Standard agreements

Audio Recordings

Most record companies with multiple releases and on-going sales have standard agreements with us. In these cases, we charge license fees twice a year, based on the number of copies you have sold. If you have a small label, it is better to apply on a case-by-case basis, to avoid monthly advances.

Standard agreement

NCB offers two standard agreements for audio products.

NCB’s audio standard agreement (“Sound Carrier Contract”) is generally the appropriate license for record companies that have both a number of current releases and ongoing sales. The standard agreement covers most physical products (e.g. CD, DVD audio, vinyl).

Standard agreement – Audio

If you hold an NCB standard agreement there are a number of reporting obligations and accounting deadlines that you have to observe. These instances recur every six month (equivalent to an accounting period). However, registration of releases should be made on a regular basis whenever you market a new release.

The standard agreement may not be suitable for small labels because of the ongoing registration and reporting obligations that are required to comply with the agreement. Besides holders of a standard agreement have to be approved by NCB, provide a financial guarantee and pay monthly advances to NCB.

Standard agreement audio

Additional agreement – Music video 

NCB’s music video agreement is a supplementary agreement to the audio standard agreement. This agreement covers physical audio-visual products on DVDs or Blu-ray discs where music is the primary content e.g. video clips and concert videos.

Music video agreement

Additional agreement – Minority appeal repertoire

This agreement is a supplementary agreement to the audio standard agreement for minority appeal repertoire.

Music video agreement


Related documents

Documents related to audio products.

Below you will find information about release registration, formats and minimum rates, record companies and plants with NCB agreement, third party labels, as well as related products that are not covered by any standard agreement.

Release registration

You must register all new releases with NCB before they are marketed. There are two ways in which you can register your releases – either using our web-based application (WebCover) or using an Excel spreadsheet.

Web-based application (WebCover)

Using WebCover makes it easy to:

  • Report reissues – reuse the information already present in the system.
  • Have a full index of your back catalogue which makes it easier when you need to check your sales report or invoice specification. WebCover also offers you search facilities that extend to releases made by other Nordic record companies – the most recent as well as the very old ones.
  • All products except promotions can be registered in WebCover.
  • In order to use WebCover you must have a user name and a password. If you do not already have access to WebCover, please contact NCB:
  • On the following links you can find all the necessary instructions as well as login link to the WebCover application:

“WebCover login”
“WebCover guide” (updated 2016-10-14)

Excel template

An alternative to using WebCover is reporting made by using an Excel spreadsheet. NCB has designed a special Excel template for this purpose.

Formats and minimum rates

Below you will find a list of applicable formats and minimum rates covered by NCB’s standard agreement.

Minimum rates 2020
Minimum rates 2019

Record companies and DVD/CD plants with an NCB agreement

Record companies
CD/DVD plants  

Covermounts, premiums and kiosk deals

Covermounts, premiums and kiosk deals are not covered by any of NCB’s standard agreements. Consequently, you will have to apply for a license and pay copyright on a case-to-case basis.

A covermount is a CD or DVD audio bagged with or affixed to a newspaper or magazine and supplied free or against a token amount – e.g. to cover handling, forwarding charges or the like.

A premium product is a CD or DVD audio supplied free with another merchandise or service or against a token amount – e.g. to cover handling, forwarding charges or the like.

A kiosk deal is a CD or DVD audio that is sold together with a newspaper or magazine – usually at a favorable price. The CD or DVD audio cannot be bought separately; however, you can still buy the newspaper/magazine at its ordinary price without the CD/DVD audio.

Application form kiosk deals
Application form covermounts and premiums
Tariffs for covermounts and premiums
Licensing terms audio


The application is pretty straightforward, but if you run into trouble, don’t hesitate to contact us.

What is copyright?

The rights granted by copyright fall into two categories: economic rights and moral rights.

Economic rights give the rights holder the opportunity to make commercial gain from the exploitation of his/her work. This would usually be by licensing others to use the work/music piece in another production, e.g. to copy a work, to distribute copies of a work on a physical production, e.g. CD/vinyl.

Moral rights refer to the rights holders right to be recognized as the author of a work and the right not to have his/her work subjected to offensive treatment.

Isn’t there such a thing as free music?

The copyright lasts until 70 years after the death of the composer/lyricist. However, there might be new versions of copyright-free music that are still protected. Therefore, you should always contact NCB to make sure.

What is the difference between NCB and the national performance rights societies STIM/TONO/KODA/TEOSTO/STEF?

NCB manages mechanical rights (synchronization, recording and copying rights) and the national agencies handle performing rights (the right to perform and communicate the music in public). We explain more here.

Do I have a license when I have completed the application?

In certain cases, you need the rights holder’s permission before you can use the music. You’ll find all this information here. Otherwise, you have a license when you have paid the copyright fee.

