Mechanical License

Understanding mechanical license:

A mechanical license grants the rights to reproduce and distribute copyrighted musical compositions (songs) on CDs, records, tapes, ringtones, permanent digital downloads, interactive streams and other digital configurations supporting various business models, including locker-based music services and bundled music offerings. If you want to record and distribute a song that you don’t own or control, or if your business requires the distribution of music that was written by others, you need to obtain a mechanical license. A mechanical license doesn’t include the use of a song in a video. That use requires a synchronization license which you will need to obtain by contacting the publisher(s) directly.

It is important to note that underlying what most people think of as a “song” is actually two components: the composition (music notes and lyrics that make up a song, created by the composers) and the original recorded audio (recording of musicians playing the song, created by the artists). Often the composers and artists are the same people, but not always. These song components can be owned separately by different entities. For this reason, there are two types of licenses to protect the two types of creations: 1) a mechanical license (audio-only) or synchronization license (video) for the composer to protect the composition, and 2) a master license for the recording artist to protect the original recording. It’s important to understand both components, and both types of licenses when obtaining permission for a “song”:


BMI is what is known as a music performing right organization. A performing right organization represents songwriters, composers, and music publishers. BMI represents performance rights while Songwriters, Composers, and Music Publishers focus on their craft. Businesses that Use Music. Music adds value to any business, organization, or digital platform.

ASCAP, an American organization, established in 1914, was the first such body formed to protect the rights of composers and collect fees for the public performances of their music. In accordance with intellectual-property and copyright laws, it collects royalties and licensing fees from music.

Some Cool Facts

  • Singing in a group improves the mood.
  • Actually, musicians tend to live a shorter life span.
  • It is believed music can activate the emotional, motor, and creative areas of the brain.
  • The harmonica is the world’s best-selling music instrument.
  • The U.S. music industry generates more than $16 billion, 50% of which is in online music. Globally, the music industry generates more than $40 billion.
  • Music was sent down a telephone line for the first time in 1876, the year the phone was invented.
  • It was at a concert in Minneapolis in 1954 that Al Dvorin first closed Elvis’s concerts with: “Ladies and Gentleman, Elvis has left the building. Thank you and good night.”
  • Bob Dylan’s first professional performance was as an opening act for John Lee Hooker at Gerde’s Folk City in New York, 1961.
  • The Star-Spangled Banner became the US national anthem in 1931. Prior to that, it was My Country “Tis of Thee,” which had the same melody as Britain’s national anthem God Save the Queen, which is based on music written by John Bull in 1619. Bull’s melody has been used more than any song in national anthems.
  • Duran Duran took their name from a mad scientists in the 1968 Jane Fonda movie Barbarella.