Recording or Performing OTP Songs

Want to record an Old-Time Pharmaceuticals song on your next album? Awesome! Here’s a simple way for making that happen.

How to Record an OTP Cover Song

Under current U.S. law, you don’t even need our permission to record a cover of any song that we’ve released on an album–though of course you’ve got our permission and gratitude! We want the songs to get out into the world where people can enjoy them.

Anyhow, here are the steps. We’re not lawyers (as any Bar Association will gratefully and vehemently attest), so none of this is legal advice, but it’ll work just fine for working with us.  

Step 1: Send us an email with some information about yourself, your album, and which Old-Time Pharmaceuticals song(s) you’re covering. Here’s the important information to include:

Your Name:

Your Address:

Your Phone Number:

Your Email:

Your Artist or Band Name:

Your Album Name:

The Release Date for Your Album:

Quantity of Units (# of albums you’re making for now):

The title(s) of the Old-Time Pharmaceuticals song(s) you’ll be covering:

The length(s) of the Old-Time Pharmaceuticals song(s) you’ll be covering:

Step 2: We send you a PayPal invoice at the rate set by law. For songs shorter than 5 minutes, the payment amount will be 9.1 cents per cover song, multiplied by the number of copies created. For songs longer than six minutes, the payment will be 1.75 cents per minute times the number of copies created.

If you’re doing a three-minute cover of “Ramblin’ After Rain,” for example, and doing an initial run of 200 albums, the payment amount would be 9.1 cents (the federally set rate for songs shorter than five minutes) x 200 (the number of copies of the song you’re making), for a total payment of $18.20. (Yeah, we’re talking big money here.)

For a five minute and 20 second cover of “Lullaby of the Sky” on the same initial run of 200 albums, the payment would be 1.75 cents per minute x 5 1/3 minutes x 200, for a total payment of $18.67.

Step 3: You pay the PayPal invoice, then you’re licensed to record the cover song(s)!

Happy covering!

Other Questions

Q: How should I handle digital album and song sales?
A. Digital album and song sales have the same cover-song payment rate as physical sales, so all the math is the same. The question of when to do the math and make the payments is definitely a little weird, though! We think there’s some kind of official monthly or quarterly schedule for tallying up sales and making payments, but that’s pretty intense for folk music, so please don’t worry about that with us: just tally up the sales at the end of the year and send us an email letting us know what invoice to send you through PayPal. If the payment would be less than $5, please save the time and don’t bother. Just have a coffee or other libation of your choice on us.

Q: What about streaming?
A: You’re good to go there! Streaming licenses are covered by the platforms themselves.

Q: What about performing the songs? Do I need to do anything special for that?
A: All Old-Time Pharmaceuticals songs are released under a Creative Commons non-commercial, attribution, share-alike 4.0 international license. You can read more about what that means here, but from our perspective, if nobody’s making money from the performance OR if all the money you’re raising goes toward a non-profit charity, you’re good to go as long as you mention who wrote the songs. In situations like that, you don’t even need special permission from us; permission is already included in the Creative Commons license. (We’d love to hear if you’re singing an Old-Time Pharmaceuticals song at your church or charity fundraiser, though, so if you have the time, send us an email and let us know! It’d make us very happy.) If somebody is making money off of the performance (other than a charity), then the performance venue needs to pay for public performance rights with ASCAP, which is the Old-Time Pharmaceuticals’ performing rights organization. If you’re performing at a pub or some other venue that hosts a lot of musical performances, you can expect that the venue is already paying for public performance rights–which is actually the venue’s responsibility, not yours. Check with the venue management to make sure, but if the venue is paying for public performance rights through ASCAP, then you can cover Old-Time Pharmaceuticals songs in your live performances to your heart’s content!

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