When you play a song "live" you do not have to pay royalties as you are simple playing your "interpretation" of the original song, but alas not that actual song recording itself.
Once you play the actual recording, then people want their share because you are broadcasting the original recording.
(It gets complicated and I am by no means an expert in the industry, I just know some people who have written and recorded their own material and explained it to me)
Nupe The Ripper wrote:
They wouldn't have to pay Gull Records a single buck even if their setlist consisted entirely of RR and SWoD material. The rights to the songs themselves still reside with the Priest members (and ex-members) involved in the original compositions. However, the rights to the LPs (and any reproductions of them) reside with Gull Records, along with any demo recordings made during that era. It's a somewhat complicated legal matter and I don't know how to explain it better.
I wish Gull Records would some day be actually useful and release other demos as well besides the early version of Diamonds and Rust you can find on pretty much every reissue of Rocka Rolla.
Now I don't know what they did to get RR and SWoD included on the Complete Albums Collection; did Sony Music just license them (like they did for a couple of songs on Metalogy) or are the rights permenently transferred to Judas Priest?