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What Is a Mechanical License?

Mechanical license fees are payable to songwriters and music publishers when other people use their music on a sound recording.Mechanical license rates are set by statute – which you would pay through the Harry Fox Agency if you were making a cover tune, for example – but these can be negotiated downward by record companies directly with the songwriter and publisher.

When you make a record deal, the record company will try to negotiate down the mechanical license rate as low as possible, because they will have to pay this agreed upon rate to you (and the publisher if there is one other than you) for each track they make of a song you wrote.Be sure to understand what you will be getting in mechanical license fees -- before you sign!

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