Excuse me for barging in but this caught my attention on Distrokid’s home page: “Distribute cover songs legally”. How does it work? Do they request authorization to the rights holders? And what about the benefits, are they split?
Under the Glenn Fricker testimonial, he says this: “The best feature, in my opinion, is the cover song license system. This is a HUGE help, and has saved me untold hours of dealing with legal documents.” I don’t think you necessarily need to request authorization, though it’s possible. Some years ago I think it was the Harry Fox Agency that handled a lot of this, and it was a pretty straight forward royalty rate to compensate the songwriter. In many cases, they’d probably be dumb to not take the money. Now, when it comes to having your song in an advertisement, the artists can be more picky. That can be seen as a “sell out” and not all artists want to be associated with it. I would guess, but it’s only a guess, that artists are able to pre-approve what they want licensed and what they don’t, so there doesn’t have to be lots of time and correspondence involved. It sounds like Distrokid is willing to handle this for you. I don’t know if that’s included in your annual subscription or if it’s an extra fee beyond the license fees to the copyright holder.
Do you mean the licensing or your song royalties from purchases? As I understand it, there is a standard rate (or perhaps in some cases, a negotiated rate) that is paid out to the copyright holder for each song sold. Like $0.10 per song or something. That would come off the top, and just reduce what you’d make off your own original song. So there’s obviously less money in it for you, but if people like it and buy it (because they know the song) your sales could potentially be much higher.
Distrokid handles the license for you. You check a box saying that your upload is a cover song, and it’s $12/year (per cover song) to handle the licenses. The licenses are handled via Loudr, behind the scenes. And then yeah some percentage of your earnings goes to the original songwriters, or whoever owns the copyright. It’s something like 10c per download. Not sure how much per stream.