How to easily license your cover songs for online stores and streaming

Licensing cover songs works differently to remixes or samples and can seem complicated, but is easy once you know what you need to do.

The most important thing to remember when distributing your cover of a song is that you don’t need to acquire a license EXCEPT for in:

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

It’s worth considering acquiring a license for these territories as they account for a large part of the world’s music market, the US being the largest market for music in the world.

Some streaming services don’t require a mechanical license for covers as they already pay these royalties themselves to licensors. At the moment the services we know that pay for licenses are Spotify and Deezer. So if you want to distribute your cover song to those territories without acquiring a license you can for Spotify and Deezer, and you can upload to these stores for free from

To distribute to other streaming services in those countries you will need to acquire a mechanical license which can be acquired either from the Harry Fox Agency (HFA) or Loudr. For all digital download stores, like iTunes and Amazon’s MP3 store, you will also need these licenses.

Loudr is currently the cheaper, simpler option and you can acquire a license for cover songs from them in 4 easy steps:

  1. Provide details that allow Loudr to identify your cover song
  2. Customize your license by telling Loudr how you plan to distribute the song and how many copies you plan to move
  3. Submit your order and pay £15 + royalty fees (dependent on quantity expected to sell/stream)
    Loudr then processes your information to identify the copyright holder of the song, secure the rights for it that you’ve requested, and sends the royalty payments to the appropriate person(s)
  4. Within 14 business days or less you’ll receive a notification that your license is available and you’ll be free to distribute your song

With Loudr you don’t need to worry if you sell or stream more than you predicted as you can repurchase the license from Loudr for a 50% discount fee if you do (on the service fee).

Find out more and get your license from Loudr here:

Alternatively you can acquire a cover song license from HFA here:

Distribute your music to the world’s biggest online stores for free with RouteNote. 

RouteNote digital music distributor licenses licensing cover songs


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

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