I want to record and distribute a cover demo CD for my band...

Discussion in 'Band Wagon' started by Cheesehead, Feb 18, 2018.

  1. Cheesehead

    Cheesehead Friend of Leo's

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    We cover a lot of blues classics, as well as songs by the Stones, Hendrix, Bill Withers, and others.

    I wanted to record a demo of say, 8 classic blues songs (say, Stormy Monday, the Sky is Crying, Killing Floor, stuff like that), at a local studio. I doubt they are in the public domain.

    We don't play out a ton - 3 or 4 times a year. So I want to use it mainly as a demo for bar owners. Or to hand out at gigs.

    How do I secure permission to record the songs?

    Do I have to do this if it's only a demo disk or give away and not for sale? (We might sell it - not sure yet.)

    What does it cost?

    (An alternative we're thinking is taking some classic blues arrangements and putting them to our own words. Or words in the public domain...)
     
  2. Rob J

    Rob J Tele-Meister

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    I don't know what costs might be but it is my understanding that you can't legally release recordings of copyrighted cover songs without the proper permissions, licensing etc. Even if you only intend to give it away I'm pretty sure it is not legal. (Which is what has prevented me from doing the same thing).
     
  3. Jack S

    Jack S Friend of Leo's

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    Typically you need to pay a fee for each song and depending on the number of CDs you release (or whatever) determines the amount. I believe it can vary from song to song, but not sure. The Harry Fox Agency handles this and you can find out more here: https://www.harryfox.com/license_music/
     
  4. Pineears

    Pineears Tele-Afflicted

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    Check out the CDBaby website, some good guidance there.
     
  5. T Prior

    T Prior Poster Extraordinaire

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    Harry Fox Agency is the place to go if you want to be legal. You can adjust the number of sales anytime you wish. Start very low, like 25 copies of each, adjust your account as you go. It's really not that expensive overall. For ex, 8 songs @25 each is what you want the license to represent. Once you give away those 25 CD's, you renew your account for another 25 . Also, keep in mind that the only one keeping track of how many you hand out is you !


    Major retail release royalties are paid on how many units the distributors order. They may order 250,000 copies . How many actually sold in the store has nothing to do with it, its how many were ordered by distributors. So now ask, why do MP3 downloads of a new CD cost so much, the royalties and licensing is still the same.

    The other thing is , if you are giving out a few CD's a few times a year ( that still needs to be licensed to be legal) you are well under the radar of sales/handouts .

    I know several cover artists locally who hand out a CD without any song names. I'm talking maybe 25 a year.

    BUT, handout/selling/posting on the NET, to be legal it needs to be licensed.

    The license police are not hunting down bands doing what you are wanting to do , they are hunting down clubs who have LIVE cover bands and hitting them with monthly fee's for royalties.
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2018
  6. Pineears

    Pineears Tele-Afflicted

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    With “classic” music you can still get some traction with CDs, but CDs are obsolete.
     
  7. Lord-Humongous

    Lord-Humongous TDPRI Member

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    Certainly not the most ‘current’ way to promote your music. But, CDs are far from obsolete; consider that literally ever car has a CD player. Also, there is a strong movement toward physical media which we see with vinyl sales. CDs may not be as trendy but some people like to collect them for the same reason. Also, if you have fans who want to buy something other than a T-shirt, and a run of vinyl Lp’s isn’t economically feasible, then CDs with printed art can be a very good option.
     
  8. Charlie Bernstein

    Charlie Bernstein Poster Extraordinaire

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    I've queried several of forums on that question, including this one. The consensus is that if it's truly a demo - not something you'll sell or have broadcast in any way, you're fine. (I don't whether it's cool to hand them out to admirers. That's not really a demo anymore.)

    The purpose of copyright laws is to keep people from profiting from other people's work. A demo might land you a gig, which is profitable, but you're not profiting from sale of the recorded music.
     
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  9. Martin R

    Martin R Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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  10. jimash

    jimash Friend of Leo's

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    I believe that's true.
     
  11. Mid Life Crisis

    Mid Life Crisis Poster Extraordinaire

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    The reality is that lots of local bands do exactly what you're planning to do and never even think of going through the proper legal channels to pay royalties.

    Unless you're doing this as a major commercial endeavour I personally wouldn't worry about it.
     
