Legalities of making a music compilation CD (for sell).
April 24, 2005 8:14 PM   Subscribe

My wife has an interesting business idea which involves the manufacturing of a music compilation CD. Does anyone know the process of paying royalties to specific artists and/or record companies?

That said, can something like this be rolled out on a small scale, or might we need a business plan that involves every Walmart, Starbucks, etc.
posted by tfmm to Media & Arts (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
It's late and I'm flagging, but you're dealing with mechanical royalties (the publishing) and master licensing. You can fill out a compulsory mechanical license with the Harry Fox Agency in most cases. If the publishing holder is registered with them, you cut a check to Harry Fox and they take care of paying it out. The mechanical license covers reproduction and sale.

However, in most cases you will also have to license the song from the master owner, in most cases a record label. They have the "master" recording from which you can compile your disc. This may not be cheap and involves negotiation with the label's legal department.
posted by Captaintripps at 8:38 PM on April 24, 2005

Too vague, more info please. Will she sell the CDs?
posted by klangklangston at 2:08 AM on April 25, 2005

The idea involves including a CD of handpicked songs with another product. Ideally, we’d like to start small and sell the package at art boutiques and see how it goes from there.
posted by tfmm at 6:47 AM on April 25, 2005

CaptainTripps is correct. For each track you will need to execute two contracts -- one with the label or band to license the sound recording, the other with Harry Fox (or the author / publisher directly) for the mechanicals.

I've done a couple of these compilations -- email me directly (see profile) if you want to get into more details.
posted by omnidrew at 7:58 AM on April 25, 2005

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