Earlier this week, my newsletter went out and included a free song download. (They all do….have you subscribed yet?) Several of the emails I received in response prompted this week’s post on a topic I’ve written about before at Listen & Learn Plus, but never here: mechanical licenses.
The emails I received asked if the free download, A Bushel and a Peck, is in the public domain — meaning it is not protected by copyright or the copyright has expired — and the answer is no. Just like I do with any other cover song (including this one), I went straight to Limelight to purchase a mechanical license.
A mechanical license allows musicians to create, distribute and sell recordings of compositions owned and controlled by another publisher. Even though I was giving my download away for free, I still needed a mechanical license in order to distribute it to others, since I don’t own the rights to the song.
Limelight makes this process quick and easy. You simply enter a few details about the song (title, artist, type and volume of distribution or sale, etc.) and then pay the fee that is determined by that information. My license for “A Bushel and a Peck” cost just $25. You can pay either by credit card or PayPal.
If you want more information, here’s a great article on this topic. Have you had any experience with licensing cover songs? And if so, did you use Limelight or another similar service?