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Public Domain Christmas Songs: How to License a Christmas Cover | LANDR Blog

So, if you’re interested in making a Christmas album of your own may be wondering—how does Christmas song licensing work?

The article from the LANDR Blog, titled “Public Domain Christmas Songs: How to License a Christmas Cover,” written by Alex Lavoie, delves into the intricacies of Christmas song licensing, particularly focusing on public domain Christmas songs and how to legally cover songs that are not in the public domain.

Summary of the Article

The article begins by highlighting the immense popularity of Christmas songs, noting that classics like Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas is You” have been streamed over a billion times on Spotify. It then addresses a key question for musicians: how to navigate the licensing of Christmas songs for cover albums.

Public Domain Christmas Songs

The article explains that public domain Christmas songs are those that have lost their copyright protection, allowing anyone to use their lyrics and melodies freely. In the United States, as of 2021, any work published before 1926 is likely in the public domain. This means songs like “O Christmas Tree,” “Silent Night,” and “Jingle Bells” can be covered without needing a special license. The article suggests using Google or a public domain song database to verify the publishing date of a song.

Covering Non-Public Domain Christmas Songs

For newer songs like “White Christmas” and “Little Drummer Boy,” obtaining the proper licenses or clearance is necessary. The article mentions that digital music distribution services, such as LANDR Distribution, offer cover song licensing for a one-time fee. It’s important to note that while you can release these covers under your name, songwriting royalties must still be paid to the original owner.

List of Public Domain Christmas Songs

The article provides a helpful list of popular Christmas songs currently in the public domain, including:

  1. “Jingle Bells”
  2. “Silent Night”
  3. “O Christmas Tree”
  4. “Joy to the World”
  5. “Handel’s Messiah”
  6. “We Three Kings”
  7. “O Little Town of Bethlehem”
  8. “The Nutcracker Theme”
  9. “Deck the Halls”
  10. “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”
  11. “Good King Wenceslas”
  12. “Angels We Have Heard on High”
  13. “Twelve Days of Christmas”
  14. “The First Noel”
  15. “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”
  16. “Come All Ye Faithful”

The article concludes by encouraging artists to proceed with their Christmas cover albums, advising them to secure cover song licenses for any tracks not in the public domain. It also mentions Alex Lavoie’s role at LANDR and his involvement in music outside of his writing.

Insights From The Article

  1. Understanding Copyright Laws: How can musicians navigate copyright laws effectively to avoid legal issues while covering popular songs?
  2. The Value of Public Domain Songs: What creative opportunities do public domain songs offer to contemporary musicians, especially during the holiday season?
  3. The Role of Digital Distribution Services: How have digital distribution services simplified the process of obtaining cover song licenses for artists?

This summary should provide a comprehensive overview for your music business blog, offering valuable insights into the world of music licensing, particularly in the context of Christmas songs.

Source: Public Domain Christmas Songs: How to License a Christmas Cover | LANDR Blog

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