What Does It Mean When A Song Is Remastered?

26.07.2023 0 Comments

What Does It Mean When A Song Is Remastered
Remastering music improves the quality of the original copy of a song or album. The process aims to remove flaws from the music, to provide a cleaner, sharper, and more refined listening experience in line with modern audio standards.

What happens when a song is remastered?

So, what’s a remaster? – New formats mean that music needs updating via remastering. Perhaps unsurprisingly, remastering occurs after the initial mastering of a release. It’s basically a redo, and can happen for a number of reasons. A song or album receives a remaster often when transitioning to a different media format, such as vinyl to CD, or CD to digital streaming.

  • To optimize the music for the new format, different considerations come into play.
  • For example, CDs have greater potential for dynamics and lower noise than vinyl, which musicians, engineers, and record companies were eager to take advantage of when CDs first came out.
  • Nowadays, quite a lot of remasters consist of modernizing previous 16-bit audio masters created for CDs with new 24-bit remasters.

There’s also a lot of remasters intended to improve upon early CD masters of analog recordings with modern day equipment. The first significant wave of remasters began out of necessity with albums receiving remasters for reissue on CD. Generally, remastering involves taking the original unmastered mixes and putting them through a new mastering process that’s been revised either for a new delivery format or an improved overall sound.

Usually remastering happens in the hands of another mastering engineer. In some cases the original mixes aren’t available and the engineer tasked with the remaster has to make do with the original masters and apply the same principles for a remaster on top of a previously mastered track. In all cases the goal is to make the music sound the best it can.

Occasionally, the purpose is to undo the production sins of yesteryear.

How does a song get remastered?

What is remastering? – Remastering is the process of taking a previously released piece of music—whether a song, EP, or album—and applying new mastering processing to it. This often involves the use of both standard mastering tools, like EQ, compression, and limiting, as well as specialized restoration tools, like RX.

Is remastered different from original?

Remastered basically means that the game has been improved upon the sounds, hardware optimisation and most importantly, graphics. But, the story is unchanged. So remastered video games are actually old wines in a new bottle.

What does it mean when sound is remastered?

Remaster Process of changing the quality of previously created media

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Remaster refers to changing the quality of the sound or of the image, or both, of previously created recordings, either,, or, The terms digital remastering and digitally remastered are also used.

Is remastered music good?

Remastering music improves the quality of the original copy of a song or album. The process aims to remove flaws from the music, to provide a cleaner, sharper, and more refined listening experience in line with modern audio standards. On this page: How is remastering achieved?

Are remastered songs copyrighted?

Image by 453169 from Pixabay In 2019, Artem Stoliarov, a Russian DJ whose stage name is Arty, filed a lawsuit before the US District Court for the Central District of California, alleging that Marshmello’s song ‘ Happier ‘ copied the synthesizer melody from his 2014 remix of OneRepublic’s ‘I Lived’ (OneRepublic is an American pop rock band).

Marshmello, an American electronic music producer and DJ, won the case as Judge Philip S. Gutierrez held that Arty had contractually given up ownership of the rights over remix composition, and therefore had no grounds to sue. Background and decision In 2014, OneRepublic released the song ‘I Lived’ through their label Interscope Records.

Subsequently, Interscope and Arty’s company, Telma Music LLC, entered into a contract (the ‘Remixer Declaration’) in September 2014. Under the terms of the Remixer Declaration, Interscope offered Arty $10,000 to create a remix of ‘I Lived’, titled ‘ I Lived (Arty Remix) ‘.

  • The Remixer Declaration provides that Arty does not have any ownership or financial interest in the “underlying musical composition” embodied in the Remix Master.
  • Arty worked on the original masters produced by OneRepublic, crucially adding his own creative elements, i.e.
  • A derived composition (‘Arty Elements’).

In August 2019, Arty claimed in court that, although he has no ownership interest in ‘I Lived’ or the Remix Master itself, he owns the copyright over the Arty Elements that he added to ‘I Lived’ to create the Remix Master, and that Marshmello (and several other defendants including music publishers) had infringed his rights by using an instrumental hook similar to the Arty Elements.

