How to Legally License Cover Songs

by Jon Goad

As the owner of a recording studio, one very common question that I’ve been asked is, “can I record a cover song and put it on my CD?” To which I’ve usually answered, “you can, but you have to get what is called a ‘mechanical license’, and it can be kind of a pain. If you’re serious about it, just go Google-search ‘mechanical license'”, to which most people respond with a “deer-in-the-headlights” kind of look.

Thankfully, there’s now a better way to get a mechanical license. Limelight is a new service that allows you to obtain a license online by completing a simple application and submitting it through the Limelight website.

The steps are easy:

  1. Go to the Limelight website and sign up.
  2. Enter the details about the song/s you are covering and including on your CD.
  3. Pay the fees to Limelight (as little as $15 per song plus royalties).
  4. Receive your license/s.
  5. Limelight pays the songwriters and publishers for you.
  6. With the explosion of independent music in the past few years, I suspect that many independent artists have probably included cover songs on their CD’s without obtaining the proper licensing. Those who have done so are actually breaking the law. It’s good to know that now there’s an easy and affordable provider of this service which will help keep artists from breaking the law and ensure that the copyright owners are paid what is owed to them for the use of their material.

    Limelight Website

    Limelight FAQ

    Limelight Prices

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