Backing tracks vs. original masters?


Backing Tracks
If you are looking to sample an original master sound recording within your own release, you might want to think twice. If in fact you are using the original master sound recording there will be 2 sides of permission: A) publishing side representing the song's composition (songwriter administration/publisher/intellectual rights to the lyrics/melody involved), and B) the master rights side representing the original master sound recording (record label side regarding the original audio you are using/sampling). Both sides must agree on the same MFN rate (Most Favored Nation - I have a section below to break this down).

Normally, it is a much easier path to use a cover/re-recorded version vs. the original master. This will help make this more way more affordable (master rights will easily double your cost per song). When you sample master audio, you are obliged to share all pricing/quotes you've received and share them with all rights holders involved. As result, if approved, you will get an MFN quote ("Most Favored Nation") which means that all administration sides in the same release/project must command equal value across the board, and the highest bid wins out. Both the original master side and the publishing side need to cooperate within the same MFN per side (one side cannot be paid less than another)

The master side representing the song's original sound recording rights holder is usually controlled by the record label or a master rights division within a larger entity. This is treated as a whole separate side of the license, which is where sharing an MFN approval with the other side of permission comes into play. For example, if the publishing side comes back at $250 MFN/side, then the master side would also need to agree to $250 MFN (however, they have the ability to increase the rate, and usually with major labels they will), so the total bill for the song use would equal an "all-in" cost of $500. This also holds true if you are using a high-end cover version (from another major artist).

The reason I like to steer clients away from using original masters from the original recordings artists is simple, they easily double your cost for any rights holder clearance vs. using a cover version from one of our preferred vendors. Using a 3rd party cover version will be at least 90% cheaper on the master side, and if you are interested in that route, then you would only be subject to dealing with the publishing/songwriter side, which relieves some of the pressure and costs.

If you are in need of a cover version, Easy Song works with several vendors who do this at a very high level at very low rates. This is what we call "master leasing", which can help soften the blow for any budget vs. sampling the original master, which easily can get denied in the first place or charge you into the 4-5 digit range! Feel free to connect with us by selecting the tab "Get Backing Tracks" at the top of, and we are happy to show you audio samples of these great cover versions you need to help save you money in the long run.