Most folks can't just record someone else's song and then start selling their version of it.
But how do independent artists clear the rights necessary to record a cover song and then release it for sale? This is a real problem, as thousands of independent artists across the country seek to record songs written by others -- and make some money in the process. Songs are protected by copyright, however, so permission must be secured and financial terms settled before a cover song can be sold to the public.
It's a problem Samantha Murphy, a.k.a. "The Highway Girl," understands well. Murphy, whose debut album Somewhere Between Starving & Stardom was one of Village Voice music critic Michael Ross's Top 10 picks in 2006, wanted to record a version of one of her favorite Johnny Cash songs, Ring of Fire.
Enter Limelight, a service of RightsFlow, which provides licensing and payment services for artists, record companies and online music services like Rhapsody and The Orchard.