Wednesday, January 4, 2012


Want to cover your favorite song?

I'm in the process of licensing a cover song to release on iTunes and through other digital distribution platforms. It's a great song from one of my favorite artists... I'm not going to spill the beans just yet, so you'll have to check back soon to find out who it is... but needless to say, I'm very excited.

And, yes, you have to license the rights from the music publisher...

I know. in this day and age, intellectual property is stolen right and left, and no one seems to respect content creators (that's another story).... but licensing songs to cover is easier than ever, thanks to Limelight.

Limelight is a division of Rights Flow (which was just bought by Google), and they facilitate the licensing process. You just tell them the song, the writer, the publisher, how many copies you intend to sell, and they do the rest.

There is a small fee, of course.

And when I say small, I mean SMALL.

There is no excuse not to legally license a song. Established artists have long used cover songs to attract new fans and attention. Honestly, I'm hoping it exposes my music to a new audience. Not to mention I had a blast making my version of a classic.

The license is called a "mechanical" license, and it is compulsory according to the federal copyright statutes - meaning the publisher HAS to grant you the license.

Please note this is different than sync rights or other types of licenses and is only for recording and selling your cover version of the song.

But, what if your cover version is played on the radio... who gets the publishing money?

Can you copyright your performance of the cover song?

I'll answer these questions in a future post. (Disclaimer: I am not an attorney, and this is not legal advice. Seek qualified council for your legal needs).

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