Top Ten Most Requested Cover Songs of 2010

image from farm3.static.flickr.com LimeLight, the online mechanical licensing clearance service, sent over their list of the most requested songs for mechanical licenses in 2010. This is worldwide. It's an interesting glimpse into the songs that performers consider to be important verses those that fans hear on the radio. The company did note that holiday titles are excluded from this list. Take a look:

1. Summertime  (George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin, DuBose Heyward)
2. Somewhere Over The Rainbow (Harold Arlen, E. Y. Harburg)
3. My Funny Valentine (Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart)
4. What A Wonderful World (Bob Thiele, GeorgeDavid Weiss)
5. Autumn Leaves (Jaques Prevert, Johnny Mercer, Joseph Kosma)
6. Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen)
7. Moon River (Henry Mancini, Johnny Mercer)
8. Misty (Errol Garner, Johnny Burke)
9. I Wish You Love (Charles Trenet)
10. Imagine (John Lennon)

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  1. How to get a Classical work of a modern day composer work licensed? say a piece from 1963 such as Poulenc?

  2. They’re covers of Jeff Buckley’s cover of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah. Pretty amazing song, I’ve no idea why so many people want to play it in the same style, but not as well.

  3. I’m not so surprised to see Hallelujah on there. I perform a lot for weddings, and I swear I’ve had at least 5 brides request that piece in the last year. I think the popularity stems from its use in the first “Shrek” movie.

  4. First, make sure there IS a current copyright on the work… In the US, items recorded prior to 1978 are most likely in the Public Domain and the US Copyright tenure is typically 21 years and then subject to renewal. Check your Performing Rights Organization databases (ASCAP, BMI, etc.) and see if the publishing rights are controlled. If they are you can cut a deal directly with the publisher or file for mechanicals with The Harry Fox Agency.

  5. I did an EP of half originals and half Interpol covers. It began as a way to test out my new Korg using other people’s songs for a change, and then I realized how amazing Interpol’s songwriting really was. I released it as a free promo EP to avoid the money issue altogether.

  6. They’re covers of Jeff Buckley’s cover of John Cale’s cover of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah

  7. That’s not exactly correct, to my understanding. It’s more complicated than that: Works created after 1978 are copyrighted until 70 years after the death of the author. Works created before 1978 but published before 2003 are protected until at least 2048. Pre-1978 are protected until 2047 if renewed. Works published before 1923 are now in the public domain.

  8. Releasing a “free promo” recording does not release you from responsibility for paying for the mechanical rights to use cover songs. Many people don’t understand this.

  9. It’s considered “published” if it’s distributed publicly (beyond yourself), whether it’s sold or given away. Thus the need to have mechanical rights.

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