3 Types of Copyright Licenses For Musicians

Once a song is written it can become difficult to keep track of which licenses are needed and how to go about getting the song sold. It is tricky to navigate that world. Listed below are three licenses and where to acquire them to make it quick and easy.

1. Mechanical License

A mechanical license allows for music to be distributed through many channels.   This does not mean that one can perform it or print off the sheet music, it is merely giving permission to distribute it. This license allows artists to make money off the mass distribution of their music through CD’s, ITunes, Spotify, and so on.

2. Performing License

This license grants permission to perform the music and this falls under two categories, performance rights in sound recording and public performing. Jasmine Thompson covered Ed Sheeran’s “I See Fire.” She needs performance rights to record the song and public performing rights to sing it at her concerts. All the while, Ed is still getting paid for his song. The licenses ensure that Ed get its due pay and that Jasmine cannot by sued for her use of the cover.

3. Synchronization License

A synchronization license ensures that the original musician of the work to get paid if their music is played in a commercial or video. It gives companies the right to approach the artist about using their song and then the artist the chance to get paid for that use.  Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song” is used in car commercials, she gets paid for that use and the company must have this license.

Various websites and businesses have been set up in order to collect royalties and get the licenses. Some of these websites include HarryFox.com, which specializes in Mechanical Licenses. BMI.com specializes in music genres from Country to Christian to theatre. It even has an international option in order to broaden the scope your composition reaches. The last website that is a great help is ASCAP.com which is user friendly and easy to navigate for all licenses.

The next time you write a song remember to copy right it in order to earn the maximum amount of royalties from it!

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Megan Trainor spends her days doing crossword puzzles, reading the news and looking for new music to listen to. She is usually a sucker for guitar but appreciates songs with meaningful lyrics and a strong bass.


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