Why Am I Required to Purchase My Cover Song License Through DistroKid?
Each time you upload a song to DistroKid, you'll see a checkbox to specify whether you wrote the song (an "original"), or someone else wrote it (a "cover").
There's a law in the United States that dictates how royalties from cover songs need to be be shared with the original songwriter. If you're interested in the details, click here for some light reading (sarcasm).
The good news is that DistroKid makes easy to upload covers, such that you never have to think about it. Just click the box on our upload form specifying that it's a cover song, and for a small fee ($12 per cover song, renewed annually, as of this writing). DistroKid will then automatically withdraw the legally required amount from your royalties (usually 9.1 cents per sale in the U.S.) and send it to the original songwriter.
And if you already have a license to distribute the cover song? Sorry, but you still must opt into DistroKid's license anyway. The reason is because we have no way of confirming that the original songwriter is getting paid their legally-required share--unless we're the ones paying them. Not opting covers into DistroKid's cover song licensing program can lead to stores taking down your content--or worse--songwriters taking legal action. And nobody wants that.
Please note that DistroKid does not distribute songs that are in the public domain.