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Permissions and covers?

JenBurdoo 16 Mar 16 - 12:46 PM
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Subject: Permissions and covers?
From: JenBurdoo
Date: 16 Mar 16 - 12:46 PM

I've been using my Youtube channel to train up. Forcing myself to practice, record and post frequently has audibly improved my playing. I'm cautious in what I select though, and the vast majority of what I've done so far are public-domain songs. I've managed to contact a few individual songwriters, but am struggling with more famous ones and big labels that fail to respond to my requests. (For example, Borealis Records which appears to own the rights to Stan Rogers' stuff, Songways which owns some of Woody Guthrie's, etc.) So I'd like to pick some brains here.

- Is it considered appropriate/etiquette to record "covers" w/out permission as opposed to playing them live in a small group? What about more well-known songs and groups (Seeger, MacColl, etc) or anyone who's published a songbook (which presumably means they expect people to play the songs in it)?

- Are there any songwriters or labels that expressly permit private covers of their songs? I've learned Bob Dylan permits this, for example, in exchange for a promotional blurb and link to his website; and that there are some labels that Youtube has contracted with for free licenses in exchange for a cut of the ad revenue. Can't find any list of the latter, though. It looks like David Rovics is pretty permissive too.

- Any suggestions of musicians or labels that are quick to respond to queries?

Thanks for any thoughts!

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