Can I upload cover songs to Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes, TIDAL, Deezer, etc.

We offer free distribution of your music to all of the world’s top stores and streaming services, and we can send your cover songs of other artists too.

We at RouteNote make it simple and free to get your music online on all the top digital stores and streaming services so people all around the world can find and hear your music. We don’t just do original music though, you can upload your covers of your favourite tracks as well.

Before you do though there’s a few things you need to be aware of to make sure that we can put up your cover songs on the world’s biggest services and you can get paid legally for every play and download.

Licenses

For releasing cover songs online you don’t need a license and can just upload it and release it. EXCEPT in a few certain territories:

  • The United States
  • Canada
  • Mexico
  • Pakistan
  • India

You will need to exclude these territories to distribute your release to the rest of the world unless you have acquired a mechanical license to release a cover of the song(s) you have recorded.

However both Spotify and Deezer pay for their own licenses for cover songs. This means that you can distribute your covers to both of these services worldwide.

You can acquire licenses from the Harry Fox Agency (HFA) or Loudr for distribution in these territories on all services.

Formatting

When you upload your release you will need to format it slightly differently for a cover release to ensure that the original artist is credited correctly.

You must credit the original artist in the ‘C Line’ of the album details. Only credit the artist here and nowhere else in the release.

If you have multiple covers in your release then list each artist in the ‘C Line’ one after the other, separated by commas. For example: The Beatles, Elton John, Madonna, etc.

As an extra note we unfortunately cannot distribute Prince covers.

Samples and Backing Tracks

As with all releases you cannot use any samples or backing tracks unless they are original or you have the licenses/permissions required to use it.

This means that you can’t include any samples from the original track or any other songs without the correct documented permissions or mechanical licenses


You can upload your music for free through us at www.routenote.com to all of the top stores and streaming services.

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Head of Social Media and Marketing, RouteNote

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13 comments

    Does this mean that for a cover of “Cheek to Cheek” one should use Fred Astaire instead of Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra etc…? The writer Irving Berlin remains invisible, I presume?

    What if you want to upload a cover (although we called it a remix, but there’s no stems from the original recordings) so that people can stream for free? We aren’t uploading to iTunes or any service that requires the listener to pay to downloadthe track. We already offer them as free downloads on Bandcamp.

    So, would it cause trouble to just upload said covers to streaming services only (not download services) so that people listen for free, and without us getting any revenue for it?

    Hi, your music automatically earns money when it is on streaming stores. There’s no way to make it un-monetised when it’s on a streaming service. You will be able to upload it with no issues assuming the cover doesn’t feature copyright content as you say it doesn’t however there are some rules as to how we can release covers – for more information on this get in touch at support@routenote.com or on social media.

    When I upload a cover to Spotify: 1) Do I have to identify the original song and copyright owner, and if so, how? 2) Do I receive money for each play, and if so, how much? 3) Does the original copyright owner receive payment also? 4) How does all the above work with Itunes, if I want to sell downloads as well as stream?

    Hi Pete, you will need to credit the original artist in the ‘C Line’ of your release. You will receive earnings for your streams the same as you would if you uploaded your own original music. The copyright owner will receive payment for streams but they won’t come out of your earnings.
    You will need to purchase your own mechanical license or exclude certain territories for iTunes as they don’t pay for their own licenses globally. The stores that do take covers without a license are: Spotify, Deezer, Pandora, iHeartRadio, Anghami, Juke & JioSaavn.

    Hi Darius, yes you can but you may not be able to monetise your cover song if it isn’t covered by any licenses.

    Hi, am I allowed to upload a cover to Spotify if I used GarageBand’s software instruments to write the tracks? I made a string cover on Spotify by writing out the score as MIDI files but I’m not sure if those count as “samples”.

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