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Distributing the same song twice by different artists

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Distributing the same song twice by different artists

Postby spencershaw98 » Mon Jan 14, 2019 8:23 am

Hi! I have a question about music Distribution.

I’m in charge of a student club at my university, where our goal is to put together an album every year. The album is comprised of student-composed and performed songs. In past years, we’ve uploaded the albums to Bandcamp and also had them printed into physical CDs. This year, I’m looking into distribution services like Distrokid and CDBaby, with hopes to get this year’s album on Spotify or iTunes.

Here’s my concern. Last year we had a song that was submitted to the album by a student band. The thing is, they also put the song up themselves on Soundcloud, Spotify, and iTunes under their band’s name. If this were to happen again this year, where a musician or band wants to personally distribute their song, but also submit it to our project, would this create a problem if the same song is essentially uploaded twice to iTunes, Spotify, and others?

Do Spotify and iTunes allow the same song to be ‘uploaded’ twice by two different artists?
Do these services (Distributors or Streaming platforms) use an automatic “Fingerprint” system to detect if a song has already been uploaded?
Could getting ISRC codes help with this issue?

Any information or advice on this would be appreciated. I want each group member to have legal control of their own songs that they create for the project. We’re located in Canada if that helps. Thanks!
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Re: Distributing the same song twice by different artists

Postby James Perrett » Mon Jan 14, 2019 3:38 pm

spencershaw98 wrote:Do Spotify and iTunes allow the same song to be ‘uploaded’ twice by two different artists?

Do you really mean two different artists or two different labels? Artists cover other people's songs all the time so there are no problems with multiple versions by different artists. If you meant the same recording being uploaded by different labels then this could get more complicated. They would almost certainly need different ISRC's in order to be identified as different but I've certainly noticed the same song by the same artist listed multiple times in Spotify searches from different albums so it is definitely possible.
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Re: Distributing the same song twice by different artists

Postby CS70 » Mon Jan 14, 2019 9:32 pm

If it's the exact same recording, it should have the same ISRC. In itself it shouldn't be a problem, you have that with compilations all the time.

If it's a different recording, ISRCs are different, and the second that gets published will be a "cover" recording. Normally you'd need a license for the harry fox agency or similar, but I guess the copyright owners (the school or the band) may decide to waiver - not sure of the technicalities here but asking cdbaby would be the best.

In both cases, You'll have to agree with the students who's the copyright owner
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Re: Distributing the same song twice by different artists

Postby spencershaw98 » Wed Jan 16, 2019 5:49 am

Ok. Thank you both for the information! I will look into this more.
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