Types of Music Licenses


Mechanical Licenses

If you are an artist who wants to re-record an existing, copyrighted song, you should go to

However, if you are a brand or other entity who desires to re-record a song for commercial purposes, read on below as MEGA can solve your rights needs.

Mechanical licensing is the licensing of copyrighted musical compositions for use on CDs, records, tapes, and certain digital configurations.

If you want to re-record or create a new version of a song that someone else wrote, a mechanical license will allow you to legally distribute your own version of that song, while ensuring that the original composer is recognized and compensated. The exact use cases will determine to what extent the original owners may need to approve the use. In copyright law, a mechanical license is a license that grants certain limited permissions to work with, study, improve upon, reinterpret, re-record (etc.) something that is neither a free/open source item nor in the public domain.

Master Recording Licenses

Usually owned by recording companies, master recording licenses refer to the use of a pre-recorded song for a variety of uses. MEGA has extensive experience working with Universal Music, Warner Music, Sony Music, EMI, and hundreds independent labels all over the world

Publishing/Synchronization Licenses

Publishing licenses refer to the portion of a song owned by the original writers and often times owned by large global entities including: Warner Chappell, Universal Publishing, EMI, and hundreds of independent publishers. The Publishing or Synchronization license allows the licensee to “sync” music with some kind of visual media output.

While compulsory licenses can be obtained for any song to record a new version and distribute it, use cases including but not limited to adverts, commercials of any kind, use of a song on corporate websites or videos, YouTube, Facebook and all social media, mobile apps, films, and games require negotiation and permission from the publisher. Often times, there can be multiple publishers for a single song as there may be multiple writers each having different publishers representing their interests.

Vocal Consent Agreements from Singers

Regardless of whether or not a master recording was created under union jurisdiction (AFTRA, SAG, AFM), use of the vocal performance(s) requires permission. If a master recording was created under union jurisdiction, the use of the vocal performance(s) requires payment of at least SAG scale, but the performer has the right to negotiate their fee.


The right to play or perform copyrighted music in any way publicly requires a public performance rights license.  This applies to anything from a radio station, to a restaurant, to a marching band.

The good news is that you don’t need to obtain public performance rights from every label and publisher. The licensing is handled by ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) and BMI (Broadcast Music Incorporated) and SESAC (Society of European Stage Authors and Composers).

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