A letter from Judy Pancoast on Licensing. Composer of House on Christmas Street


Dedicated elf
Jan 19, 2012
4217 Greenfinch Dr CO 80126
Hi all;

I wrote an email to Judy asking about using her "House on Christmas Street".
The House on Christmas Street - Judy Pancoast & Holdman Christmas

Here is her response that she asked me to share:
Hi Sean,
It was great talking with you on the phone the other day. I'm so glad you took the time to call to get this stuff straightened out. Following is a note you can pass on to the decorating sites. I really appreciate your doing this as I am SUPER busy right now and just don't have time to do it!
Here's the note, let me know if you think it's okay or if I should change anything.

Hello Everyone,
Sean kindly contacted me with questions about using music in videos, sequencing and all that jazz. I really appreciate him giving me the opportunity to share my thoughts on this issue and the offer he has made to post this message for me. I'm super busy right now finishing my second Christmas album and also working on a brand new live show, so this is a big help.

ASCAP, BMI and SESAC are Performing Rights Organizations. Their job is to license the music of their member songwriters. Businesses which use copyrighted music in venues where ADMISSION is charged or businesses that use it to increase sales (like MUZAK in stores. music in bars and amusement parks and such) are required to purchase a license from the performing rights organizations to use that music. From those licensing fees a "pool" is established and writers are paid according to how much their music is used. From there it's a really screwed up system as to how they figure out what to pay each writer and I don't even understand. Let's just say I've made less than $200 in my WHOLE career from ASCAP.

The bottom line is, if you are using the music in your display at your house then that is a personal, not a business use, and you do not need to purchase a license. If you do these things then you are okay:
You get the song (hopefully by purchasing it, and not illegal file sharing),
You sequence it for your own use
You don't charge admission to see your display.

On the question of your lo-frequency radio station, I have no idea. ASCAP can't even seem to keep proper track of music plays on regular stations, so I don't know how the heck they would monitor you guys. I wouldn't worry about it.

This is a different matter. If you are making a video that uses music and plan to show it publicly (i.e. on the internet) you are supposed to purchase a synchronization license from the writer/publisher. You are synchronizing the music to your video, basically. This is just like making a movie. You can usually find all the information you need on licensing just about any song at The Harry Fox Agency. They are at www.harryfox.com.

According to my intellectual property attorney, when you design a sequence for a particular song, you are essentially re-creating that song on a different platform. Your sequence can only be used with that song. If you do this for your own personal use, or you share your sequence for FREE, then in my opinion you are safe. HOWEVER, should you decide to sell your sequence then you must license the music that you use and that means giving a share of your profit from the sale of your sequence to the writer/publisher. Yes, you have done a lot of work and that's why you get the lion's share of the profit. The amount you pay the licensor is miniscule. I have licensed with three businesses that sell sequences of "The House on Christmas Street": Light-O-Rama, WOWLights and Superstar Lights. All of them have purchased legal licenses from me, and all of them pay a very small fee per sequence sold. And when I say small, I mean you can't even buy a cup of coffee with it. And that's no matter how much they sell the sequence for! You could sell it for $100 and I would still get a tiny tiny tiny fraction of that per sequence sold.
When I have stated this before on forums I got a storm of HATE messages, accusing me of being a money grubber trying to make money off from people's hobbies and USING decorators for fame and fortune. That couldn't be further from the truth. I am a full-time musician and my music is how I pay the bills. If someone is making money using my music then I am supposed to get paid. I really don't understand how anyone could have a problem with that, but some do.
Also, I think I'm a really nice person and a good person and it hurts me to have people say those things about me.

THAT BEING SAID, I speak now for myself, personally, and not for any other writer, musician or publishing company or record company (I am independent, which means I have my own publishing and record label):
I want to say that I am ETERNALLY grateful for the fact that decorators discovered "The House on Christmas Street" and use it in their displays. It seriously has been so exciting and wonderful for me to hear from people and meet so many wonderful people who are making so many other people happy with their displays. I've tried to get out to as many conventions as possible to meet you and sing for you. Yes, I am promoting my music but for me personally it's just been a wonderful, wonderful experience to meet so many really good people.

For several years now I have offered the mp3 of the original mix (there is a re-mix coming up on my new CD to be released this year) to decorators for free; all you have to do is email me and I'll send it right out to you. I've asked every decorator I've given it to if they would please post a video on YouTube in exchange for the free song, because, yes, it helps the song become known, and I APPRECIATE the help in spreading the word about my songs!!
So, here and now and forevermore...I hereby give a blanket license for FREE to any decorator who produces a FAMILY FRIENDLY video using ANY of my music and wants to post it on your own website or ANY video sharing site that is not pornography (!). ( Sorry, I've gotta say that just to be on the safe side...there are some weird people out there!!)

Recently I did learn of a way that YouTube is making it possible for songwriters to make a little money off from videos which use their music. If I opt-in to this program, then YouTube will place ads on the pages of videos that use my music, and I will make a few cents from each "hit." IT WILL NOT COST YOU A DIME. I hope you don't mind my doing this.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask me. You can email me on my website or call me on the number listed there as well. I'm ALWAYS happy to talk with you and correspond with you.
God bless you all,

Judy Pancoast


Jusy mentioned one other thing. She knows there have been videos posted of her music on youtube abd vimeo. She is fine with us posting her songs. Seh said that she has been approached by a company that offers a service where they scan all youtube videos, find the signatures of a song and then add a small add to the youtube video. Judy then gets a small revenue stream through that ad. If any of you notice an ad show up on your posted videos maybe other artists are using the same service


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Full time elf
Dec 30, 2011
Mölnbo, Sweden
Thanks for sharing this Sean.

and I can just think that it is a crying shame that not more people/musicians/singers/and most certainly record companies thought like Judy and saw our habit of posting videos of our sequencing as a way to PROMOTE their music.


Thats a well thought out and presented letter. She seems to know our hobby as she mentioned a few of the companys in it as they have purchsed the rights to the song. What I get from this is that we can do as we please on a private matter, once again posting the video is where it gets hairy. I for one becuase of this letter will be emailing her for the mix of the song and using it this coming year. I wasnt going to use the song at all, but for an artist to know where were coming from in this hobby I have great respsect and hope to sell a few singles for her personally. As I support this site, I will support the artists that support us. LMFAO is another one, I know they dont have christmas or halloween music but they not only supported Kevin, they went to his house, then asked him personally to help with thier new music video. Its the artists that think they are too good for anyone to enjoy thier music without trying to get money from every source possible that makes me angry. I know of plenty of cases where something like what we do sells records. Look at Carson Williams, Wizards of Winter (TSO) we all know TSO bennefited from that video that went super viral, and is still used from time to time on TV.

Point is great letter from a respsectful person. I thank you for sending the email, I thank you for posting it for us to see. Really helps at least me out when choosing who I use on my house.


LOR user
Nov 8, 2011
Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
GoofyGuy said:
I know of plenty of cases where something like what we do sells records. Look at Carson Williams, Wizards of Winter (TSO) we all know TSO bennefited from that video that went super viral, and is still used from time to time on TV.

I agree. Groups can benefit from our displays using their music.
I am one example. Before Carson's video I had not even heard of TSO.
2010 I bought the CD with Wizards of Winter & Christmas Sarajevo.
December 2011, I bought 2 tickets to their concert (which was good).

Cheers for Judy and her stance of bringing joy to the masses.
FYI, I will not ask for her to send me a free MP3, I will support her and buy the CD. :)