How Do I Obtain Permission to Arrange or Adapt Music for My show?
Permission to arrange or adapt copyrighted music must be obtained from the copyright owner or print representative prior to starting your arrangement. You should submit your permission requests as soon as you have a tentative repertoire to ensure adequate time for processing, payment, and return of formal permission. We suggest submitting requests a minimum of 8 weeks prior to arranging your music.
There are 2 easy ways to obtain permission to arrange a copyrighted song.
1. Contact a Print Representative Online
Your request will be processed most promptly when your request is submitted to the print publisher whose catalog includes your song(s). If known, submit your request to the proper print publisher. If the proper print publisher is not known, you may use a "category request" and submit your song(s) from your show to one of the print publishers listed below for processing. Most print publishers include a list of administered catalogs on their licensing website and will send referral information for songs not included in their catalog.
This option offers the lowest possible costs and efficient turn-around time.
These print publishers represent a large amount of repertoire most often utilized by marching ensembles. You may need to contact additional companies for those few works not handled by these publishers.
2. Contact the Copyright Owner Directly
Confirm the copyright owner for each song through the, ASCAP, BMI or the Music for All Database (copyright holder's database). These databases provide writer, performer and publisher contact information for most published works. The MFA Database is a collection of permission-to-arrange data that MFA has collected through the years. The list is not comprehensive, but it includes most of the works commonly used by participating bands. The MFA Database is not an authoritative guarantee that a song listed will be approved for arrangement in the future. It lists works that have been approved for arrangement for marching band in the past and those that are known to have been automatically denied. If a publisher has informed MFA that a song will be automatically denied, we have noted its status in the comments field.
Once you have determined who controls the licensing rights, send each holder a written request for each song using the Permission to Arrange Form prepared by the Music Publishers' Association. Please note that many composers use print representatives such as Hal Leonard Corporation or Alfred Publishing Co., Inc. to process arrangement requests and may not respond to requests direct or my direct you to their representatives. You may need to contact the copyright owner directly for more obscure or specialized repertoire. Submitting requests is free. This option may take more time and responses from publishers may be delayed.