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Skip Navigation LinksHome > About > Music Licensing > Of Existing Recordings
Licensing of Existing Recordings
Whenever you make a new recording of an existing recording that someone else made, even if it's just a small sample, no matter what format you make (CDs, DVD, web video), you need a Master License.

Common uses of Master Licenses include sampling, use of background tracks, and licensing of entire songs for special compilation albums (such as the Now! series). Licenses should be secured before you distribute. Reputable manufacturers require Proof of Licensing before they press your CDs or DVDs. Reputable online stores require Proof of Licensing before they will publish your album. You do not need to license recordings that you own or that you know are in the Public Domain.

Master licenses are custom-negotiated upfront with the copyright holder. We do not offer custom-negotiated licenses at this time. For further assistance, contact the artist directly, or their record label. To learn who owns the recording, look for the ℗ symbol on the album. This indicates ownership of a sound recording.

IMPORTANT:
Whenever you need a Master License for CDs or Digital Downloads, you also need a Mechanical License. The Master License pays only the artist for the right to use their recording; the Mechanical License  pays the composer for the right to use their song.

Whenever you need a Master License for DVDs or video, you also need a Synchronization License. The Master License pays only the artist for the right to use their recording; the Synchronization License pays the composer for the right to use their song. 
You might need:

Master License
If you make a new recording that includes an existing recording that someone else made, even if it's just a small sample.

Mechanical License
If you record a CD or Digital Download with a song that someone else wrote, even if you are the one playing the music.

Synchronization License
If you make a DVD or video with a song that someone else wrote, even if you are the one playing the music.

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