Putting your own spin on a popular song is a great way to reach new listeners. But in order to record and distribute a cover song, you need to secure the proper license and pay the publishers. That often comes with a lot of paperwork and ongoing accounting headaches — until now.
With CD Baby’s cover song licensing, you can license and distribute your cover song (to platforms like iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, etc.), manage it all from one account, and CD Baby will handle all of your accounting and mechanical royalty payments FOREVER.
You just pay a one-time setup fee of $14.99 per song (in addition to the one-time signup fee for worldwide music distribution). CD Baby will secure the required mechanical license and pay any mechanical royalties you owe to the publisher/s for sales of that cover song.
Yes, CD Baby will take care of all that work for you — AND automatically pay the publishers each time your cover song has a sale, so you no longer have to keep a running tally of your cover song sales for the purposes of renewing the license. This “covers you” (pun!) for the sales of your cover song forever.
It’s easy and affordable cover song licensing AND distribution, built into the same signup process. There’s no other charges, no recurring fees, and the royalties you owe are deducted automatically before your sales revenue goes into your CD Baby account. Simple.
Here’s how to license your single-song release
- Sign up your new single at CD Baby
- Select the “cover song” option in the sign up process
- Pay the additional one-time processing fee of $14.99*
- CD Baby will then secure the proper license and take care of paying the songwriters and publishers as your music sells
Information used to identify your cover song
During the song registration process, CD Baby will ask for information to help identify your cover song to be sure the correct license is secured.
- Original Song Title
- Original Composer/ Songwriter
- Original Performing Artist
- Song Source Link (if you have a YouTube video or other link that will help ID the song)
- Song Source Notes (ie. If this is a song from a Broadway production, opera, motion picture etc.)
How to license cover songs on your album
CD Baby Cover Song Licensing is currently only available for singles. A full-album cover song licensing service will be in place soon, but until then, please check out Easy Song Licensing.
How much does it cost to secure a license through CD Baby’s licensing service?
This can be broken down into two parts: set up and royalty fees.
The setup fee
CD Baby charges a one-time fee of $14.99 per cover song to secure the proper mechanical licenses. There are no other out-of-pocket costs beyond that point, since CD Baby takes the mechanical royalties you owe to the publisher/s for each sale of that cover song directly out of your sales revenue.
The royalty fee
Every time you sell a cover song, you owe the publisher/s of that song a mechanical royalty of $.091*. With CD Baby’s Cover Song Licensing service, CD Baby takes that owed royalty amount out of your earnings for each sale and pays it directly to the publishers for you, so you never have to worry about mechanical royalty payments again.
Remember, CD Baby still takes a 9% cut of your net digital distribution earnings, but does NOT keep ANY additional cut for taking care of your mechanical royalty payments. That’s what the initial setup fee is for.
Your earnings for a cover song sale will look like this.
Cover Song Sale earnings (after the download store takes its cut) – CD Baby Commission (9%) – $.091 (the mechanical royalty owed for the cover song) = Artist Share
$.091 is based on the length of the song being 5 minutes or less. An additional fee of $0.0175 x (duration in minutes or fraction thereof, rounded up to whole minute) will be taken from songs longer than 5 minutes.