Copyright Clearance

The question you're answering.
March 26, 2024
Login to flag as inappropriate

Hi, I am a professional actor recently graduated from theatre school. I would like to record a couple of songs (namely Finishing the Hat, and If I Din't Believe In You) and upload them as part of my voice reel on my online casting portfolio. Could I ask for your guidance as to how to have copyright clearance for these particular songs only, for this particular purpose? 

1 Answer

Staff Answer
June 6, 2024

Hi! Per our legal department: Technically, the actor will need a mechanical license to record the underlying musical composition, and, if the actor also uses a backing track, then also a master-use license to use such backing track. It does not make a difference whether the actor is recording the songs for an album or a voice reel, although the rates that they are charged should be different.

MTI does not represent the individual music publishing rights in songs from shows in our catalog. For these licenses - synch, mechanical, reprint, etc. - you must contact the copyright owner or music publisher to clear the rights you need.

You may be able to determine the copyright owner or music publisher by looking at the copyright notices on your published material, usually on the bottom of the sheet music or in the liner notes of a cast recording.

Searching for the song title in the performance rights societies' databases is another option (in the United States, these organizations are ASCAPBMI and SESAC). These organizations represent most of the songs that appear in MTI shows in the United States; their websites will list the music publisher and contact information for each song represented. The Songview website combines the ASCAP and BMI repertories, and it may be the best starting place for your search.

When you have identified the publisher, you can visit their websites and reach out to them directly to obtain the license you need.