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Acquiring permission to post a cover on SoundCloud

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Acquiring permission to post a cover on SoundCloud

Postby garrettendi » Thu Oct 05, 2017 11:53 am

As an experiment and a means of learning how to sing, record, mix and master, I'm going to record a cover of a song. If it makes any difference - it's a Christian worship song (I do a whole bunch of different genres in my solo project).

Now obviously I can't post this on SoundCloud as is, nor onto here for the much-needed feedback without rights and permissions from the original artist.

So how do I go about getting permission? Would I be expected to pay even if it's released for free without making any profit on it? Who would I contact? The songwriter? The record company?

This may be too big an exercise for me to undertake!
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Re: Acquiring permission to post a cover on SoundCloud

Postby forumuser939850 » Thu Oct 05, 2017 1:00 pm

Yeah, legally probably you're not allowed to post a recording of a cover, so I would just give (email?) it to people who agree to listen to it.

It's relatively easy to license a cover song for publication (mechanical license), but it's my understanding that it's not a good idea to put it for free then anywhere because it could create costs for you every time it's streamed.

Some services offer to get you a mechanical license for you for a c. $10 fee. Random links on the topic:

http://www.makeitinmusic.com/licence-cover-song/
http://diymusician.cdbaby.com/music-rig ... ver-songs/

Some people say you could just post it and see what happens, but I would not recommend that.
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Re: Acquiring permission to post a cover on SoundCloud

Postby CS70 » Thu Oct 05, 2017 1:30 pm

Normally a published song is licensed from the publisher or a company which have acquired the rights - Getty music for example. But that has a cost so makes little sense to do it just for learning? Why publishing the results? If your aim is to get feeedback, make a Dropbox link and share it in a private place (for example the music lounge here) and take it down after the feedback round
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Re: Acquiring permission to post a cover on SoundCloud

Postby garrettendi » Thu Oct 05, 2017 2:11 pm

CS70 wrote:Normally a published song is licensed from the publisher or a company which have acquired the rights - Getty music for example. But that has a cost so makes little sense to do it just for learning? Why publishing the results? If your aim is to get feeedback, make a Dropbox link and share it in a private place (for example the music lounge here) and take it down after the feedback round

That's true I guess. But wouldn't that breach the rules for Dropbox for the same reason as SoundCloud? The terms and conditions on Dropbox state that you cannot share copyrighted material you do not own.

Also is that not against the rules of the SOS forum? I know someone got banned for a week recently for sharing a SoundCloud with unlicensed copyrighted material.
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Re: Acquiring permission to post a cover on SoundCloud

Postby Dave B » Thu Oct 05, 2017 2:12 pm

So with all the tracks that I have put up on Soundcloud, the only takedown notice I ever got was my Floyd band playing 'Breathe' as we used a sample of 'speak to me' to start the track. But my Soundcloud account is full of covers - usually live recordings or rehearsal recordings.

As with most things, the law is there to protect against exploitation - so if this is your version of a song, then the worst that usually happens is that someone gets snotty. They'd have to be pretty cold hearted (and terribly un-Christian) to give you serious grief. Just make sure that you don't profit from the song - so no commercial release or charging - and most people are cool.

:)
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Re: Acquiring permission to post a cover on SoundCloud

Postby Guest271017 » Thu Oct 05, 2017 2:23 pm

Dave B wrote:So with all the tracks that I have put up on Soundcloud, the only takedown notice I ever got was my Floyd band playing 'Breathe' as we used a sample of 'speak to me' to start the track. But my Soundcloud account is full of covers - usually live recordings or rehearsal recordings.

As with most things, the law is there to protect against exploitation - so if this is your version of a song, then the worst that usually happens is that someone gets snotty. They'd have to be pretty cold hearted (and terribly un-Christian) to give you serious grief. Just make sure that you don't profit from the song - so no commercial release or charging - and most people are cool.

:)

You bring religion into it, yet you condone thievery. Doesn't appear you're very 'Christian" if you pick and choose Commandments you'll follow, does it?

If you gain an education from the exercise, you've technically profited.

Anyone who finds the need to post covers just shows a lack of talent and creativity. I can play any Zeppelin tune you can name, to the album, but I've never done a cover let alone posted one.

