If you want to cover a song on an album you will need to obtain a MECHANICAL license. The good news is that user-friendly tools are available to help you get the licenses you need. If you are an indie artist, attorney with a hankering to release an album, church group, or other musical group… you can use the online licensing services offered by Limelight (at https://www.songclearance.com/) to obtain mechanical licenses.
A FEW POINTS ABOUT MECHANICAL LICENSES VIA LIMELIGHT:
- You need a mechanical license before distributing a recording containing a song or composition that you didn’t write.
- The most common mechanical uses are digital downloads, CD’s and ringtones.
- You need to secure mechanical licenses even if you are giving your CD’s, downloads and ringtones away for free.
- Limelight’s Pricing Calculator estimates that the cost to license a song for 100 CD’s is $24.10 and for 100 CD’s + 100 digital downloads is $48.20. (this cost includes the royalty fee and Limelight’s service fee) – check out the calculator at https://www.songclearance.com/clearance/calculator
A FEW OTHER POINTS TO KEEP IN MIND:
- Good idea to check with Limelight even if you think that you are using a work that is in the Public Domain… because, you want to make sure that you are not using a copyrighted arrangement of a Public Domain work
- If you wish to license a song or Master recording to use with a film or other visual content (including YouTube videos), the type of license that you need is a SYNCHRONIZATION license. (Contact the publisher directly for a synch license).
- If you are including a recording of someone else’s music in your album (for example within a track or as an instrumental line) you need a MASTER USE license, need to clear the publishing/composition rights AND secure a mechanical license.
See also, https://www.songclearance.com/faq/; Rights Flow at htsflow.com/what-we-do/mechanical-licensing-and-royalty-services/; Three Myths About Music Sampling at http://wp.me/p10nNq-4U; Copyright Is Valuable – The Happy Birthday Song Earns $2 Million a Year at http://wp.me/p10nNq-cl and @iplegalfreebies and www.kasterlegal.com.
BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.