Can I Upload Cover Songs?


To upload a cover, make sure to click "Another artist wrote it" on DistroKid's upload form, in the "Cover song" section.

DistroKid charges a fee of $12 per year, renewed annually, to manage each cover song for you. We will:
  • Obtain license(s)
  • Pay the original songwriter(s) every month
  • Keep up-to-date on copyright laws affecting your music
  • Do the things described here and here
A "cover song" is a song that you performed & recorded yourself, but the music was written by someone else. For example, when your band plays "Smooth Criminal" (written by Michael Jackson). This is totally okay—DistroKid makes it easy and legal to sell cover songs.

DistroKid will obtain the required compulsory mechanical license for you. We'll automatically deduct the legally-mandated fee of 9.1¢ per song sold in the U.S. from your earnings and pay it to the original songwriter. You'll get 100% of the rest. You don't have to do anything else.

You must purchase a DistroKid cover license each and every time you upload a cover song to DistroKid. For example, if you upload the same cover song twice, you need to select the “Cover Song” option both times, essentially buying two licenses. That’s how our system knows to deduct the songwriter’s share of earnings from your earnings (for both uploads of that song, in this example). Furthermore, DistroKid licenses apply only to content directly distributed by DistroKid, and cannot be used for any purposes outside of DistroKid.

Note: DistroKid cover licenses do not permit derivative works such as original language translations of copyrighted lyrics. Cover licenses only provide legal coverage if the main elements of the song, original lyrics & melody, remain fundamentally unaltered within the new sound recording.

For more information about uploading arrangements of works in the public domain, please check out the FAQ article here.

Please don't include the original artist's name in the track title. For example,

Enter Sandman

Enter Sandman (originally performed by Metallica)
Enter Sandman by Metallica

For more information about purchasing cover song licenses through DistroKid, please see this article.