There's a lot of skirting of copyright rules around here lately and not much being done about it. Threads here and in the lounge clearly link to copyrighted yet are allowed to remain. Why would anyone link to their music on a site frequented by the type?
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Re: Acquiring permission to post a cover on SoundCloud

Postby garrettendi » Thu Oct 05, 2017 2:25 pm

mashedmitten wrote:You bring religion into it, yet you condone thievery. Doesn't appear you're very 'Christian" if you pick and choose Commandments you'll follow, does it?

If you gain an education from the exercise, you've technically profited.

Anyone who finds the need to post covers just shows a lack of talent and creativity. I can play any Zeppelin tune you can name, to the album, but I've never done a cover let alone posted one.

There's a lot of skirting of copyright rules around here lately and not much being done about it. Threads here and in the lounge clearly link to copyrighted yet are allowed to remain. Why would anyone link to their music on a site frequented by the type?

I am not intending to steal anything, hence why I asked how I can get permission?
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Re: Acquiring permission to post a cover on SoundCloud

Postby Guest271017 » Thu Oct 05, 2017 2:26 pm

garrettendi wrote:
mashedmitten wrote:You bring religion into it, yet you condone thievery. Doesn't appear you're very 'Christian" if you pick and choose Commandments you'll follow, does it?

If you gain an education from the exercise, you've technically profited.

Anyone who finds the need to post covers just shows a lack of talent and creativity. I can play any Zeppelin tune you can name, to the album, but I've never done a cover let alone posted one.

There's a lot of skirting of copyright rules around here lately and not much being done about it. Threads here and in the lounge clearly link to copyrighted yet are allowed to remain. Why would anyone link to their music on a site frequented by the type?

I am not intending to steal anything, hence why I asked how I can get permission?

Sorry, got wound up. Wasn't speaking to you, you're doing the right thing by getting permission.
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Re: Acquiring permission to post a cover on SoundCloud

Postby garrettendi » Thu Oct 05, 2017 2:30 pm

mashedmitten wrote:Sorry, got wound up. Wasn't speaking to you, you're doing the right thing by getting permission.

No worries. And I see your point about a lack of creativity with regards to covers, but I just feel I really need to stetch myself by recording something that can be compared to an original.

If for instance, my vocals are completely out of tune on an original recording, you could argue that that's "supposed to be like that" but when you have a direct comparison to an established piece of music, you can really get constructive feedback.

At least, that's how I feel.
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Re: Acquiring permission to post a cover on SoundCloud

Postby Mike Stranks » Thu Oct 05, 2017 2:30 pm

I think you'll be fine...

Just make sure you disable downloads... :)

IME most published Christian artists are keen for others to develop their skills and are relaxed as long as you're not stealing their bread or profiting from their original work.

The big problem over the years has been Christian bands/artists not being given their dues "because it's for church (or related activity) use." I know several people whose songs are the staple of contemporary worship who have been exploited in this way. Funny how some Christians think that civil law doesn't apply to them if their law-breaking is for "Christian" purposes. :roll:

... and :thumbup: :clap: to you for being aware of the issue and asking the question. :)
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Re: Acquiring permission to post a cover on SoundCloud

Postby Dave B » Thu Oct 05, 2017 2:35 pm

FYI : I'm not very Christian. There are a lot of different opinions within the artistic community on this issue. If copyright is so cut and dry, why do they do restricted use licensing for small scale - but still technically commercial - runs?

If you take your argument to it's logical conclusion, then we should be charging kids in the streets for singing. Or people with car windows open and music on for 'public performance'.

People 'profit' from discussing with others on these very forums - should we demand payment when we post a response on a thread?

So let's knock on the door and ask for Ronny Real here.

Soundcloud has the facility to make songs uploaded 'private' so that they are not publicly streamable. So you could upload to there and only publish a private link.
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Re: Acquiring permission to post a cover on SoundCloud

Postby garrettendi » Thu Oct 05, 2017 2:38 pm

Dave B wrote:People 'profit' from discussing with others on these very forums - should we demand payment when we post a response on a thread?

If you guys ever do this I don't think my bank balance would ever recover!