  1. Specifically, he maintained that 19 out of 20 notes in Marshmello’s four-bar synthesiser for Happier were identical to Arty’s remix.
  2. The dispute came down to the interpretation of the Remix Declaration, and in particular of the term “underlying musical composition”, which is not defined in said declaration.

The defendants argued that such term refers to both the elements taken from the song ‘I Lived’ and the ‘Arty Elements’, i.e. the composition that underlies the remix. Therefore, since Arty signed and agreed that he is not entitled to own rights over the “underlying musical composition” – the argument goes – he does not hold any standing to bring copyright infringement claims against them.

On the contrary, Arty pointed out that the expression “underlying musical composition” refers solely to the original version of ‘I Lived’ by OneRepublic, and not the combination of the ‘I Lived’ elements and the Arty Elements in the Remix Master. This would mean that he holds the rights over the Arty Elements.

Judge Gutierrez sided with Marshmello and the other defendants by granting summary judgment of non-infringement, and holding that there was no ambiguity in the Remixer Declaration: the expression “underlying musical composition” – the judge confirmed – should be interpreted as referring to the finished remix track, and not the original OneRepublic master, which inevitably meant that Arty had also given up all of his ownership and financial interests over the Arty Elements.

From remixes to remasters Marshmello’s attorney has obviously cheered the ruling, noting that it is supported “not just by fundamental contract and copyright law principles, but also by longstanding industry practice recognizing that remixers do not acquire ownership interests in the remixes they prepare, unless they specifically negotiate for and obtain such interests from the rights holders”.

While the case focused on the interpretation of a contractual clause, the decision confirms that in general it can get complicated when it comes to copyright ownership of re-interpretations of previous songs or recordings, whether they are remixes (as in the Arty v Marshmello case) or remasters.

What is the difference between remixes and remasters? As also noted by Judge Gutierrez at the beginning of his decision, remixes of other artists’ songs and recordings involve “taking a popular composition or sound recording and changing it, sometimes by adding original material”. Thus, remixes entail that a song or sound recording is tweaked, for example by inserting additional lyrics or different instruments.

A remaster, on the other hand, is another version of a previous recording, which leaves the main structure of the latter intact. Remastering often enhances the earlier recordings as it gives a different sound experience for commercial or artistic reasons, e.g.

  • By exploiting digital technological advancements which may allow cleaning of the sound and removal of original distortions.
  • For example, several Beatles’ albums have been remastered,
  • Due to modern music production techniques, though, the line distinguishing between remixes and remasters is increasingly blurred and unclear.

US copyright law does not protect remasters, as they lack originality. A 2018 decision from the 9 th Circuit, i.e. ABS v. CBS ( Case No.16-55917 ), confirmed that. In this case the US Court of Appeals held that digitally remastered sound recordings could not be protected by federal copyright law.

The issue was whether a remaster, which involved subjectively and artistically modifying the sound balance, timbre, spatial imagery and loudness range, but otherwise leaving the previous record unedited, could be considered original enough to attract copyright. The court held it could not, “unless its essential character and identity reflect a level of independent sound recording authorship that makes it a variation”, which was not the case in this dispute.

Lessons We can draw lessons from both Arty v Marshmello and ABS v CBS, The first is that remixers who want to claim ownership of the copyright over their remixes should specify that in the contract. Second, if the person who does the remastering wishes to obtain copyright, they should not limit themself to contributions that are too mechanical or minimal, as the latter would be unlikely to be considered original derivative works.

  • A more significant input is needed (see also Chase Brennik, Termination Rights in the Music Industry: Revolutionary or Ripe for Reform?, 2018 New York University Law Review, p.803).
  • This is also in line with The Compendium of Copyright Office Practices ( Section 313.4(A) ), which reminds us that ” dubbing a sound recording from a pre-existing recording” is considered a work which does not satisfy the originality requirement because it is a mere copy.

Also, the US Copyright Office guidance provided in Circular 56 (Copyright Registration for Sound Recordings) interestingly explains that: A derivative sound recording is an audio recording that incorporates preexisting sounds, The preexisting recorded sounds must be rearranged, remixed, or otherwise altered in sequence or character, or the recording must contain additional new sounds.

