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Ryan Jobson

Are you allowed to sell your video game music covers?

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Hi guys,

This topic is something I don't know a lot about, and was hoping someone could shed some light on it for me. Basically I'd just like to know what the rules are when it comes to selling covers of video game music. Since the melody's are copied I understand it would qualify as copyright infringement, because one would be profiting off of another composer's intellectual property.

Why I am bringing this up is because I've been following someone's work on YouTube for a while and recently found out he is selling compilations of his video game music covers on bandcamp. I don't want to name name's because I'm still very much so a fan of his work, but I will say that he only does acapella covers and has a large following (near 1m subscribers). These covers are very well done and mixed and produced well, but they are indeed 100% a copy of the original without any arrangement changes.

How is he able to do this and sell CDs of his compilations? Is this done legally? I can post a link if it helps clarify.

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I'm no legal expert, but I've heard the answer enough times to know that you'd have to get some sort of license for the work from the developers who own it etc.

If you just made a for-profit album of remixes and covers from a TV Show, film, game or whatever without some sort of legal permission - you are technically breakin' the law as Judas Priest would say. So either he has a license to do so or he just has the balls to see if anyone notices.

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I don't know about Bandcamp but Smooth is on Joypad Records which handles the royalties and licensing of videogame covers and arrangements. He's also on Loudr which is sort of the same thing, I don't know if there is a collaboration between the two. Loudr also gets that music to other services like iTunes.

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Hi guys,

This topic is something I don't know a lot about, and was hoping someone could shed some light on it for me. Basically I'd just like to know what the rules are when it comes to selling covers of video game music. Since the melody's are copied I understand it would qualify as copyright infringement, because one would be profiting off of another composer's intellectual property.

Why I am bringing this up is because I've been following someone's work on YouTube for a while and recently found out he is selling compilations of his video game music covers on bandcamp. I don't want to name name's because I'm still very much so a fan of his work, but I will say that he only does acapella covers and has a large following (near 1m subscribers). These covers are very well done and mixed and produced well, but they are indeed 100% a copy of the original without any arrangement changes.

How is he able to do this and sell CDs of his compilations? Is this done legally? I can post a link if it helps clarify.

There's always some kind of legal agreement with something like this; whether it's between the company publishing the remixes and the copyright holder(s), or between the remixers themselves and said copyright holder(s). So yeah, either the person you're talking about has a legal contract under his belt in some fashion (is it Smooth McGroove?), or he's going to eventually be getting at least a C&D order.

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I don't know about Bandcamp but Smooth is on Joypad Records which handles the royalties and licensing of videogame covers and arrangements. He's also on Loudr which is sort of the same thing, I don't know if there is a collaboration between the two. Loudr also gets that music to other services like iTunes.

Joypad Records is just Loudr under a different name. They're the same guys, same platform, etc. They're actually phasing out Joypad Records and just keeping the brand under one name, iirc.

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Yeah, Loudr is great for that. Plus I think that Josh Whelchel is involved with that so it's still in the community in a way?

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Hey guys!

pokemoneinstein is correct - Joypad Records is the same service as Loudr.

We actually have a new homepage that explains precisely what we do here: http://www.loudr.fm/

But in so many words, we basically take care of making the monetization of cover songs legal for no up-front fees, so you don't have to invest money-not-yet-earned to sell your music.

A quick note because I know this is a hot topic:

Loudr is intended to be a tool to help artists support their crafts - but we have a deep respect for the VGM-Cover community.

There is a certain magic about OCRemix and similar communities that allow artists to create and grow without limit - that is exactly how I got involved with this community. I don't believe that every cover should be sold, and I don't

think community of growing video game musicians *at all* would have the spirit that we do if it were 'about the money.'

Do what is right for you, and Loudr will help you make sure it's legal.

In addition to the covers and such, we are a bit like bandcamp - we sell your digital music (covers or not) on our storefront at a pay-what-you-want scale. We also can do 'inline-bundles' so that customers can quickly discover and grab more content. We also deliver your music to Spotify, iTunes, and Google Play (a la carte) at your request. And if you collaborate - we can pay anyone you want; you don't have to worry about splitting checks or writing 1099s.

More info and such: http://www.loudr.fm/features

Thanks for the shout out, Mirby. :)

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