So I'll take this opportunity to express gratitude to everyone on this forum!
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Re: Acquiring permission to post a cover on SoundCloud

Postby zenguitar » Thu Oct 05, 2017 2:46 pm

garrettendi wrote:Also is that not against the rules of the SOS forum? I know someone got banned for a week recently for sharing a SoundCloud with unlicensed copyrighted material.

There are legitimate ways to use copyright material, Hugh and I both made that clear. The member wasn't banned for that, he was banned for explicitly saying he had no respect for rights owners, and expressing it in very offensive language.

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Re: Acquiring permission to post a cover on SoundCloud

Postby garrettendi » Thu Oct 05, 2017 2:48 pm

Thanks for explaining Andy. No offence or accusation was intended, sorry.
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Re: Acquiring permission to post a cover on SoundCloud

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Oct 05, 2017 3:17 pm

mashedmitten wrote:Are you really trying to compare copyright infringement to a forum, or is it that you don't have solid ground to stand on and are grasping at straws?

This is getting quite tiresome. It is not your role to admonish the views and opinions of others.

If you feel someone is abusing the copyright rules then by all means flag it up using the report system for the mods to consider and resolve, but flaming in public isn't going to help anyone.

As far as I can see here, everyone is being respectful of copyright law and the reasons for its existence, while seeking and offering practical and sensible ways of solving the OPs dilemma of gaining experience and feedback.

But since you're so keen on the forum rules, can I remind you of this part:

Unfortunately, like every other online forum, the SOS Forum sometimes attracts the attention of Internet Trolls who seek to cause disharmony among the legitimate users by making spurious or inflammatory posts. Anyone suspected of this kind of behaviour will be warned by the moderating team only once (check your forum Private Messages!). Continued inappropriate posts after a warning has been issued and not replied to will result in the immediate deletion of their user account.

Your recent posts have caused disharmony (I can't remember the last time I had so many reports from so many different people in the same thread!) and are certainly inflammatory. Consider this the warning...

H
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Re: Acquiring permission to post a cover on SoundCloud

Postby CS70 » Thu Oct 05, 2017 9:43 pm

Dave B wrote:FYI : I'm not very Christian. There are a lot of different opinions within the artistic community on this issue. If copyright is so cut and dry, why do they do restricted use licensing for small scale - but still technically commercial - runs?

If you take your argument to it's logical conclusion, then we should be charging kids in the streets for singing. Or people with car windows open and music on for 'public performance'.

People 'profit' from discussing with others on these very forums - should we demand payment when we post a response on a thread?

I see what you're aiming at, but let's not confuse the subject more than already is in the mind of people nowadays. Not everything is subject to copyright, exactly to avoid that any individual burp becomes protected. As much as I love our posts here - and have come to regard many of the regulars as familiar voices - they hardly qualify as original works.

Original works are intellectual property and copyright grants the owners exclusive rights. Of course there's fair use, but a recorded cover, made public, is obviously derivative work - covered by these rights. It's more akin to take someone's parked car and say "hey, u weren't using it, I'm just borrowing it" (which maybe would be a good idea overall, but it's not how property works - it depends on asking for the owner's good will).

Obviously in Internet times copyright has become much harder to enforce (hence the thousands covers on Soundcloud, not to mention The Pirate Bay) and it's not worth going after every little infringement, but doing something because it's easy to do doesn't make it right - and doesn't equate to quoting someone in post.

I guess you didn't mean that, so my $.10 are just for the sake of clarity.

Soundcloud has the facility to make songs uploaded 'private' so that they are not publicly streamable. So you could upload to there and only publish a private link.

Exactly - I had in mind something like this when I mentioned Dropbox - I don' use Soundcloud and wasn't sure if it offered the facility. The publication should also be not public - hence my suggestion of the Musician Lounger or any of the many closed Facebook groups.
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Re: Acquiring permission to post a cover on SoundCloud

Postby illegal colors » Fri Oct 06, 2017 6:33 am

mashedmitten wrote:You bring religion into it, yet you condone thievery. Doesn't appear you're very 'Christian" if you pick and choose Commandments you'll follow, does it?
Don't pick and choose but use common sense.
When you go through your neighbor’s vineyard, you may eat as many grapes as you wish, until you are satisfied, but do not put them in your basket.
When you go through your neighbor’s grainfield, you may pluck some of the ears with your hand, but do not put a sickle to your neighbor’s grain.
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Re: Acquiring permission to post a cover on SoundCloud

Postby The Korff » Fri Oct 06, 2017 8:15 am

illegal colors wrote:
Deuteronomy wrote:When you go through your neighbor’s vineyard, you may eat as many grapes as you wish, until you are satisfied, but do not put them in your basket.
When you go through your neighbor’s grainfield, you may pluck some of the ears with your hand, but do not put a sickle to your neighbor’s grain.

