Recording a cover officially - our story so far

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
I thought this might be of interest.

My band is set to record a cover for release later this year. We're recording it at Middle Farm Studios, Devon, UK.

Even as an insignificant local level act, we decided to go the official route with this. Obtaining license for online audio release / streaming / download can be fairly straight forward, but if you want to add video, you need a video sync license from all interested parties in addition to the audio permissions. This is where it can get a bit complex, & especially in our case, as the rights are owned by 3 organisations - Sony/ATV, Chrysalis, & RZO.

Our song arrangement required approval, as did the video "story board". Sony really liked our unique arrangement, & offered both audio & video sync licenses for a token fee. They encouraged the other two to mirror their offer, although we still had to work through individual submissions. One party held out on the video element for some time, risking the whole deal, but today they came to the party & granted on the same basis. There's a few procedural steps we have to go through yet, but agreements are in place.

I won't reveal the fees here, but they were extremely modest, especially as we're getting world wide audio & video sync rights for 3 years to a very famous song - something that would usually cost significant sums. My message here is, in a landscape where almost everyone at our level is openly flouting the system, if you go the official route, there's still people in the industry that will take your request in context & help you along the way.

Having these licenses means we can now promote openly. All we have to do now is make a good job of the recording & simple video within our meagre budget - almost seems the easy bit considering the process to date!
 
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Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
Fascinating! Two questions.
Does the artist that originally created the song get any royalties?
And, along with the modest fees is there any part of the agreement that would give these companies royalties from any money you might make on your recording? Just suppose you made a bunch of money on your revcording. Do theses companies get a cut?

Thanks for sharing this.


.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
Fascinating! Two questions.
Does the artist that originally created the song get any royalties?
And, along with the modest fees is there any part of the agreement that would give these companies royalties from any money you might make on your recording? Just suppose you made a bunch of money on your revcording. Do theses companies get a cut?

Thanks for sharing this.


.
In this instance, it's the artist's estate that would receive royalties via their representatives who are one of the 3 companies with interests in the material.

The three interested parties are all paid royalties via a range of mechanisms. In our case, they'll get paid by the download platform we select. All this said, the sums are likely to be very small indeed. If we're really happy with the result, I think it's likely we'll set the download price at around $1, & feel lucky if we get our total costs back.
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
I've only had to do all of the audio licensing stuff. While I registered us for downloads, I didn't bother registering for the streaming because if the record companies want a cut of the money we get from Spotify et al., they can have every penny of it for all I care. For example, I just counted up all of the revenue we have from our album release this past April until now. We've made a whopping 58¢ on streaming.

With that said, I did have a songwriter of one of our songs get in touch with me to tell me what a great job we did on his song. I was amazed at how fast the licencing group worked to get people their money. I mean, within a day of registering and paying, he had already been contacted. It was really cool. I think song writers really appreciate it when people do things on the up and up.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
I've only had to do all of the audio licensing stuff. While I registered us for downloads, I didn't bother registering for the streaming because if the record companies want a cut of the money we get from Spotify et al., they can have every penny of it for all I care. For example, I just counted up all of the revenue we have from our album release this past April until now. We've made a whopping 58¢ on streaming.

With that said, I did have a songwriter of one of our songs get in touch with me to tell me what a great job we did on his song. I was amazed at how fast the licencing group worked to get people their money. I mean, within a day of registering and paying, he had already been contacted. It was really cool. I think song writers really appreciate it when people do things on the up and up.
We're still working out the best platform utilisation on this. TBH, it depends on how good the results of our efforts are. We're not doing this with any expectations of earning money.

I love your story, & it's gratifying to do it right, & have the right people rewarded for their talent. In our case, unfortunately, the writer won't be contacting us anytime soon :(
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
So I'm sure you don't want to give away to many details since I'm sure all the legal mumbo jumbo is still in process-but is it a cover song you've posted here before-or a new one? Awesome news Andy-good luck
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
So I'm sure you don't want to give away to many details since I'm sure all the legal mumbo jumbo is still in process-but is it a cover song you've posted here before-or a new one? Awesome news Andy-good luck
It's one we've done many times before Art, but we took any live videos down during the process for obvious reasons. So long as nobody reposts this, I have no issue posting this here. This was the rehearsal recording (minus BV's) we submitted for arrangement review.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fNgj_3ht2BM&feature=youtu.be

