Video Game Soundtracks and Sound Effects
Video game music, much like film music, isn't always released in the same way that pop music is. In many cases, the soundtrack has only officially been released as part of the game and not as it's own audio-only product. So there are times when we can license covers of video game music, and some times when we cannot.
Compulsory Mechanical Licensing Law
When you hire us for Cover Song licensing, we follow the compulsory mechanical licensing statutes of the United States copyright law. These statutes allow you to legally release your new recording of any existing song, even without the copyright holder's express permission (under certain conditions). You might have heard that some songwriters are very protective of their artistic works and that they will not give permission to make new recordings of their songs. If you ask them directly, they can demand any fee or deny your request outright. But when you hire us to follow the compulsory law for you, you can legally release your recording of anyone's song. This law fosters artistic creativity and allows indie musicians to create new versions of very popular songs.
Some restrictions in the law limit its use. While general rearrangement in your recording is allowed, a compulsory license cannot be obtained if there are fundamental changes to the lyrics or melody; also, any rearrangement in print (sheet music) or reproduction of the music notes or lyrics is not covered by this license. Master rights (use of a copyrighted recording) are not covered by this license. Also, the copyright holder has the right to be the first to release their song. So, you can only get a compulsory mechanical license if the song has already been released. International songs not copyrighted in the United States are not subject to the compulsory law. Finally, selling your album is allowed under this license, but not for public performance; background track; or karaoke purposes. Only for private listening by the end user.
We will not be able to help you get a compulsory mechanical license if...
- you change the lyrics of the song,
- you change the fundamental melody of the song (general rearrangement is allowed however),
- you request a song that has never been released in an audio-only format,
- you need to license retroactively (a previous release of yours),
- you release your recording of the song for any purpose other than personal private listening by the end user, or
- you request a song with a copyright holder based outside of, and not represented in the United States.
If any of the above limitations is true for you, or if you need a different music license, do not despair. We can still help you with our Custom Licensing services.