How to Release a Cover Song: The 5 Step Cover Licensing Checklist

Last Updated on April 18th, 2019 at 2:58 pm

Cover Song

Wondering how to launch a cover song? It isn’t as complicated as you may think.

A recording is a fun and simple part. However, to get it out into the world, you will need a distribution strategy that works for your cover song and a mechanical license to go with it.

In fact, commercially releasing a cover song might be complicated for independent. However, don’t fret.

In this article, you will learn everything you should know to get your cover songs released legally in 5 quick steps.

1. Pick the perfect song

How do you select the right music to cover? There is no exact science.

However, there are some helpful approaches to consider when selecting your cover material.

  • Share an influence your followers could not know you have
  • Make a statement by re-contextualizing a classic
  • Reveal the core of a song by changing its genre
  • Choose a track you find challenging and use it to sharpen your own skills
  • Cover a song that’s always stuck in your head and figure out why it is so catchy

No matter you pick, select wisely. Don’t choose a track just since you think it’ll get lots of streams.

Choose a song that can teach you something just by learning and recording it.

2. Ensure it’s still a cover

A cover track is a recording of a previously launched song that has kept the same composition (lyrics, melody and song structure) as the original version.

In case you begin changing your cover too much, it may not be a cover anymore…

Cover song licensing doesn’t extend to:

  • Remixes
  • Samples
  • Mashups

Stay true to the original composition and keep it a cover. It will assist you to avoid headaches if you’re releasing.

3. Find the right mechanical license

You need a mechanical license to distribute your covers.

Mechanical licenses make sure that your covers are legal to distribute and that everybody who need to be getting paid, is getting paid.

However, without help, licensing cover songs could be a huge hassle—the terms are sometimes confusing and time-consuming.

Fortunately, digital distribution has made cover song licenses for all major streaming platforms easy and fast.

There are lots of methods to get a mechanical license. So your greatest bet is to keep it as easy and affordable as possible.

Most distributors charge up front for cover song licensing. LANDR is the only distributor that provides free cover song licensing with your subscription.

4. Lock down the details

To launch a cover song, you should enter a bit of info.

In case you’re not sure where to find the right information for your covers, Harry Fox Agency gives a great resource to figure it out.

Just search your cover song and grab the following particulars:

The original song title

Enter the original track title of your cover. Keep away from the temptation to edit the title for flavor. Stick to the facts.

Hot tip: Do not put “(cover)” or “cover version” in the title. The original title is all you need.

At least one original songwriter

You covered a track by your favorite band, however, have you ever actually looked at the songwriting credit?

It’s possible that the credited songwriter is not who you expect. No problem, just search your track on the Harry Fox Agency database to get the information you need.

Be sure to get it right. That is the information that determines who gets paid. If the track is not attributed properly, it’s gonna be an issue!

The original performing artist

Be sure to embody the original performing artist if you’re releasing your cover.

This one is simple. Just enter the name of the artist you’re masking and you’re completed!

5. Think about where it’s gonna live

When you’ve distributed your cover song it’s time to promote it.

Is it a single? A deep cut on your album? Or perhaps it’s for a compilation or playlist?

Think about where your cover song will live as soon as it’s distributed. It will assist you to find out a launch date and prepare for sharing your song.

If it’s on an album, then your strategy will be the same as your album launch rollout plan. Undecided where it fits on your album? Read album sequencing information for some ideas.

In case your cover is a single, think about building a playlist or story around it for your social media channels. Do not keep it undercover. In case you cover something, inform your followers!

No matter how you launch it, think about the best home for your cover songs before you license it and always share with care.

Crimson and Cover

Cover songs are an amazing method to bring creativity and intrigue into your catalog.

Plus, easy cover song licensing means you get to concentrate on the fun part: recording and releasing.

So think about doing a cover of your own with these 5 easy steps, and make covers a part of your process.

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