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When I played in bands my understanding of how releasing a cover song worked was you didn't need the song owners permission, you just had to give them credit and pay them royalties. But I often hear about bands asking permission to release a recording for sale of a cover song.

Do you need permission or no?

Could I record a version of Start Me Up and put it on iTunes? (Hypothetical)
 

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The short answer to your question is that you will need to pay rights. Many musicians opt to use a service like Distrokid, which will take care of licensing and distribution online.
 
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