The new or revised sounds must contain at least a minimum amount of original sound recording authorship. Mechanical changes or processes, such as a change in format, declicking, or noise reduction, generally do not contain enough original authorship to warrant registration. Therefore, not only do those who rework previous recordings need to contractualise their copyright ownership when negotiating with the owner of the rights over the earlier work, but they must also have given a clearly recognisable contribution that significantly adds to the existing work.

Absent either of these, they will likely be unable to invoke any copyright over their derivative works under US copyright law. _ To make sure you do not miss out on regular updates from the Kluwer Copyright Blog, please subscribe here,

How much does it cost to remaster a song?

The Cost Of Mastering A Song – Musicians have several options when it comes to mastering their songs, and they all vary in cost. One way to have songs mastered masterfully is to hire an audio engineer to put the finishing touches on your songs. The cost of hiring that audio professional will vary based on a number of factors.

  • First, they will need to take into account the quality of the production they’re given.
  • How well was it mixed, which is another process that happens before a mastering engineer becomes involved.
  • It’s worth noting that many audio engineers will mix and master at the same time, though, so it’s likely that the mixing will be done by the same person that does the mastering.

For those curious, check out our article: How Much Does It Cost To Mix A Song? The cost of having your latest track mastered will also depend on the complexity of the song that you are trying to create. The biggest determining factor in the cost of having your song mastered is the skill and expertise of the audio engineer.

A person that is relatively new to the industry may charge a few hundred dollars to mix a song, while engineers with major accolades will likely charge upwards of several thousand dollars to do the same job (only likely better). When deciding on an audio engineer to master your music, you should keep certain things in mind.

Make sure that you choose an engineer who understands the style of music that you make or who is well-acquainted with your genre. You should also make sure to listen to the music that they’ve mastered in the past to ensure they’re as good as they say they are. Perhaps most importantly, make sure the rate they’re asking for is in accordance with your band’s budget, If they’re charging too much for you to afford, it doesn’t matter how good they are. Another way to have a song mastered is to send it to a studio.

  • You’ll be able to upload your song and an engineer will master the song according to a package you’ve chosen.
  • This usually costs between $50 and $200, depending on the extensiveness of the mastering package you’ve chosen.
  • While this option is cheaper than hiring an audio engineer individually, it is far less personal and may result in a final product that isn’t aligned with what you had originally intended, so beware.

One more possibility is that you can master your songs yourself. Choosing to do so will require building a home recording studio, which will cost far more than paying someone else to master each song. It’s not a money-saver when it comes solely to mastering or mixing, but it’s an investment, and if you stick with creating tunes for a long time, it may eventually pay off.

Can anyone remake a song?

As noted above, once the songwriter has made an original recording or authorized someone else to make an original recording, they can’t prevent others from making a cover version so long as the musician making the cover version gets a mechanical license.

Why do artists remake songs?

What Is A Cover Song? – A cover song is a new performance or recording of a previously recorded, commercially released track by someone other than the original artist or composer. People love to do song covers and the consumer loves to hear them. They want to be able to connect to their favourite songs in their own way.

  1. For so many artists it’s a way of expression and also an appreciation of the song itself.
  2. More and more up-and-coming artists are now performing/recording cover versions as it is a popular way of getting heard and recognised.
  3. Social media sites like YouTube hold many videos of artists covering songs with tons of hits which have helped them towards their musical success.

An example of this is the Christmas John Lewis adverts such as the song “The Power Of Love” originally performed by Frankie Goes To Hollywood, this was covered by Gabrielle Aplin and charted at number 1 in the UK Singles Chart. This is what helped Gabrielle Aplin step into the limelight and become the success that she is now. Sometimes covers are new versions of older songs that are in the Public Domain, while others are versions of songs still protected by Copyright. For example, if you were to cover ‘Sorry’ by Justin Bieber in your home studio of some sort you would have re-recorded his (or someone else’s) copyrighted song. This then means that you own the recording but someone else owns the song itself.

