Our clients often don’t know about the copyrights involved when you record existing songs. Anytime you make a recording - even a demo to give away, there are possibly two copyrights in play: one is the copyright for the song itself and the second must be paid if for the use of a commercial soundtrack.
First, the writer of the song is owed for use of their song. This © copyright is called the mechanical license. If the song has a writer/publisher, you must contact them and request a mechanical license to legally make copies of the recording. The going rate for writer royalties (mechanical) is 9.1 cents per copy, per song that goes to the writer of each song.The copyright for the song protects your lyrics and melody only and the copyright for the sound recording covers that particular recording of the song. Each song has only one © copyright for the underlying composition, and that covers your melody line (the notes you sing) and the lyrics. (You cannot copyright a title or a chord progression). If the song is public domain (probably a really old song), there are no mechanical payments involved (no need for the publishing information).
The second copyright you may owe is for the use a commercial soundtrack. Most companies have a leasing program which makes it easy to record with the same soundtrack as your favorite artist. These prices can range from $100-$200 per song depending upon the company that owns the soundtrack.
If you have written a song, you can contact the United States Patent and Trademark office at www.copyright.gov
Please note, our clients are responsible for obtaining proper permissions and licensing for all songs.