in Connecting Directors. Or maybe you met Betsy Brumley and her team at the 2022 National Funeral Directors Association Convention & Expo in Baltimore. Either way, you might be wondering why Memory Valley Music cares so much about you and your tribute videos — or, to be more specific — the fact that tribute videos including unlicensed music could land you and your funeral home or crematory in hot water.
The answer is quite simple. Brumley and Memory Valley Music co-founder Kevin Bernier possess an in-depth understanding of the complex world of music copyrights and licensing. They’ve witnessed the unfortunate and expensive consequences of pairing music with recorded content without appropriate licensing. They also understand that although creating these types of recordings for families is important to deathcare professionals, it is not your area of expertise.
Why Memory Valley exists
They created Memory Valley Music to serve as a liaison between music copyright owners and members of the deathcare profession after experiencing first-hand the need for such a service. Sadly, Brumley lost both of her parents in 2020. While working with a trusted local funeral home, she realized that deathcare professionals seemed to be largely unaware of the dangers of using unlicensed music, and simply weren’t familiar with copyright requirements.
This wasn’t completely unexpected. Brumley is the first to admit that copyright law can be perplexing.
“People in the music industry have a hard time understanding it, so there’s no way on God’s green earth that the deathcare industry could understand it,” Brumley says. “It’s not their job and it’s not their expertise. Their expertise is taking care of families. My expertise is music because I’ve lived it my whole life.”
The services offered by Memory Valley Music 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 licenses provided by these organizations protect licensees from several types of copyright infractions, they do not cover infractions from using unlicensed music on tribute videos. These types of recordings require a synchronization license, which gives you the authority to use specific music that is synchronized with visual content.
Facilitating a vital connection
To provide deathcare professionals with the license required to use a certain song in a format designed to be recorded with images and replayed, Memory Valley reaches out to copyright owners on your behalf. This negotiation could be time-consuming and complicated, but with the background and qualifications of the folks at Memory Valley on your side, it’s something you won’t have to worry about.
Like so many deathcare establishments, Memory Valley Music is very much a family business. Betsy Brumley and Kevin Bernier are third-generation music publishers, record label executives, music supervisors, and copyright experts.
Brumley’s grandfather founded Albert E. Brumley & Sons, Inc., Inc. in the early 1900s. Albert E. Brumley & Sons, Inc. is a member of the National Music Publishers Association and the Church Music Publishers Association. They’ve advocated for music education in Washington, DC, and have served in an advisory role to the Recording Academy Board of Governors.
Additionally, music owned by Albert E. Brumley & Sons, Inc. has won 20 Grammys, an Oscar, a Golden Globe, five Emmy Awards, and one Pulitzer Prize. Three of their songs are in the Library of Congress. They’ve been recognized by the Smithsonian and the White House, and they’ve earned countless gold and platinum albums.
They’ve created songbooks and playlists for the Grand Ole Opry, the Louisiana Hayride, Renfroe Valley, Bob Wills, Buck Owens, the Oak Ridge Boys, Stuckey’s Convenience Stores, the Ozark Jubilee, and thousands more.
Lastly, but certainly not least, is the long list of recorded content in which Albert E. Brumley & Sons, Inc.’ music has been featured, which includes movies (2022’s Elvis, O Brother Where Art Thou, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, and The Apostle) and television (The Simpsons, 60 Minutes, The Waltons, CBS Sunday Morning, HBO’s Tremé, Call Me Kat, and Country Music: a Film by Ken Burns).
Owners and liaisons
Ultimately, what this impressive resume means is that Brumley, Bernier, and their families have cultivated connections with the music industry for generations — 124 years, to be exact. They are intimately familiar with the constantly evolving ins and outs of the business, its players, and its complexities. We could say that their experience is priceless — except that the price you might pay without their help in protecting your tribute video music definitely has a specific value. Each unlicensed song could cost your funeral home $300,000 in fines.
“We are committed to simultaneously representing the copyright owner and protecting the funeral home owner while allowing the bereaved to tell the story of their loved one’s life through legally obtained music,” says Brumley. “Our focus is on the copyright owner, the funeral home owners, and the bereaved.”
Being copyright owners in their own right through Albert E. Brumley & Sons, Inc., Inc. adds to Brumley’s and Bernier’s understanding of both sides of this partnership. The company currently owns 9,000 copyrighted songs, including “I’ll Fly Away” and “Victory in Jesus” — both popular selections for memorial services and videos.
To use either of these copyrighted songs, performers, including Keith Urban, John Legend, Reba McIntire, and Bruce Springsteen, have had to secure licenses from Albert E. Brumley & Sons, Inc.. In fact, the company has licensed the song “I’ll Fly Away” for recording more than 12,000 times, making it the most recorded song in the world.
Industry professionals have referred to the highly respected family behind Memory Valley Music as “music royalty,” but don’t let that label intimidate you. Betsy and Kevin are down-to-earth people who truly want to provide you and your funeral home with the highest level of representation and protection possible.
Working with Memory Valley
Memory Valley Music doesn’t offer legal representation or advice, and with their assistance in obtaining proper synchronization licensing before you record music on your tribute videos, you shouldn’t need it.
Betsy and her team offer access to legally-licensed music and will help you to obtain the proper synchronization licensing for songs that aren’t in their catalog that you may want to use in tribute videos and other recorded media.
With Memory Valley Music’s recently-launched tribute video production service, users can create tribute videos to include properly-licensed songs. Simply visit www.memoryvalleymusic.com, 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, or if you’d like to use your own tribute video software, 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 your most-requested songs with Memory Valley Music so they can get the ball rolling.
Before you record your next tribute video, talk to Betsy Brumley at Memory Valley Music about the services she and her team offer to deathcare professionals. Visit www.memoryvalleymusic.com today or reach out to Betsy Brumley at firstname.lastname@example.org today.