Ha! Outstanding.
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Re: Acquiring permission to post a cover on SoundCloud

Postby Scramble » Fri Oct 06, 2017 9:51 am

Most of the problems with copyright infringement, especially with places like Soundcloud, YouTube, etc, involve the posting of other's people's recordings.

Cover songs are different issue. In this case there is no copyright infringement of the original sound recording going on. But of course there is still copyright in the song, ie. the written composition, and that's the issue here.

In the US, no-one can stop you doing a cover, as long as the composers/songwriter(s) have already released their own version, or authorised a version, and as long as you're doing a straight cover (ie. not a parody, and you haven't messed around with the words or music). You can get a compulsory mechanical licence, which involves you paying a set royalty rate. ('Compulsory' means no-one can stop you getting the licence). You will pay the same rate of royalty regardless of whether it's a big hit or a small hit. (In reality, though, most publishers and record companies negotiate their own deals, to avoid the bureaucracy of going through the compulsory route.)

In the UK you can get a licence from PRS/MCPS, assuming the composer is a member, and assuming they haven't blocked that song from standard licencing (and again, assuming you're doing a straight cover). There's a fixed royalty rate for all the songs in the PRS/MCPS catalogue. For a song that isn't in the PRS/MCPS catalogue you have to get permission directly from them or their publisher, and negotiate a price -- in most cases there'll be some standard royalty rate they use.

(Things are different with films -- for a film you always have to negotiate with the composer/publisher, there's no compulsory or standard licence for that.)

The PRS/MCPS requires, for a CD in the UK, that you have to pay all the royalties due on the amount of CDs you've made once you start distributing the CDs, regardless of how many you actually sell.

One thing I still haven't discovered, despite a bit of research -- and this is where I can't help you -- is what to do if you only release your cover online, and not on CD. I can't find anything about this on PRS/MCPS's website, or anywhere else. I haven't looked that hard, though, because I stay away from covers. But when in doubt contact the relevant collection society or publisher (PRS/MCPS would be a good place to start for anyone doing a commercial cover).

Note that Soundcloud has now reached an agreement to pay royalties to collection agencies, but I don't know how they're handling that. I expect that, legally speaking, royalties will be payable through Soundcloud even for private streaming. I don't know whether royalty collection is done automatically by Soundcloud for songs in the catalogues of PRS/MCPS and the other collection agencies (such as Harry Fox in the US), or whether you have to set it all up yourself beforehand. But, anyway, if you're not making money from it no-one's really going to be bothered about you putting up a cover for a short period as a learning exercise, which isn't publicly available. I would regard that as private study, and not as any sort of commercial activity. (You'd be more likely to annoy a collection society or publishing company for asking them permission in this case, you'd waste some of their time in return for no money.)
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Re: Acquiring permission to post a cover on SoundCloud

Postby BigRedX » Fri Oct 06, 2017 2:29 pm

Scramble, thanks very much for posting that. It has certainly clarified a few things I was asking when I posted this question a few months ago which has had zero replies so far.

So at the risk of hi-jacking this thread - answer in my original thread if you would prefer...

Since the aggregator I would probably use (CD Baby) is based in the US, can I get away with getting a "Compulsory Mechanical Licence" as they suggest in their very sparse FAQ on releasing cover versions.

I've been in touch with the PRS before when trying to find out about using covers of songs for on-line projects and their answers tended to be very vague and the implication was the whole process was going to be so expensive, and a lot of hassle, that we just didn't bother in the end. However this was some years ago when the idea was much newer and less establish than it is now hopefully.

Maybe if no one here can supply me with a definitive answer I'll try them again.
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