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A Mechanical License for Streaming: Everything You Need to Know

mechanical license for streaming

Mechanical License for Streaming: When using someone else’s music in your content, there are several important ethical and legal considerations you need to take into account.

Music is subject to copyright. This means there’s an organization or person who owns the legal right for its use. You cannot use a copyrighted song without getting the appropriate permission from the owner.

A music license is a contractual agreement that states the terms on which an artist’s music can be used on other platforms. You need to properly understand licensing to secure yourself and stay safe from copyright infringement.

If you aren’t the copyright owner, the best thing to do is to not use the music in your content until you get permission or license.

The rules for using copyrighted material are quite similar for live streams as other kinds of content. Using copyrighted material without the right license in a live stream can result in the stream getting stopped and demonetized. Several streaming platforms automatically scan streams for copyrighted content. In this article, we will explore everything you need to know about getting a license for streaming, including a mechanical license for streaming. But first, let’s take a brief look at what is a mechanical license.

What Is a Mechanical License?

A mechanical license is an agreement that grants you the permission to reproduce copies of the instrumental music or lyrics of a copyrighted song in an audio-only format. These include CDs, vinyl, interactive audio streams, and digital downloads. This permission is also known as mechanical rights.

License for Streaming

If you post music for online streaming, like on YouTube, or your own blog or website, make sure to get a license and permission for any song you didn’t write yourself and recordings done by other people such as samples, background tracks, or karaoke tracks.

The exact type of license you need will depend on the type of stream. There are three kinds of streams to look at:

  1. Video Streams (Digital video platforms like YouTube): These encompass all kinds of video, along with any stream where an image appears over the audio, such as lyrics, slideshows, and other visualizations. You will need a synchronization license for video streams. In addition, you will also need a print license if you display music notes or lyrics.
  2. Interactive Audio Streams (non-visual, non-video, on-demand, audio-only streams): These streams can be selected, added to a playlist, and paused by the listener (such as Apple Music, Spotify). You will need a mechanical license for streaming along with a public performance license.  
  3. Non-interactive Audio Streams (non-visual, non-video, non-interactive, audio-only streams): These streams cannot be selected, added to a playlist, paused, or controlled by the listener (such as traditional radio, SiriusXM, Pandora). For non-interactive audio streams, you will need a public performance license. You will not need a mechanical license for streaming here.

If you use any pre-existing audio, you might need a master license as well. You need all the relevant licenses before posting or streaming the music. You don’t require licensing for songs that you’ve written yourself or songs that are in the public domain.

Who Is Responsible for Getting a Mechanical License for Streaming Interactive Audio Streams?

How to get a mechanical license for streaming

In certain cases, digital service providers such as Bandcamp, Spotify, and Apple Music will handle mechanical licenses for streaming interactive audio streams themselves by choosing to work as a blanket licensee and paying the mechanical royalties to The Mechanical Licensing Collective as required by the Music Modernization Act.

Nevertheless, it is important to keep in mind that not every digital service provider will handle the mechanical license for streaming interactive audio streams. If you distribute to a small digital service provider with less than 5,000 unique sound recordings, or if you distribute on your website, you have to acquire a license. If you’re in doubt, check the digital service providers’ terms of use or ask if they take care of mechanical license for streaming interactive audio streams on their platform.

How to Get a Mechanical License for Streaming Interactive Audio Streams

The relevant mechanical license for streaming interactive videos can be acquired through Easy Songs Custom Licensing services.

Last Few Words

We hope this article gave you in-depth information about getting a mechanical license for streaming interactive audio streams. Remember, using copyrighted music without the relevant license can have serious legal consequences, so make sure to always obtain the appropriate license before uploading or publishing your content.

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