Is a remaster always better?

Some Girls (Remastered) – The Rolling Stones discogs.com Make sense so far? That brings us to remastering, which is redoing that whole process again. “Sometimes it works, like with ‘Some Girls’ by The Rolling Stones, remastered by Bob Ludwig, one of the best in the field.

His version was vastly superior because it sounds cleaner, less harsh and brittle, and more nuanced.” Milner pauses before adding, “though sometimes remastering is just gimmicky, used by people who don’t know what’s going into the process but thinks the marketing sounds good. Remastering isn’t always better.” Why would you want to remaster an album? “Maybe the first time, it was mastered for a CD but poorly and now they want to get it right,” says Katz.

For vinyl albums, you’re trying to add back the technical elements that were lost when the first record was pressed. “Older records in the Sixties and Seventies don’t have a ton of deep bass. To fit more on the album, they cut everything off at 40 or 50 hertz,” explains Katz.

  • Audiophiles today are more critical, demanding a response down to 20Hz.
  • It takes more skill to fit that low-end material on a record.” Other remastering reasons include the pitches were originally wrong, adjusting levels that weren’t perfect, and reducing noise.
  • If the original was hissy in an annoying way, we can reduce that without a sonic compromise,” shares Katz.

As for how you remaster an album, the answer is: carefully. “Original analog tapes are delicate and can deteriorate with each play,” Katz says. “Record companies are precious with original tapes so, to avoid the master eroding, usually everything is transferred to digital format, at high resolution, ideally 24bit/192khz,

Is a remake or remaster better?

Reboot, Remake, Remaster, and Ports in Video Games – How Do They Differ? – So, let’s recall.

A remaster is an improvement in the visuals of a game without interfering with its other aspects. A remake is a redesign of a video game while retaining its key characters and story elements. A reboot is a new game with a fresh storyline, including some elements of the original game. A port is the process of transferring and optimizing a game to run on another platform.

Important note. Many people often confuse remasters and remakes and put them on a par, creating lists of the best remakes & remasters and merging them into one pile. Be above it – distinguish between concepts.

Graphics Changes Gameplay Changes Storyline Changes Game Design Changes
Remaster
Remake ✔ / ✘ ✔ / ✘
Reboot
Port ✔ / ✘ ✔ / ✘ ✔ / ✘

How to remaster old songs?

Originally Answered: How Are Songs Remastered? To remaster, take the original stereo mix that was given to mastering engineers for enhancement and compilation into a releasable format, and give it to a new mastering engineer to do the job on different equipment with his/her own different set of ears and preferences.

Why do remasters sound worse?

Let’s turn it up to 11: why audio quality loses out in the loudness wars Music fans may have noticed something odd when their favourite artists release new “best-of” compilations or remaster back catalogues for CD or iTunes. Over successive reissues, the same songs sound worse.

If the technology is getting better, one might ask why the recordings sound so more compressed and muffled? Did someone lock Zeppelin, the Clash, and Eric Clapton in a closet? Shouldn’t technological improvements be leading to better-sounding music? In making sense of this trend, however, the great economist John Maynard Keynes would not have been surprised.

To be sure, Keynes had abundant respect for markets as a means to spread the benefits of technological innovations. Put differently, he recognised that Adam Smith was often right – that the “invisible hand” of market competition could lead entrepreneurs seeking to advance their own interests to act in ways which promoted the collective good.

  1. But Keynes also saw another possibility.
  2. Adam Smith might also be wrong where markets give rise to collective action problems.
  3. In such settings, short-run desires might undermine the long-run common good.
  4. This analysis has most famously been applied to make sense of market “manias, panics and crashes”, as short-run speculative pressures feed on themselves in ways that culminate in unsustainable bubbles and eventual market busts.

Witness the subprime boom and global financial crisis. However, Keynes can help us understand an array of other market failures, in contexts far removed from financial settings. Indeed, the erosion of audio quality can be seen as also reflecting a collective action problem: everyone wants their music to be louder — and artists compete to “turns up the volume”.

