Affordable Song Licensing offer the cheapest licensing service on the market. We spoke to founder Casey Cole to find out more about licensing cover songs.

At RouteNote we were excited to recently partner with Affordable Song Licensing, who make it easy for artists to purchase the mechanical licenses needed to release cover songs online. But understanding a cover song mechanical license can be a struggle for unsigned artists – why do you need one, where do you get one, how much does it cost?

To learn more, we turned to founder Casey Cole to help explain the licensing service, all about the day-to-day running of the company, and why we’re right to recommend Affordable Song Licensing for artists who distribute music through RouteNote.

Hi Casey! Tell us a little about your background, and how you came to establish Affordable Song Licensing.

My story of falling into cover song licensing is a bit serendipitous. Affordable Song Licensing actually started by accident, back in 2015.

(Cue some inspiring music…)

When my daughter was born in 2013, I started recording lullaby renditions of my favourite punk songs. It wasn’t anything serious. I just wanted to rock her to sleep in the middle of the night while listening to anything other than “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.” I posted the renditions online, and they got shared around the punk-parenting community, so I began to record lullaby renditions regularly. I knew that in order to release future cover albums legally, I needed some help.

In 2015, I attempted to use a third-party service to license over 100 of these cover songs. Let’s just say it was not an enjoyable experience. It was way more confusing than it needed to be. There were disagreements between the company and myself over pricing, discounts, publishing information, where they were sending royalties… even their business address.

Those frustrating few weeks led me to learn how to obtain the licenses I needed on my own. While doing so, I discovered that the prices other companies were charging for licensing services were way too high. I could easily help artists legally release their cover songs, and charge a fraction of the price these other companies were charging.

So an awful customer service experience completely changed my life’s course, and for the last seven years, I’ve been happily helping artists legally release their cover songs.

Can you break down what Affordable Song Licensing does – and what the service can do for RouteNote artists? For the benefit of those who may not know why mechanical licensing is so important!

Cover song licenses are relatively easy to obtain. There are steps set by copyright law that you need to follow, including the delivery of the cover song’s information to the rightsholders of that song. Affordable Song Licensing follows those steps on your behalf for a small fee.

In order to legally release a cover song (your version of a song that you didn’t write), you need permission from the original songwriters or the people that own the rights to that song. That permission comes in the form of a “license.”

When we’ve completed those steps, we send you a Mechanical Licensing Certificate that shows you the songwriters and publishers of your song, and where we sent off your royalties.

If you are looking to distribute your cover songs digitally via RouteNote, you won’t need a license if you are distributing only to streaming platforms (like Spotify).

However, if you want your cover songs to be distributed to and downloaded on platforms like iTunes and Amazon, you’ll need a license for those downloads. That’s where we can help you in obtaining a mechanical license.

What sets Affordable Song Licensing apart from other licensing agencies, in your opinion?

This one is easy. We offer the lowest licensing fees online from a third-party licensing service.

At $12 a song, you’re already saving money just by choosing us over the other licensing agencies. Even if they’re running a sale, we’re still going to have more affordable rates. We don’t charge additional fees for additional formats. We don’t sell you on unnecessary services. $12 + royalties is all it takes!

Outside of cost, we are owned and operated by artists just like you. So, when you call us and you’re super excited to tell us all about your album, your band, or your rendition, we listen and get genuinely excited with you.

We’re proud to be an affordable and invaluable resource for indie artists. Call us and see for yourself!

How does a typical workday tend to pan out for you?

Lots. Of. Paperwork.

We wake up to dozens of licensing requests from artists just like you that were submitted overnight. While we say there is a two day turnaround time for getting your license we always strive to get them in your hands the same day we receive them if possible. We spend a lot of our day outside of the typical administrative tasks communicating with distributors, artists, and publishers.

I’d say our favorite part of the workday is checking out the artists that submitted new projects. I can’t stress how many times we get an interesting licensing request, search the artist name and spin their top songs over the office PA!

If it’s a Friday, we have lunch at Riviera Maya.

What’s your favourite cover version of a song ever?

“All Too Well” by Dan Campbell.

It’s a cover of one of Taylor Swift’s best songs by one of my favourite front men (The Wonder Years).

Learn everything you need to know about how to upload cover songs with RouteNote here:

Find out for yourself how smooth distributing cover songs can be by heading to Affordable Song Licensing to purchase a mechanical license.