Do I need a license for my Christmas Song?

Image Credit: Mel Poole (image has been modified)

The festive season is approaching and that means an endless barrage of Christmas songs on the radio, on TV; everywhere! If you’re thinking of remixing a classic to spice things up, here’s what you need to know.

So you want to make a Christmas song. ‘Tis the season after all. Unless you’re planning on recording a completely original Christmas song with your own melodies and instruments, there are some things you should know to make sure you can release it legally. That’s exactly what we’re here to do in this article.

It’s Beginning to Sound a Lot like Christmas – Cover Songs

You can’t escape it; everywhere you go; here’s Mariah Carey; there’s Wham!; Nat King Cole is coming. All the big Christmas hits are so familiar to us because they’re unavoidable at this time of year but, you know what: we secretly love it don’t we?

Perhaps you’re thinking of putting a fresh twist on the timeless classics with your very own cover. Once you’ve got your cover recorded and sounding perfect then you can release them but there are certain terms.

If you’re covering a song that is still under copyright – this will be most songs written in the last 50-70 years – then you may need a mechanical license.

As the video explains, whilst many services will license cover songs for you but that does not apply in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Pakistan, and India. However, Spotify Deezer, Pandora, iHeartRadio, Saavn, Juke, and Anghami have you covered worldwide.

Physical releases are a whole different ballpark. Who still releases CDs anyway… 👀

Mixing Around the Christmas Tree – Sampling Songs

What could improve the finest gems of Christmas past? Some phat sub, breakbeats, and glitched sampling of the hook? Maybe…

If you’re hankering for a tankering with the released recordings of any songs then it’s not quite as plain-sailing as releasing a festive cover song. Sampling other peoples music requires explicit permission from the artists/rightsholders and more often than not you’ll need a license to use the material.

Whether you’re remixing the whole track or if you’re only snatching a tiny snippet and manipulating it beyond recognition, you’ve still used copyrighted material and therefore need to ensure your legal position is sound.

However! If you’re using some reeeeeeally old Christmas music, you might just be good to go. Check out this great list of Christmas songs that are in the Public Domain over on SynchedIn’s blog:

We have much more information on music copyrights including the legality of sampling music that you can read here:

All I Want for Christmas Is You to Listen to My Song – Releasing Your Music

Take a breath. We’ve covered the tough bits and now you know what you need to do to make sure you can release your music. Now, how are we going to get this new Christmas hit streaming to become a timeless classic alongside the Jackson 5?!

You’re in the right place. At RouteNote we’ve been working with artists for over a decade to release their music – whether it’s original pieces, cover songs, licensed remixes, and so on – on all of the world’s biggest and best streaming services and download stores.

We leave it entirely in your hands to decide where you want to send it and to which platforms. You stay in total control of how you distribute your music, as well as maintaining ownership of it if you ever decide to go elsewhere or take it down.

We offer Free distribution which offers you unlimited distribution to wherever you want to send your music and you keep 85% of everything your music makes. If you’re expecting a lot of streams and sales, you can upload on our Premium platform for a small upfront cost and keep 100% of your earnings.

Find out more and sign up for free today at to get your Christmas songs – or any other, for that matter – out to the world!

Writing about music, listening to music, and occasionally playing music.

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