Audiophiles have taken note of this trend, giving expression to the “the loudness wars”. In this struggle, record companies — if one may still speak of “records” — master recordings so that they will more readily capture the attention of casual listeners on the radio or iPod “shuffle” settings. In effect, each company fears that if its recordings are too quiet, listeners will tune out.

As a result, every company tries to make its recordings a little louder than everyone else’s. The subsequent “race to the bottom” has only led to a degradation of sound quality. One might ask: why isn’t it possible for the listener to simply turn the music back down? This requires venturing a little deeper into the morass of digital mastering.

  • In short, past a certain point, the remastering process is limited by the “mastering peak amplitude” of a CD.
  • Once this point has been reached, the only way to make the CD louder is to push more of a sound file to its fullest possible amplitude, decreasing the dynamic range across the track.
  • This can be seen clearly in YouTube clips which contrast original and remastered versions of the same song – and shows how songs can become “brickwalled” as every facet of the recording is,

The result is often to rid the track of delicacy and nuance. To be sure, some artists are so massive that they can get away with “opting out” of the loudness wars. The Beatles and ironically, Guns N’ Roses, have been praised for bucking the trend and putting out “quieter” remasters.

However, for other bands, including major artists like Led Zeppelin, Eric Clapton and the Clash, their older CDs often sound better than their “new and improved” remasters. And new music by such artists – even Paul McCartney and Bob Dylan – is often unlistenable. The only option here is to buy a vinyl remaster, where the physical limitations of the record itself limit how loud the mastering can go.

In sum, the loudness wars show how competition can have a paradoxical effect, lowering the quality of goods. Indeed, just as Keynes highlighted the paradox of thrift – “where there is no spending, there can be no saving,” critics of the loudness wars argue that “when there is no quiet, there can be no loud” – and so music really does sound worse than it used to.

What are remastered songs on Spotify?

Remastered simply means that the music has been mastered again, but using new technology that emerged since the album’s original release. It’s a common way to remarket old material and keep a song/album out there.

Can you hear the difference in remastered songs?

It depends upon the skill of the people doing the remastering and the quality of the material they’re working with. Some remastered music brings out nuances or instruments that were buried in the original mix, making listening to them a practically new experience, that’s the best!

What is the best quality for songs?

What is the best audio format for sound quality? – A lossless audio file format is the best format for sound quality. These include FLAC, WAV, or AIFF. These types of files are considered “hi-res” because they are better or equal to CD-quality. The tradeoff is that these files will be very large.

What is the difference between mastering and remastering?

What is the difference between mastering and remastering? – We’ve talked elsewhere about what mastering a track is – it’s essentially the final polish given to a track to ensure it sounds as good as it can, that it’s loud enough and all the vital elements are given the prominence they deserve.

Re-mastering is essentially the same process – but re-done! It’s important to note that just because a track or album has been remastered, it doesn’t mean that the original mastering process was flawed or somehow inferior. There are numerous reasons why artists would want their music to be remastered and foremost amongst them is the fact that new technology allows a greater level of detail to be achieved than was available even just a few years ago.

Where possible, mastering engineers will go back to the original un-mastered recordings –these can even be the analogue recordings from decades ago – and work from those rather than using the already mastered tracks and building upon those. This allows the engineer to get a real sense of how the songs originally sounded and possibly get a better idea of what the intention for the music was.

  1. Modern technology makes it possible for our mastering engineers to separate the individual tracks on multi track analogue recordings and make each one sound as good as possible before ‘reassembling’ them for the final recording with respect to the original outcomes.
  2. This means the engineers are able to remove some elements of the unwanted background noise and even to raise or lower certain elements of the music if desired.

However, the engineers tend to respect the authenticity of the original mix and not to tamper and change, but rather preserve and restore. Music may also be remastered because the artist would like to release a version that was closer to their original intention or they would like an ‘alternate’ version to be available – kind of like a director’s cut of a movie.

Other elements like the emergence of new listening platforms or trends also play a part in deciding whether to remaster music. Many records released in the ‘60s and ‘70s were mastered to sound good on record players, tracks released in the ‘80s and ‘90s were often mastered to be optimised for listening on a CD player, while tracks released in the past decade may have been mastered to sound great through in-ear headphones.

