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Cover versions - general question

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Cover versions - general question

Postby nr-ads-0 » Sat May 23, 2020 11:15 am

Hello,

I am currently working on a release including a cover from Nirvana. As I made not the best experience in getting permissions for covers in the past (record labels refusing) I wonder what is the best practice to get a permission. Asking the releasing labels or better try to contact the original musicians of the track in question.

What is your experience / advice?

Thanks.

Regards
NR
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Re: Cover versions - general question

Postby Sam Spoons » Sat May 23, 2020 1:59 pm

I always though that anybody could record and release a cover version as long as they ensured the royalties were paid to the copyright holder. A quick google confirms that this is, basically, true.

Now there may be some cases when using these agencies that the song you wish to cover comes up saying "This song is not available for mechanical licensing". This could be enough to put you off doing the cover version, but there may also be another path, and a legal one, because once a song has been commercially released by an artist, that artist's song may be re-recorded and released by anyone who chooses to do so.

https://www.makeitinmusic.com/licence-cover-song/

https://www.tuneregistry.com/blog/how-to-legally-record-and-sell-a-cover-song-in-3-steps

I have only secondhand experience as a friend of mine has recorded and released many cover versions (I engineered his band but not his solo stuff, he dealt with the legal side). What was much more difficult was obtaining permission to publish his classical guitar arrangements and many of his recordings cannot be published in book form as the copyright holder refused permission, those pieces were included on the CDs without issue.

The other issue might be where in the world you are based as the law varies from country to country.
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Re: Cover versions - general question

Postby James Perrett » Sat May 23, 2020 2:01 pm

As I understand it, you don't need permission to do a cover version but you will need to declare that it is a cover to the organisation that collects mechanical royalties in your country and who the writers and publisher are when you release it.

You only need the permission of the artists/label if you are including samples from the original recording in the new version.
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Re: Cover versions - general question

Postby nr-ads-0 » Sun May 24, 2020 2:53 pm

Thank you both Mr. Spoons and Mr. Perret.

Your advices were very helpful. I think, at least, it would be a good idea to inform the originator of the planned rework.
:thumbup:

Greetings
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Re: Cover versions - general question

Postby Sam Spoons » Sun May 24, 2020 6:43 pm

Informing the copyright holder is a requirement but you don't need to do it in person, as long as you inform the relevant licensing organisation you are ok. You'll find all the info you need on the two pages I linked to.
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Re: Cover versions - general question

Postby nr-ads-0 » Mon May 25, 2020 9:25 am

Thank you! :)
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