In this case, you need to know the songwriter and the music publisher of the song. You can obtain this information by knowing how to perform a song copyright search.
3.) If the music publisher representing the songwriter is affiliated with a mechanical licensing agent (which is an authorized third party representative), then you need to contact the agent for a complete mechanical licensing agreement package (depends on your use and application).
Example of a mechanical licensing agent in the US is Harry Fox Agency.
It offers a lot of licensing packages that suits your needs. So first, it might be worth your time to consult their website and see if the material you need is already represented by Harry Fox Agency. They have a user-friendly website that allows you to search their entire catalog. Most major and big indie music publishers are affiliated with Harry Fox agency. If it’s not represented, then the music publisher or the songwriter can issue you the mechanical license.
What are the important points in the mechanical licensing agreement?
Like other agreements, a mechanical license contains some points that you should understand before you enter the agreement. Harry Fox agency has a pretty straightforward licensing process and can be done online. However for independent songwriters and music publishers, it can be different and mostly done on paper. It is summarized below:
1.) Date of the agreement
2.) Your name (“owner”) – if you are entering an agreement with a songwriter, this is the name of the songwriter. Otherwise it is the name of the music publisher.
3.) Licensee name – your name, or company name/business name of the licensee.
4.) Title of the works – this is the list of tracks that you want to license.
5.) Songwriter of the works
6.) The extent of the mechanical license – e.g. right to record, reproduce, market, sell and distribute the work. Also you might want to grant either an exclusive (very rare) or a non-exclusive license to the licensee. This should be stated clearly on the agreement.
7.) The price per units manufactured or sold. This is usually in cents. This is the basis for royalty computation which is done by multiplying the number of units (copies) by the royalty rate or the price per unit.
8.) The period of royalty payment if applicable.
9.) There are also indemnification clauses as well other conditions depending on the agreement between the licensee and the songwriter/music publisher.
10.) Finally, the licensee and the music publisher/songwriter signature at the end of the agreement indicating that all terms are agreed.
You can see a sample mechanical licensing agreement here.
Bear in mind that if terms and clauses appear complicated to you, you should always have it reviewed by an entertainment lawyer.
Content last updated on July 24, 2012