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The Legalities of an Elvis Tribute Artist

I have recently been asked the question, “Can an ETA be held responsible for royalties and fees for reproducing Elvis’ music in a public performance?”. The answer is yes, any and all music, whether made popular by Elvis or any other entertainer is owned outright by publishing companies such as BMI or ASCAP, these publishers are entitled to royalties from all songs performed for profit. Legally, fees should be paid for each individual song but that can be expensive, venues may purchase a blanket license from these publishers and that will cover any and all songs within their repertory. As well as royalties, any entertainer charging for performances should purchase an occupational license and a tax ID number to report their income with. I know a lot of performances are done on a “CASH” basis and that is all good and profitable until you get audited.

As for publishing songs on a website, permission should be obtained from Elvis Presley Enterprises for any and all likenesses and Trademarks owned by EPE. If Elvis is making you money, then don’t cheat him out of his just dues. Keeping yourself and your business in a honest and proper relationship with EPE will only better endorse your show. As for links on your website, or even must be contacted prior to putting their link on your web site.

To research their respected repertories, you can go to and search the BMI database or go to and search the ACE database. All of the above is merely General Information and I would like to thank Marc Ostrow at BMI for his help with these questions. For further information, it would be in the best interest of any entertainer to have an entertainment attorney, they can be found through your local bar association or at

I hope I have been helpful E-fans and if you need any further help, feel free to contact me, if you need help with any website questions or you are looking to create a website, can help.

Until next time E fans, "Ladies and Gentlemen, Elvis has left the building!".

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