Over the years, content creators have continued to think of more and more novel ways to work and rework their favorite songs. Not all songs are created equal, unfortunately, and different kinds of works require different kinds of licenses. In this article, we'll let you know what we can help you with licensing.
We charge a one-time fee of $.99 per composition for cover song licensing. In most cases, this will mean $.99 per track. There are no annual or subscription fees with Soundrop!
What We Can License:
A cover song is another artist's recording of a song that was previously written (or arranged), recorded, and released by someone else after 1924. Soundrop can help with licensing a cover song provided that the original work has been officially released in the US.
What We Can't License
If a song's music & lyrics were published before January 1, 1924, then the song is considered in the Public Domain in the US. To check if your song is in the public domain in the US, you can use this handy tool: pdinfo.com. If you are playing a specific arrangement made after 1924 (even if the original was written before 1924), you'll need to purchase a license.
Why we can't license it: No license needed!
Derivative Works: Translations, Interpolation & Modified Cover Songs:
Any time the fundamental character of the lyrics and/or melody are altered from their original fixed tangible medium, the use falls into a "derivative work". This requires a negotiated royalty rate or fee between the publisher and the music user.
Why we can't license it: Derivative works are not covered under standard mechanical (cover song) licensing.
Medleys & Mashups:
A medley is a series of songs recorded in sequence into a single track. Mashups are similar to medleys, but usually significantly alter the original composition of a song and qualify as a derivative work. If your medley or mashup alters the original composition of your cover, it may be best to consult a music lawyer!
Why we can't license it: At the beginning of 2021, the Music Modernization Act (MMA) went into effect, and it brought changes to how we license medleys. Now, publishers are required to register every medley as a new work in order to properly collect on royalties. This means that medleys no longer fall under compulsory mechanical licensing and require direct permission from the publishers for any future releases.
Samples & Remixes:
A sample is a piece of a sound recording that is used in another sound recording. While you can sample and remix your own content, cover song licensing does not extend to sampling and remixing work from other artists.
Why we can't license it: Direct permission from the original publisher and the original copyright owner is required.
Creating a parody generally falls under "Fair Use", and you don't always need a cover song license. Keep in mind that there are a number of factors that go into determining whether a song is legally a parody. It’s always best to contact a music lawyer to determine if your song falls under fair use.
Why we can't license it: Requires legal consultation and/or direct permission from the original publisher.
I already have a license
We aren't able to accept outside licenses for cover songs. You can certainly use your license for transactions outside of Soundrop (like sales on Bandcamp or physical CD sales)!