If you plan to offer products or services in Canada which contain songs which you don’t own or control, you need to obtain permission to use those songs. Such permission is granted through different types of licences, and we’re here to help you get through this process with a minimum of fuss.
Refer to the descriptions below to determine which type of licence(s) you require and whether CMRRA can help.
Please also see CMRRA’s Repertoire page for more information about the music publishers and copyright owners we represent.
If you are the sole copyright owner of the musical work, and have not assigned your rights to a music publisher or third party, you do not need to apply to CMRRA or a licence, nor pay mechanical royalties for the use of your own song. This is true even if you, as a copyright owner, are represented by CMRRA.
However, if you do not own or administer 100% of the copyright in the song, you will need to obtain a licence for the share(s) you don't control.
If you are reproducing physical product then you will need a mechanical licence. CMRRA issues mechanical licenses through two basic plans to individuals or companies reproducing music on physical product(s): “pay-as-you-press or import”, or pursuant to the terms of the standard Mechanical Licensing Agreement. See which plan you qualify for below.
- Limited Quantity Licensing (Pay-As-You-Press/Import): If you are manufacturing or importing products in small quantities, or releasing sound recordings on a one-shot or limited basis, our Pay-As-You-Press/Import plan is the appropriate method of application for you. To obtain a "pay-as-you-press/import" licence, or for more detailed information about this plan, please click here or visit our Pay-As-You-Press Licensing FAQ.
- The Mechanical Licensing Agreement: if you are manufacturing or importing sound recording products on a continuing basis, we may require that you enter into CMRRA's standard Mechanical Licensing Agreement (MLA). Under the MLA, royalties are payable as products are sold on a quarterly basis. The MLA sets out standard terms and conditions related to licence application, royalty rates, sales and royalty reporting requirements, reserve accounting, promotional copies, deletes and, where applicable, the treatment of songs covered by controlled composition clauses. For more information regarding the MLA, please visit our Mechanical Licensing FAQ or contact our Independent Licensing Department.
► I am reproducing music for the purpose of online music distribution, e.g. permanent downloads, streaming, webcasting
If you plan to distribute musical works digitally to Canadian consumers or listeners using desktop or mobile applications, you'll need to obtain an online music licence. The licensing of online music services in Canada is carried out by CSI (CMRRA-SODRAC Inc) on behalf of CMRRA. For more information, see CMRRA’s Tariffs page or visit CSI's Website.
If you are a performing artist or a record company who wish to distribute recordings to Canadian consumers via a third party online music service, such as iTunes or Spotify, please note that you are not required to obtain a reproduction rights licence for the musical works embedded in those recordings. In Canada, such licences are granted by CSI to the online music services who, in turn, pay royalties to CSI for their streaming and downloading activities.
CSI (CMRRA-SODRAC Inc) issues licenses to radio broadcasters for the reproduction right related to musical works in CMRRA's repertoire. For more information, see CMRRA’s Tariffs page or visit CSI's Website.
CSI (CMRRA-SODRAC Inc) administers the Satellite Radio Tariff which licenses the reproduction right related to musical works in CMRRA's repertoire to multi-channel subscription satellite radio services licensed by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). For more information, see CMRRA’s Tariffs page or visit CSI's Website.
CSI (CMRRA-SODRAC Inc) issues licences for the reproduction right related to musical works in CMRRA's repertoire to background music services available in Canada. Such services are defined as services that integrate music, voice and sound to broadcast background music in an establishment for its customers’ continuous listening. For more information, please visit CSI's Website.
If you plan to use music in an audiovisual production, such as a film or television program, a commercial or a DVD product, you'll need to obtain a synchronization licence. CMRRA no longer offers synchronization licensing services and as such, you will need to directly contact the rightsholder(s) of the musical work in question to obtain your licence. For further information, please see our Synchronization FAQ or contact the rightsholder(s) of the song you wish to use.
If you plan to offer audiovisual content to Canadian consumers then you may need to obtain a post-synchronization licence for music contained in that audiovisual content. As the name implies, this is a licence for reproduction of music contained in a finished audiovisual work, such as when the completed audiovisual work is copied for broadcasting purposes. For more information about post-synchronization licensing, please see CMRRA’s Tariffs page or our Synchronization Licensing FAQ.