The remastering process will take all of these things – and more – into account when preparing their new master for release. Abbey Road has an extensive history of remastering records and in 2009 The Beatles’ entire back catalogue of studio albums was remastered here with the help of mastering engineers Simon Gibson and Andy Walter – the first time the records had been remastered since their release on CD back in 1987.

  • Speaking about the remastering process, Andy said: “Remastering and the use of ‘state of the art’ technology allows us to polish and remove the gremlins of both time and the recording medium such as analogue tape.
  • We can reduce background noise and hum, enhance and expand frequencies, improve analogue tape edits, remove unwanted electrical clicks and other extraneous unwanted noises – as well as better capture, at a much higher resolution, the magic of the original recording to any medium.

“It’s both a preservation job as well as a future-proofing enhancement of the catalogue!” Simon and Andy are two of the Abbey Road mastering engineers who are available through our online mastering service, which allows you to have the best engineers in the world working on your own music.

Why do old songs sound different?

A lot of it is to do with the difference in the balance of instruments, and the difference in tone of each instrument compared to how we usually want modern sounds to be. Also getting sounds right onto tape and not processing too much afterwards.

Can you remix any song legally?

Yes, you need a written record to make a remix. This means you need permission from both the copyright holder of the song and the master recording. Without this permission, it is illegal to remix a copyrighted track.

Do you have to pay to remake a song?

How much does it cost? – It costs nothing to cover a song when singing it live. However, it will cost if you plan on recording the cover version and then offering it for sale on a download website or as part of a physical CD or album product. On the Songfile website, they say the current cost for a mechanical license (e.g recording a cover song) is 9.1 cents per track.

Can you remake a song without permission?

Here’s the thing: You don’t need it. – A common misconception in the music industry is that you need to get permission from a copyright owner in order to cover a song. In reality, you can go straight to securing a compulsory mechanical license — required by law as part of the 1909 Copyright Act — and compensating the rights holder for their work.

  • If you’re not sure whether you need a mechanical or other license to release a cover song, be sure to read our detailed rundown of how you can help protect yourself from potential litigation*.
  • INCLUDING A COVER SONG ON YOUR OWN ALBUM You don’t need a license if you are releasing a cover strictly on streaming platforms.

Services like Spotify and Apple Music license songs and pay royalties to publishers as part of The MLC (The Mechanical Licensing Collective) that was launched in 2019. This means that artists releasing covers on those platforms are not responsible for any related royalty payments.

  1. If you plan on releasing a cover song as part of a physical and/or downloadable record, you will need a mechanical license.
  2. The current statutory rate for mechanical licenses in the US is 9.1 cents per downloaded song or song on a physical album purchase.
  3. You can secure this license through Harry Fox Agency’s Songfile, Easy Song, or the copyright holder themselves.

If you want to cover a work Songtrust currently administers, you can email us directly instead of contacting a third party service. Distributors like CD Baby will usually help you obtain licenses as well. If you want to release two different versions of a cover song (live and studio recordings, for instance) you will need to obtain two separate mechanical licenses.

PLAYING A COVER ON YOUTUBE Because YouTube is a video platform, you should obtain a synchronization license to share a cover on that service. Since this is often unrealistic for independent musicians, YouTube often displays ads on cover videos and pays royalties to the publisher from revenue generated by the clip.

While it is therefore possible to release a cover song on YouTube without a sync license, by doing so you are in fact violating the rightsholder’s copyright and they can file a takedown request at any time with YouTube. You can learn more about monetizing content on YouTube here,

  1. One final note: You cannot register a cover song in your Songtrust account even if you obtain the proper licenses or permission from the copyright owner.
  2. This is because a cover is not considered a new, original piece of music; since you do not own the work’s copyright, you cannot collect royalties from the underlying composition,

* Disclaimer: This article is for educational and informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. The content contained in this article is not legal advice or a legal opinion on any specific matter or matters. Want to learn more about sync? Learn the ins and outs of sync licensing, sync deals, and how to start collecting your royalties with our Sync Crash Course,

Why do artists remake songs?