We chose this because the treatment / arrangement is significantly different to either the Bowie original or the more famous Mott the Hoople cover, & we think it has something to offer. As far as I'm aware, it will be one of the few officially licensed releases since the 70's, & kind of cool that Fired Up & Mott the Hoople are from the same town - in fact, Verden Allen, Mott's keys player, is a frequent FU audience member ;)
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
Talk about 70s-I like it's in black and white. I remember Mott's first album and the people I was listening to it with and where we all were in life-ah the memories. Man you guys rock this arrangement. I like the laid back almost melancholy beginning with cross sticking-then things get Fired up. I've always liked your posting of this song-great arrangement. So you can add this song to an album of originals one day :)
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
Talk about 70s-I like it's in black and white. I remember Mott's first album and the people I was listening to it with and where we all were in life-ah the memories. Man you guys rock this arrangement. I like the laid back almost melancholy beginning with cross sticking-then things get Fired up. I've always liked your posting of this song-great arrangement.
Thanks Art. I'm hoping we can do a much better job of the recording than this rehearsal, & a better video too :) I do believe in the arrangement & much slower tempo delivery though - it works well live, but that's sometimes the kiss of death in the studio :(

Either way, this was much more about the process of getting licenses in place, or moreover, letting you know that doing it officially, can be worth the effort for an unknown / self financed band, & that publishers / record companies are sometimes very accommodating.
 

J-Boogie

Gold Member
Yay, I knew the next Andy phase was gona be just as exciting! Go Andy!! Cant wait to see and hear the results!
 

Stroman

Platinum Member
Question for you, Andy. What happens after the three years? You take the recording down? You renew? You no longer get $ for downloads? How does that work?
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
Question for you, Andy. What happens after the three years? You take the recording down? You renew? You no longer get $ for downloads? How does that work?
Pretty much all of the above. We'd renew if there was continued promotional value in it, otherwise it should be taken down. Leaving it out there on Youtube, etc without renewing, I'm not sure of the protocol on that.

Yay, I knew the next Andy phase was gona be just as exciting! Go Andy!! Cant wait to see and hear the results!
Thanks :) This is FU's first real move into recording, & it's primarily to get us used to working the studio together ahead of original material next year.
 

New Tricks

Platinum Member
Great song!! Great job.

I've always wondered if ASCAP/BMI etc ever went after cover bands or if the just focused on the venues. It would be nice if there was simple blanket liscense available for cover bands..
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
Warms my dead heart when people take steps to respect others. Right on Andy. Doing things the right way is hard enough when you don't have to jump a bunch of hoops.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
Warms my dead heart when people take steps to respect others. Right on Andy. Doing things the right way is hard enough when you don't have to jump a bunch of hoops.
I've always wondered if ASCAP/BMI etc ever went after cover bands or if the just focused on the venues. It would be nice if there was simple blanket liscense available for cover bands..
I agree. If there was a simplified system, I'm sure many more bands would subscribe to it rather than just crossing their fingers & hoping they're not pursued. I can't see that happening though. Questions as to who gets paid & how, plus a significant loss of control, are big barriers to agreement. We had to show that the end product was something they could live with. I'm sure there's all kinds of contextual / disrepute considerations when controlling use of an artists material - especially the risk of video content association.

Layering a simple system over something that's so multi faceted would be a nightmare to implement for sure.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
Andy, in your best case scenario, what do you hope to accomplish after all this work?
Good question.

Primary aim is to get the band used to recording together ahead of original material next year, & to have some fun doing so in a creative environment.

Secondary aim is to produce a good recording of our arrangement of this song, & hopefully have people like it.

Third aim, if the recording is well received, to use it (+ associated video) to more widely promote the band. It's the freedom to promote openly that's facilitated by obtaining the licenses.
 

Juniper

Gold Member
Very interesting read, Andy

We're currently going through this ourselves as we have a recently recorded cover to release (if all goes well) in a few months. We can compare notes at some point! Ha!
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
Very interesting read, Andy

We're currently going through this ourselves as we have a recently recorded cover to release (if all goes well) in a few months. We can compare notes at some point! Ha!
Please let me know how that goes. I think you'll find video synchronisation is the bigger challenge, or maybe it will all sail through - I hope so :)
 
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