Uploading your music onto streaming sites can be an exciting venture. However, if you’re new to the scene, you may not understand what goes into copyright laws.
DistroKid is one service that can help you get your music put onto major online stores and streaming platforms. However, some may wonder, does DistroKid copyright your music?
DistroKid does not copyright your music, as it is automatically copyrighted as soon as you upload or compose it. However, you can get an official copyright registration as a public record.
If you hold a copyright registration, you can bring an infringement suit if anyone else uses your music.
As you can see, the music distribution site doesn’t include copyright. Below, we’ll explain a bit more about why DistroKid doesn’t and why copyright is essential.
What is DistroKid?
DistroKid is a service that artists can use to help get their music distributed to online stores and streaming platforms.
Major platforms include iTunes, Facebook, and Instagram. For online stores, it can consist of TIDAL, Anghami, and others.
All artists will need to do is upload featured album art and covers, put songs into a track and submit a request to DistroKid.
Once you submit a request, DistroKid will work to approve your music and then distribute it to other platforms. This process takes anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.
What is a Copyright?
Musical copyright is copyright that designates legal ownership of either a musical composition or a sound recording.
However, copyright isn’t officially usable unless you register your music to have a copyright certificate. A certificate denotes the official ownership of the composition or upload.
Why is Having a Certificate Crucial?
Proof of copyright is crucial if you want to ensure that you get royalties or rights on your musical composition or upload.
The reason is that someone else may use your work without your permission. In these cases, you can file an infringement suit if your music is used without legal rights.
Does DistroKid Copyright Your Music?
DistroKid is only a music distribution website. It does not have any music uploaded and will only distribute your music to other major platforms. Your music will automatically receive copyright when you compose or upload it.
However, DistroKid doesn’t go the extra step and provides copyright certification. If you want that, you will need to fill out a copyright certification form. DistroKid clearly states that they do not copyright your music:
“This is not legal advice, and we are not your lawyer. But… under the present copyright law, which became effective January 1, 1978, a work is automatically protected by copyright when created. A work is created when it is “fixed” or embodied in a copy or phonorecord for the first time. Neither registration in the Copyright Office nor publication is required for copyright protection under the law.” – DistroKid
DistroKid explains why getting proper copyright registration can help artists. It can be helpful for copyright claims or infringement suits. Otherwise, anyone who uploads their music is putting their creation at risk.
How Long Does it Take to Get Copyright Registration Approved?
Copyright approval can take up to three months to officially approve and register anything.
While this is a long time, it’s because you will have to send in an application and pay the appropriate fees before they approve you. After you apply, you will get an email confirming your application.
Do You Have to Get Copyright Registration?
No, you don’t have to get copyright registration if you don’t want to. However, this leaves your work open to getting stolen.
While you still own a copyright, since you lack the registration, it will be hard to prove in court if you need to prove ownership.
We highly recommend that you get registration if you’re uploading music seriously. Any artist who is putting out music consistently should protect their work. This is especially true if you’re having your music put on major platforms.
Can You Get Copyright For Cover Songs?
You can get copyrights for your music and lyrics for cover songs. However, there are strict rules if you want to get copyright registration. All the music must be your original work or be a new song or arrangement.
You also don’t need permission to cover a song as long as you record a new version. However, it would be best if you gave credit where credit is due.
You can’t claim that the song is an original, as you will need to list the original title and composer.
Do Major Platforms Copyright Music?
When DistroKid distributes your music, it will be uploaded on streaming platforms or online stores.
Here, the stores do not grant you copyright, but they will enforce copyrights to songs uploaded on the platform. It will protect the song only somewhat, but will not have legal consequences.
Major platforms also allow you to retain all ownership rights to the music you upload. This includes platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok.
However, some distribution sites and major platforms also enable you to get copyright certificates if you pay them.
Do I Release Music Without Copyright?
Anyone who is releasing their music should always work toward getting copyright. This allows artists to be protected against false distribution, performances, or use of music without permission.
Additionally, it can help you collect payments and ensures that more people download your current musical content rather than pirate it or listen to it on another platform.
That being said, you can easily release your music without getting a copyright. As long as you know the repercussions of not officially copyrighting your music, it shouldn’t be a problem.
DistroKid Copyright FAQs
Does Spotify automatically copyright your music?
Spotify doesn’t copyright your music, as it will automatically become copyrighted when you put it on a tangible medium.
Once your song is recorded or written on paper, it’s automatically owned by you. However, you will need copyright registration to present proof of your copyright.
Does DistroKid do licensing?
DistroKid will charge a $12 fee annually to help obtain a license. This will be to manage cover songs.
How can I copyright my music?
Registering copyright requires that you submit a request to the Copyright Office. You will need the following:
- A completed application
- Pay a filing fee
- Deposit copies of work
Once you submit these pieces of information, you will get a form verifying your ownership of the copyright right.
Does DistroKid own your publishing?
No, DistroKid doesn’t get royalties or collect anything from your songs.
Royalties constitute reproduction rights, performance rights, and synchronization rights. None of these are collected by DistroKid.