Cover EP: Licensing & Copyright

For my cover EP, which I will be recording very soon, I need to understand how copyright and licensing works for cover songs.

What is Licensing?

“Music licensing is the licensed use of copyrighted music. Music licensing is intended to ensure that the owners of copyrights on musical works are compensated for certain uses of their work.”

Because I am doing a covers EP, the type of license that I will need is a mechanical license. A mechanical license refers to the reproduction (for distribution or sale) of a sound recording. This license is issued by the songwriter or publisher of the song.

As my EP is going to be released on SoundCloud, I need to focus more on the digital side of licensing. For digital downloads, the royalties are actually determined by the amount of downloads.

— The statutory rate of royalties is 9.1¢ per song. So, for example, if my EP was downloaded 500 times, with 4 covers, the royalties owed would be $18.20. (500 downloads x 4 covers x 9.1¢ per song). —

However, you can get different rates from different sites:

  • LOUDR: $15 service fee + publisher royalties = your total per license

What is Copyright?

Every record has 2 separate copyrights, these are:

  • The composition itself – the records music, lyrics. This copyright is owned by the songwriter and/or publisher.
  • The sound recording – a particular recorded version of a musical composition. This copyright is owned by the recording artist and/or label.

So when I record the songs I will own the copyright in that recording, but will need permission to use the songs as I don’t own this copyright. | |



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