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Permission to record a cover song

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Ever wonder how to go about getting the approval to record your favorite cover song? Making it in Music's Hugh Hession gives you everything you need to know in this presentation.The Step by Step Guide …

Ever wonder how to go about getting the approval to record your favorite cover song? Making it in Music's Hugh Hession gives you everything you need to know in this presentation.The Step by Step Guide on How to Get Permission to Record a Cover Song.


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  • great first step-much need info
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  • 1. In fact, by law, ANYONE can record a cover song that has previously been released to the public by the original copyright holder. YES! And this is how ya do it…
  • 2. THE 4-STEP PROCESS: GETTING PERMISSION TO RECORD A COVER SONG Contact copyright owner with intent to record Copyright owner issues license Pay license fee (Statutory Rate) Record & release song!
  • 3. Contact Copyright Owner With Intent to Record The first step is to actually contact the person or company that owns the copyright. CONTACT THE PUBLISHER!
  • 4. How to Contact the Publisher? One of the best ways to search for a publisher is through the three major performing rights organizations. They all have online search. Shows publishers and contact info! ALSO – U.S. Copyright Office www.copyright.gov
  • 5. What Do I Need to Include When I Contact the Publisher? • Name of song you want to record • Name of label (if applicable) • Name of your band • Release date of song or album • Format (CD’s, digital download etc.) • Contact info (very important) • Distribution info (iTunes, Amazon etc.) • Any other pertinent info
  • 6. Copyright Owner Issues License The copyright owner will issue what is called a Mechanical License, giving you the right to record and release (sell) the cover song. You will pay a fixed rate per copy sold which is governed by law. Typically, you will account to the publisher (s) every quarter, however payment schedules vary.
  • 7. Say you wanted an initial run of 1000 CD’s, This is what you would pay: 9.1 cents per copy: 091 X 1000 = $91.00 Songs over 5 minutes are going to be calculated at 1.75 cents: Ex. 6 minute song: .0175 X 6 = 10.5 cents Pay License Fee
  • 8. Record and Release Song After you sign the Mechanical License and pay the applicable fees as needed, you are free to record, market and sell the cover song for a profit. Remember, you will continually have to pay your mechanical fees based on your sales so it is essential you keep good sales records. FYI:
  • 9. Hugh Hession Owner/Editor hugh@makingitinmusic.net FB: makingitinmusic Twitter: makingitinmusic Linkedin: hughhession Voting member, The Recording Academy, The Grammys Professional member, NARIP Artist/Performance Coaching & Development * LLC Formation Music Business Consultation (Skype/Email) * Speaking/Panels