What Is A Cover Song? – A cover song is a new performance or recording of a previously recorded, commercially released track by someone other than the original artist or composer. People love to do song covers and the consumer loves to hear them. They want to be able to connect to their favourite songs in their own way.

For so many artists it’s a way of expression and also an appreciation of the song itself. More and more up-and-coming artists are now performing/recording cover versions as it is a popular way of getting heard and recognised. Social media sites like YouTube hold many videos of artists covering songs with tons of hits which have helped them towards their musical success.

An example of this is the Christmas John Lewis adverts such as the song “The Power Of Love” originally performed by Frankie Goes To Hollywood, this was covered by Gabrielle Aplin and charted at number 1 in the UK Singles Chart. This is what helped Gabrielle Aplin step into the limelight and become the success that she is now. Sometimes covers are new versions of older songs that are in the Public Domain, while others are versions of songs still protected by Copyright. For example, if you were to cover ‘Sorry’ by Justin Bieber in your home studio of some sort you would have re-recorded his (or someone else’s) copyrighted song. This then means that you own the recording but someone else owns the song itself.

Can you remake a song without permission?

Here’s the thing: You don’t need it. – A common misconception in the music industry is that you need to get permission from a copyright owner in order to cover a song. In reality, you can go straight to securing a compulsory mechanical license — required by law as part of the 1909 Copyright Act — and compensating the rights holder for their work.

  • If you’re not sure whether you need a mechanical or other license to release a cover song, be sure to read our detailed rundown of how you can help protect yourself from potential litigation*.
  • INCLUDING A COVER SONG ON YOUR OWN ALBUM You don’t need a license if you are releasing a cover strictly on streaming platforms.

Services like Spotify and Apple Music license songs and pay royalties to publishers as part of The MLC (The Mechanical Licensing Collective) that was launched in 2019. This means that artists releasing covers on those platforms are not responsible for any related royalty payments.

  • If you plan on releasing a cover song as part of a physical and/or downloadable record, you will need a mechanical license.
  • The current statutory rate for mechanical licenses in the US is 9.1 cents per downloaded song or song on a physical album purchase.
  • You can secure this license through Harry Fox Agency’s Songfile, Easy Song, or the copyright holder themselves.

If you want to cover a work Songtrust currently administers, you can email us directly instead of contacting a third party service. Distributors like CD Baby will usually help you obtain licenses as well. If you want to release two different versions of a cover song (live and studio recordings, for instance) you will need to obtain two separate mechanical licenses.

PLAYING A COVER ON YOUTUBE Because YouTube is a video platform, you should obtain a synchronization license to share a cover on that service. Since this is often unrealistic for independent musicians, YouTube often displays ads on cover videos and pays royalties to the publisher from revenue generated by the clip.

While it is therefore possible to release a cover song on YouTube without a sync license, by doing so you are in fact violating the rightsholder’s copyright and they can file a takedown request at any time with YouTube. You can learn more about monetizing content on YouTube here,

  • One final note: You cannot register a cover song in your Songtrust account even if you obtain the proper licenses or permission from the copyright owner.
  • This is because a cover is not considered a new, original piece of music; since you do not own the work’s copyright, you cannot collect royalties from the underlying composition,

* Disclaimer: This article is for educational and informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. The content contained in this article is not legal advice or a legal opinion on any specific matter or matters. Want to learn more about sync? Learn the ins and outs of sync licensing, sync deals, and how to start collecting your royalties with our Sync Crash Course,

Can anyone remake a song?

As noted above, once the songwriter has made an original recording or authorized someone else to make an original recording, they can’t prevent others from making a cover version so long as the musician making the cover version gets a mechanical license.

Do you have to pay to remake a song?

How much does it cost? – It costs nothing to cover a song when singing it live. However, it will cost if you plan on recording the cover version and then offering it for sale on a download website or as part of a physical CD or album product. On the Songfile website, they say the current cost for a mechanical license (e.g recording a cover song) is 9.1 cents per track.