How do I know who owns the rights?

You can try to find the information using these links: All Music, ASCAP or BMI. If you want us to help you find the information, feel free to contact us.

I am the only rights holder; do I still need to register it?

Yes, but you only pay an administrative fee. Remember to also register the music at your national performance rights society (STIM/TONO/KODA/TEOSTO/STEF).

I plan to give away all copies, do I still have to pay?

Yes, but only a minimum fee per copy. Find all prices here.

What is an NCB registered factory?

The factories that have signed an agreement with us are not allowed to print records until they get a clearance email from NCB that the copyright is paid for. If you choose an NCB registered factory, you can get royalty-free promotional copies of your recording. Read more here.

Can’t I use any factory I want?

Yes, you can, but NCB prefers that you choose an NCB registered one. If you choose one that doesn’t have an agreement with us, you will not be able to receive royalty-free promotional copies.

When does NCB distribute royalties to the rights holders?

We pay royalties twice a year, in June and December.

I can’t find my customer number and/or password.

If you aren’t already registered, please create an account in the web application. If you have forgotten your user data, please contact us:

What is a catalogue number?

All releases need an identification number, which you are free to create yourself. It must consist of 2-7 letters followed by 1-7 digits.

What is a medley track?

A medley is a track that mixes different parts of various songs. If you use other rights holders’ songs in your medley, you need permission from these to sample fragments.

What is a box set?

If you make a release of several units together, it is considered a box release. For example, two CDs, or a CD together with a vinyl record.

I only plan to release digital tracks. How do I register that?

If you plan to release a digital track this should not be registered with NCB. However, you must ensure that your Digital Service Provider receives all relevant track information such as track title, composer, song writer, ISRC code and name of the artist. You should also contact your national performing rights society.

How do I register music shared by mail or link to a cloud service e.g Dropbox?

Sharing your own music

When you share your own music, you do not have to register this with NCB. You must be sure though, that there are no other rights holders involved. It is your responsibility to make sure that the production is solely yours.

Sharing existing music

  • Commercial use: When you share music for commercial use, you have to register this with NCB and you will then receive an invoice for mechanical copyright according to existing tariffs.
  • Promotional use: When you share music for sales promotional use, you do not have to register this with NCB and you will not receive an invoice for mechanical copyright.
I plan a re-release, how does it work?

It must be registered on the web application. You need to choose re-release and fill in the catalogue number.

I plan to release my music on many formats

If the content of the production is the same on all formats, just choose that option in the web application. If the contents differ, you need to register the production on separate applications.

Where do I find the NCB logo?

All physical copies containing NCB-licensed music must have the NCB logo on the label printing of the physical copy. You can download the logo and read more here.

Which information is necessary on the recording?

The NCB logo and for each track title:

  • names of composer(s)/lyricist(s) (and arranger and publisher, if any)
  • playing time in minutes and seconds

You should also indicate year of release as well as the name of your record company

What is a budget rate release?

It is a release where all recorded tracks have been released at least one year before release date of your new release or re-release. Copyright is calculated as usual, but lower minimum prices are valid. On the web application you need to state that it is a budget rate release, in the comments box and then click below this, to ensure that the application will be processed manually by NCB.

Charity releases

When producers and copyright holders want to donate their royalties for charity purpose the following guidelines should be applied:

  1. The producer submits his product for NCB-registration as usual.
  1. NCB invoices the product according to the stipulations of NCB’s licensing terms (work-by-work producers) or NCB’s standard contract(s) (signatories to the standard contract in question).
  1. The copyright holders have to approach their performing rights society in order to make an agreement of how the royalties are to be distributed. The copyright holders have the following three options:

a) When royalties are distributed to the copyright owner he can redistribute the royalties to the charitable organisation.

b) The performing rights society can offer to register a transport of the royalties to the charitable organisation within a specific period of time which has been agreed.

c) The performing rights society can agree to the fact that the mechanical copyright of the work in question can be assigned to the charitable organisation in question. This means that all royalties as far as this work is concerned will be distributed to the charitable organisation forever or within a specific period of time, which has been agreed. However, the performing rights societies are unwilling to agree to this, and if they do so, it is only if royalties are donated in case of a catastrophe – for instance the tsunami in 2004. The performing rights societies cannot agree to an assignment of the mechanical copyright when a donation is made only for the purpose of the organisation’s ordinary relief work.

Option a) or b) result in the fact that the copyright holder will be liable to pay tax whereas option c) results in the fact that the charitable organisation will be liable to pay tax.

When extreme catastrophes happen cf. option c) above NCB’ management will make a decision whether or not NCB should refrain from calculating commission before the royalties are distributed to the charitable organisation.

The performing rights societies make a decision on the performing rights income, if any, to be part of the donations in question.