to Offer a Mechanical License
for Your Own Music
Article by David Nevue - Mar. 2004
Back to Internet Music Promotion 101
you confused about how to make
your music available for licensing
to other people? You're not
alone. I recently received the
below email from a visitor
confused about this issue. Here's
the advice I gave him...
"I just recently downloaded your
book, "How to Promote
Your Music Successfully on the Internet". You state you can
copyright all of your songs on a CD at one time using Form SR.
Which I agree). How does this affect issuing a mechanical license to someone
if they want to use one song from my CD? Do you then
copyright the individual song on form PA?"
Actually, the register of copyright doesn't have a whole lot to do with
the licensing of your songs. Yes, before licensing your material, you'll want to
it with the copyright office
to protect your work, but whether
you use Form PA or SR really
doesn't really matter. The point
of registration is so that you have a
legal leg to stand on if someone should steal your song and say it's
By using Form SR, you're simplifying the copyright process by registering your
entire CD at once.
mechanical licensing, that is
handled primarily by the Harry Fox Agency.However, before you can use them as your licensing agency, you must first be a recognized publisher with
a PRO organization (BMI,
ASCAP, or SESAC).
So if you haven't signed up with a PRO as a publisher, you'll need to do that
first, then submit each of your songs to their database as individual works
with you named as publisher.
Once that's done, you can then
Harry Fox as a publisher, andfrom that point on,
they will handle any mechanical licensing requests for your songs.
If you're an independent artist, however, you'll may
find it easier and more straight-forward to just have people come to you directly to
request a license. Unless you're
receiving a continuous barrage
of licensing requests, this
is personally the way I would
go. That's what I do. Once you
reach a point at which you can't handle all the
license requests individually anymore, you can then let Harry Fox handle the
job, if you like.
what should you charge to license
your song for use on someone
else's CD, DVD or video project?
I keep it simple. I charge $75/song
per 1000 units manufactured.
Of course, there are variations
on that depending on the songs
use and purpse, but that is,
generally speaking, the price
I start from.
NOTICE: The above information is offered
for general informational purposes only, and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You are cautioned to
seek the advice of your own attorney concerning the applicability of the general principles discussed above to
your own particular activities.
is the founder of The
Music Biz Academy. He is also a professional pianist,
recording artist, full-time Internet musician, and author of the book, "How to Promote Your Music Successfully on the Internet."
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