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Christmas Cover Songs: Do I Need a License?

Christmas Cover Songs: Do I Need a License?

Casey Cole
  • Casey from Affordable Song Licensing discusses Christmas songs, Public Domain, and whether or not you need a license.

With the holidays right around the corner, it’s that time of year where bands and artists are releasing their own renditions of Christmas classics. Putting a spin on “Deck the Halls” or “Holy Night” is a great way for artists to connect with their listeners, so it’s no surprise that we see an uptick in Christmas song requests during the months of November and December.

Before you go releasing your versions of classic Christmas songs, let’s make sure that you’re releasing them the right way and discuss something called PUBLIC DOMAIN.

Many people (I was one of them) assume that Christmas songs aren’t copyrighted, but that’s not necessarily true. A lot of Christmas songs do fall under Public Domain, meaning that they don’t have copyrights and can be recorded or performed without needing a license. However, there are plenty of Christmas songs that do not fall under Public Domain. In these instances, you would need a mechanical license from us.

Here are a few popular Christmas songs that are in the Public Domain (meaning you would not need a license to record and release your own version):

See Also

  • Angels We Have Heard On High
  • Auld Lang Syne
  • Away In A Manger
  • Deck the Halls
  • The First Noel
  • Hark, the Herald Angels Sing
  • Jingle Bells
  • Joy to the World
  • O Holy Night
  • O Little Town of Bethlehem
  • Silent Night
  • We Wish You A Merry Christmas

And here are a few popular Christmas songs that are NOT in the Public Domain (meaning you would need to contact us for a license to record and release your own version):

  • Blue Christmas
  • Do You Hear What I Hear
  • Frosty the Snowman
  • Happy Christmas
  • Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
  • I’ll Be Home For Christmas
  • Jingle Bell Rock
  • The Little Drummer Boy
  • Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
  • Silver Bells
  • White Christmas
  • Winter Wonderland

How do you know whether a Christmas song is in the Public Domain? Are you recording a Christmas song and don’t know whether or not you need a license? E-mail Affordable Song Licensing (hello@affordablesonglicensing.com) with your questions, and we can help you license your Christmas covers, or we can provide you with peace of mind knowing that a license isn’t needed.

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