  12. Charlie Bernstein

    Charlie Bernstein Poster Extraordinaire

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    Some of my best friends are obsolete.
     
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  13. davidchagrin

    davidchagrin Tele-Holic

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    It's legal as long as you don't directly profit from it. If it weren't legal, every YouTube artist would get shut down.
     
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  14. Charlie Bernstein

    Charlie Bernstein Poster Extraordinaire

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    Good point. Case closed!
     
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  15. Wrong-Note Rod

    Wrong-Note Rod Poster Extraordinaire

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    if you arent actually going to sell it, then, probably nothing to worry about.

    If you are doing it to give it away, record anything you want. Not a bad idea to list the original author and the band you are most closely stealing your arrangement from.

    But even that is unnecessary.
     
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  16. Mike Simpson

    Mike Simpson Doctor of Teleocity

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    While it is unlikely that any licensing company will ever go after a band for a demo... using copyrighted material on a demo even given away for free requires a mechanical license to be completely legal.

    https://secure.harryfox.com/songfile/faq.jsp#faq11
    1. What is the current statutory mechanical rate for physical product (ex. CDs, Cassettes and Vinyl), PDDs, and ringtones? How is it calculated?

    The current statutory mechanical royalty rate is $.091 (9.1 cents) per song per unit for recordings of compositions up to five minutes (5:00) in length.

    For example, if one were to make a recording of a song that is less than five minutes in length (e.g. 4:07) and then manufacture and distribute 500 units of the recording, the total amount of royalties due would be $45.50. ($0.091 X 500 (units) = $45.50).

    For songs over five minutes in length, the rate is based upon $.0175 (1.75 cents) per minute or fraction thereof as demonstrated below:

    5:01 to 6:00 = $0.105 (6 X $.0175)

    6:01 to 7:00 = $0.1225 (7 X $.0175)

    7:01 to 8:00 = $0.14 (8 X $.0175)

    For example, if one were to make a recording of a song that is six minutes and thirty-eight seconds in length (6:38) and then manufacture and distribute 500 units, the total amount of royalties due is $56.25. ($0.1225 X 500 (units) = $61.25).

    The current statutory rate for ringtones is $0.24 (24 cents) per song per unit.
     
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  17. Wrong-Note Rod

    Wrong-Note Rod Poster Extraordinaire

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    all I can say is if Harry Fox is coming after local cover bands now, they must have given up on the war against streaming and <gasp> digital copying by users
     
  18. Pineears

    Pineears Tele-Afflicted

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    It’s a “copyright” law, that tells it all. It covers distribution. But you can get mechanical rights to record, distribute, sell it pretty easy.

    Yes, I have got several warnings for posting to YouTube where I just had radio playing in the background.

    Getting away with ignoring copyrights is like running stoplights. Mostly can do it, but a few have police or cameras watching.
     
  19. GuitarPix

    GuitarPix Tele-Meister

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    Actually - youtube has a licensing deal that pays the owners of songs (or their lable - from where the money will likely just dissapear into an accounting nightmare), assuming the owner has got it registered in all the right places. If you upload a cover to youtube, they have a system to figures out its a cover, and if the owner of the song is registered then suddenly ads appear on your video and the owner gets a cut of the ad reveue. Some people actually make money from their youtube videos.

    As for the OP - the easiest way I've seen or heard of is soundrop.com (used to be loudr.com) - $9.99 per year per track to release your cover. Most of the time - at least thats what they say. CD Baby has an arrangement with them to set up covers released as singles through soundrop.
     
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  20. GuitarPix

    GuitarPix Tele-Meister

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    Actually - youtube has a licensing deal that pays the owners of songs (or their lable - from where the money will likely just dissapear into an accounting nightmare), assuming the owner has got it registered in all the right places. If you upload a cover to youtube, they have a system to figures out its a cover, and if the owner of the song is registered then suddenly ads appear on your video and the owner gets a cut of the ad reveue. Some people actually make money from their youtube videos.

    As for the OP - the easiest way I've seen or heard of is soundrop.com (used to be loudr.com) - $9.99 per year per track to release your cover. Most of the time - at least thats what they say. CD Baby has an arrangement with them to set up covers released as singles through soundrop.
     
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