Haulix Advice: Holiday Cover Songs That Do Not Require A Mechanical License

Hello, everyone! Welcome to the final ‘Advice’ column of the week. We have featured a lot of great content this week, but today is the first time we’ve mentioned the holiday shopping season. If you have a suggestions for a future installment of this series, or if you have a question you want us to tackle in the weeks ahead, please email james@haulix.com and share your thoughts.

The topic of cover songs can be a tricky one. Not everyone loves them, but every year a number of artists new and old rise to the top of their respective music scenes by adding their own take to an already well-known song. The problem with covers as far as young artists and groups are concerned usually involves royalties and whether or not they can afford to market their recording beyond streams and videos. Today we’re going to look at holiday covers, and how you can leverage royalty-free songs to reach new listeners who otherwise may have never discovered your music.

You may or may not be aware of the term ‘public domain,’ but it refers to works whose intellectual property rights have expired, have been forfeited, or are inapplicable. In other words, works that are unavailable for private ownership or are otherwise available for public use. You do not need mechanical licenses to sell your version of these works, but certain arrangements me be copyrighted (do your own research). Below is a list of holiday songs currently in the public domain:

  • “Deck The Halls”
  • “The First Noel”
  • “Hark, The Herald Angels Sing”
  • “Jingle Bells”
  • “Joy To The World”
  • “Come All Ye Faithful”
  • “Silent Night”
  • “The Twelve Days of Christmas”
  • “We Wish You A Merry Christmas”

There is no question that some of the songs mentioned above have been reinterpreted by so many artists that putting an original spin on proceedings seems impossible, but it’s often the most challenging of endeavors that prove to be the most fruitful. By taking a holiday classic like the ones above and making it your own you’re further engaging already devoted followers while simultaneously creating an amazing opportunity to reach new fans. The holiday season generates a large amount of sales and internet searches for seasonal music, and with proper tagging your efforts will reach countless new listeners who could very quickly be converted into fans.

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company's podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.