Audio-only & officially released in the United States
Cover song licensing can feel overwhelming, even after you've had some experience! For that reason, here’s a resource for Soundrop artists that have some knowledge when it comes to licensing but want to know more about deep cuts, complex releases, and hard-to-identify publishers.
- First, check out our licensing request tips article for best practices when setting up your cover song license request form, a few pro tips, and plenty of #goodinfo!
Compulsory Mechanical Licensing
- For a basic clarification of Soundrop's cover song licensing process, check out this article from our friends at Easy Song: https://support.easysong.com/hc/en-us/articles/360053287233-Compulsory-Mechanical-Licensing-Law
USA Music Stores
- When researching tracks to cover, one of the most useful places to check is the iTunes music store! Anything available on this platform is licensable as it satisfies the compulsory mechanical license requirement of an audio-only version of a composition being distributed to the U.S. store.
- For example, if you're looking to cover a song from the Touhou franchise then we strongly suggest using the wiki alongside the artists' Apple Music pages (here: Twilight Frontier and Team Shanghai Alice) to identify a link to the official release. These songs have unusual naming practices, so the best practice to follow is to find the closest transliteration of the song titles and listen to the tracks to confirm.
- Other stores (such as Amazon and Walmart) may have official store links for those hard-to-find physical-only releases but be wary of 2nd party sales-- only products from verified publisher sales will satisfy the eligibility requirements for licensing.
VGMdb (Video Game Music and Anime Soundtrack Database)
- Speaking of which, be sure to check out the VGMdb for video game cover songs! Any album that is classified as an original soundtrack, and has an official audio-only release in the US (such as this one for Pokémon Red & Green, see below), is acceptable for licensing. See below for an example:
Performing Rights Organization
- Lastly, you can use the ASCAP and BMI repertoires as an additional resource for identifying the original songwriters and publishers when licensing your cover songs. All the tracks listed here have composition documentation so that the artists and publishing companies can collect royalties and you can find our your favorite performer's middle name.
As always, don't hesitate to submit a request to our expert support team for clarification. The world of music is enormous and we're here to help you navigate it successfully!