What To Do When You Want Something


[Author’s note: This is the first installment in my Life Lessons in 250 Words or Fewer essay series. It will include short essays, like this one, that are no more than 250 words … plus an accompanied reading.]


“I wish I was a slave to an age-old trade.”

It was the perfect lyric. It would be the perfect ending to our new podcast.

The beat, the tone of the song … both were perfect fits as well. As was the song I’d found for the intro.

I had to have them.

But there was a problem.

I didn’t own the rights to these songs. Nor were these songs found on one of those websites where you can license generic songs for podcasts and videos.

These were popular songs, by bands on legitimate record labels. One had 465,189 views on YouTube. The other had 1,322,137 views.

I knew I needed proper permission, but I figured it would be a hassle to even get in touch with the right person. And I feared what the license fee would be.

I only wanted to use a 20-30 second clip of each. Perhaps I could just use them … and ask for forgiveness later should trouble show up.

The words of American Beauty’s Colonel Frank Fitts, U.S. Marine Corps, swung through my mind like an intolerant fist: “There are rules in life. You can’t just go around … doing whatever you feel like.”

So I went to the band websites. And I emailed every address given on the contact page. I expressed my genuine affection for the songs before requesting permission to use them.

Within 24 hours, I had written permission to use both … free.

It was that simple.

As is this lesson: if you want something, ask. You might actually get it.


Click to buy the mp3 for “Down in the Valley” by The Head and the Heart [affiliate link].

Image credit: The Head and the Heart’s Instagram

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  1. says

    Very inspiring. I’ve got a whole cache of songs I acquired from my old community radio days. You are giving me the gumption to …ask.

    And I love what you are doing here. I think I’ll swipe this idea for the relaunch of my blog in March.

    But I’ll link this to my Copyblogger Essay contest post before that.

    How did I find this obscurity? No, I’m not that much of a stalker. Demian friended me on FB (Southern Illinois roots). It was in his feed.

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