Questions? We’ve got you Covered
Read through the information below for answers to our most frequently asked questions
What’s A Mechanical License?
A mechanical license gives you the right to reproduce and distribute a copyrighted song on a permanent digital download. More info can be found here.
What qualifies as a cover song?
Any performance or recording of a song that was written, recorded and previously released by another artist is classified as a cover song. No matter how unique and different your version is, someone else legally owns the song and is therefore entitled to royalties.
How Do I Know if I Need a Mechanical License?
If you are manufacturing and distributing copies of a song that you do not own or control, you need to obtain a mechanical license. This is required by the U.S. Copyright Act, regardless of whether or not you are selling the copies that you make. Under the U.S. Copyright Act, the right to use copyrighted, non-dramatic musical works in the making of sound recordings, including permanent digital downloads for distribution to the public for private use is the exclusive right of the copyright owner. However, the Act provides that once a copyright owner has recorded and distributed such a work to the U.S. public or permitted another to do so, a compulsory mechanical license is available to anyone else that wants to record and distribute the work upon obtaining a proper license and subsequently paying royalties at the statutory “compulsory” rate as set forth in Section 115 of the Act and the related regulations. In other words, if the song has already been recorded and commercially released, you can record and distribute it as long as you obtain a license and pay royalties. You don’t need a mechanical license if you are recording and distributing a song you wrote yourself (and you haven’t assigned the publishing to another party), or if the song is in the public domain. After you purchase your license, Royalty Solutions does the research to determine if the work is public domain or not. If so, your money will be refunded as no license is required.
Is There Ever a Case in Which I Wouldn’t Need a Mechanical License?
There are very few cases in which you do not need a mechanical license. However, a mechanical license is not needed if:
- You are recording and/or distributing material that you have personally written*
- The song is in the public domain
* Please note: If you wrote the song, but publishing was assigned to a third party, distribution rights are in accordance with the agreement made between you and the third party.
Are Any Songs Off Limits?
No song is off limits, so long as it has already been recorded and commercially released. As long as you obtain a mechanical license prior to the release date and pay royalties, you can cover any song you like.
Do I Need to Contact the Owner of the Song? Is There a Contract Involved?
There is no need to contact, contract or communicate with the owner of the song—Royalty Solutions will take care of that. Once you complete the proper registration and licensing process you are automatically granted a license and can begin distribution. You worry about the music, we’ll worry about everything else.
Are There Any Limitations? If So, What are They?
Yes, there are some restrictions. In order to abide by US Copyright Law:
- You are allowed to make a new arrangement of the song, but cannot fundamentally change the lyrics or the melody.
- Licenses only cover songs that have already been released. The songwriter (copyright holder) has the right to be the first to release their song.
- The license does not cover public performances, background tracks or karaoke. It ONLY covers the sale of your recordings for private listening.
- Mechanical licenses are valid for the U.S. only
What if I Want to Use the Song in a Video?
A mechanical license doesn’t include the use of a song in a video. That use requires a synchronization license, which can be obtained by contacting the publisher(s) directly.
Is there More Than One Type of Mechanical License? How do I Know Which One Is Right for Me?
We offer two licensing options; Limited and Standard. The majority of our artists opt for the Standard License, because it is more comprehensive and lasts forever. To decide which option best suits your needs or to compare your options, visit our Pricing page.
If I Purchase a Limited License can I Change My Mind at a Later Time and Get a Standard License instead?
Yes, we offer the option to convert a license should you so choose. For detailed information please see our Pricing Page.
What are your Rates?
Royalty Solutions offers statutory rate licensing for permanent digital downloads.
The statutory mechanical royalty rate for permanent digital downloads is:
9.10¢ per copy for songs 5 minutes or less, or
1.75¢ per minute or fraction thereof, per copy for songs over 5 minutes.
For more detailed information on rates and pricing, visit our Pricing page.
What makes Royalty Solutions different than other licensing services?
For Limited Licenses, where you license for a specific quantity, Royalty Solutions tracks the sales from your Tunecore account and notifies you when your quantity sold exceeds the quantity licensed. You will receive an email from Royalty Solutions saying you exceeded your quantity licensed (expired license) that will give you the option to relicense the track for additional quantities sold, or convert it to a standard license with no limits on quantity sold. So other licensing service offers this option.
In addition to the Limited License, Royalty Solutions offers a Standard License option, which means you are covered forever and do not have to stop distributing or re-license. It also means that Royalty Solutions will keep track of your sales and charge your credit card quarterly, if you’ve had sales for that quarter. In other words, you buy a perpetual license and Royalty Solutions does all the tracking and accounting for you to make sure you’re keeping it legal. You will only be charged if you sell- that’s it. Easy and worry-free.
Please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org with your additional questions or comments.
(Please allow 1-3 business days for a response)