Determine which type of licence you require from the case scenario list below.
As a first step, visit our resources section and search our Song Database to determine the ownership of the songs you are looking to license. Searches can be done via work title, writer name, publisher, associated artist or ISWC number
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 for 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/Import”, or pursuant to the terms of the standard Mechanical Licensing Agreement. See which plan you qualify for below.
- Pay-AS-You-Press/Import (Limited Quantity Licensing): 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 works 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 recordings to Canadian consumers via a licensed third-party online music service, such as iTunes, Spotify, Meta (Facebook & Instagram), TikTok, or YouTube, you are not required to obtain a reproduction rights licence for the musical works embedded in those recordings. In Canada, CMRRA licences these services directly, and they will be responsible for reporting and paying royalties for use of CMRRA’s repertoire.
If you plan to stream or sell digital downloads via 3rd party distributors (such as CD Baby or Bandcamp) then you must approach the publisher(s) directly for mechanical licensing. Please ensure you are familiar with the terms and conditions of your online music service you upload music to.
If you plan to stream or sell digital downloads from your own website, CMRRA can licence the use of its repertoire pursuant to a direct agreement with you, and subject to our contracting and reporting standards.
CMRRA has tariffs filed with the Copyright Board of Canada for the reproduction of musical works in its repertoire that broadcasters make in the course of their operations. Separate tariffs apply to commercial broadcasters and ‘non-commercial’ radio broadcasters (i.e. community and campus radio stations run on a not-for-profit basis). See more information about CMRRA's Tariffs here. If you are broadcasting only over the internet, please note that you will require an online music services licence.
CMRRA issues licenses to multi-channel subscription satellite radio services licensed by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) for the reproduction right related to musical works in CMRRA's repertoire. For more information, see CMRRA’s Tariffs page.
CMRRA issues licences for the reproduction right related to musical works in its 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. These licences are only available by direct agreement with CMRRA. Please contact us for more information
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 work 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.