If you are distributing the cover song with CD Baby
CD Baby requires all artists to obtain a mechanical license in order to distribute a cover song to any of our partners.
However, mechanical licensing is not required for your music to be available on streaming platforms (as opposed to digital downloads). Streaming companies like Spotify, Apple Music, etc. are responsible for paying out all royalties to the publishers themselves. Our artists are NOT on the hook for royalty payments on those kinds of streams.
When purchasing a license, there is no need to purchase one specifically for streams. But you DO need to purchase at least digital download licensing to move forward with distribution, regardless of your level of distribution.
Personal website, SoundCloud, Facebook
If you wish to offer streaming of your cover song on your personal website; or want to post a full song stream of a cover on Soundcloud, Facebook, etc; then you would need to secure a streaming license for your cover song.
Streaming covers on YouTube
On YouTube the presence of a video image makes it a synchronization issue instead of a reproduction, so you need a sync license. This needs to be requested directly from the publisher. Without it, you will likely get either a claim on your video via the YouTube CMS, a takedown notice, or in the worst case, sued.
The option is open to any artist to attempt to license directly from the publisher for all of the potential rights they may need, including sync for YouTube, etc. This is not practical in most cases, but there's no reason not to try. It never hurts to ask the publisher, but we cannot assist in this process.
Where to get a license
For mechanical licenses or help reaching out to the publisher of the song to obtain a synchronization license, Easy Song Licensing can help.