Another lament about podcasts not being able to legally include music

The number one question I get about my Ongoing History of New Music podcasts is “Where can I hear the shows with the music included?” In case you don’t know, we have to cut out all the music because it’s illegal to include music in downloadable podcasts. It’s a licensing issue that doesn’t seem to have a solution.

To be clear, you cannot ever use copyrighted music in a podcast. And there is nowhere on the planet you can go to get license so you can do it legally. The result is that the music industry is leaving gazillions on the table. This is from SavingCountryMusic.com.

“On July 12, Calvin Powers of the American Music Show podcast announced that after 452 episodes, and many songs, albums, and artists supported through his popular podcast, he was having to close up shop.

“’A few days ago, I received an email from the Recording Industry Association of America notifying me that I have been hosting ‘unauthorized recordings.’ The email mentioned that they were acting on behalf of a specific label … I was instructed to take down the unauthorized recordings immediately. At about the same time, they sent a DMCA take down notice to Libsyn, which hosts the show’s MP3 files. And Libsyn is in the process of doing it.’

“As Calvin went on to explain, his efforts were in no way malicious, he never made any money off of his podcast, and he always received permissions from the right people before playing any song. ‘I have always played only the songs that have been submitted to the show by singers, bands, and labels, looking to expand the market for their albums. It has always been my explicit goal to introduce new listeners to new music. I only play music that has been submitted to the show per the music submission policy.’

“Calvin’s story is common, but doesn’t only affect the grassroots podcasters and internet DJs doing what they can to give back to the music by helping to spread the word. It affects the biggest podcasts and audio creators in the world. Joe Rogan’s The Joe Rogan Experience is so massive with its millions of daily listeners and viewers, the audience dwarfs most cable channels in audience. However Joe Rogan cannot play music on the podcast, or the episodes can be demonetized, or even pulled off of certain formats.”

Keep reading.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

4 thoughts on “Another lament about podcasts not being able to legally include music

  • July 30, 2020 at 3:24 pm
    Permalink

    I don’t use Spotify’s podcast feature (diehard Pocket Casts user) but it would be amazing if they created some sort of podcast format that allowed for inserting their licensed tracks where appropriate.

    Reply
  • July 31, 2020 at 6:52 pm
    Permalink

    Actually, call up SOCAN and ask them for a license. The license you will need is under Tariff 22F (Internet – Other Uses of Music – Audio Websites). It’s not that expensive either. Tell them what you do and they’ll grant you a license to use music in a podcast. That also includes the mechanical rights to play the music as well. You’ll also need to contact Re:Sound and get a license for the streaming of your program as they don’t currently offer a license for podcasts.

    As for obtaining a license if you are an American Podcast… you can call up ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC and tell them what you do and they’ll grant you a license. The extremely popular Coverville Podcast was one of the first podcasts to do this back in the mid-2000’s and it costs him about $1000/year to license the music he plays on his program.
    On top of that, talk to the labels and artists to get their permission to play their music on your show. Most of them are more than happy to give you their permission. Get it in writing via email.

    Yes, it takes a bit of work, but to say that there is no way of obtaining a license to play music on your podcast is factually incorrect.

    As for the Americana Music Show. If they made the effort to fight the claim they probably would have won OR at least they could have talked to the RIAA and the hosting provider to agree to only take down the files associated with the label that was claiming in the copyright. This actually happened to a friend of mine recently. They were sent an RIAA letter from their hosting provider outlining which show was using “unauthorized recordings.” My friend immediately took down the page featuring the unauthorized music and deleted the file. That’s it. His show and page is still running as per normal.

    Reply
  • July 31, 2020 at 6:56 pm
    Permalink

    Actually, call up/email SOCAN and ask them for a license. The license you will need is under Tariff 22F (Internet – Other Uses of Music – Audio Websites). It’s not that expensive either. Tell them what you do and they’ll grant you a license to use music in a podcast. That also includes the mechanical rights to play the music as well. You’ll also need to contact Re:Sound and get a license for the streaming of your program as they don’t currently offer a license for podcasts.

    As for obtaining a license if you are an American Podcast… you can call up ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC and tell them what you do and they’ll grant you a license. The extremely popular Coverville Podcast was one of the first podcasts to do this back in the mid-2000’s and it costs him about $1000/year to license the music he plays on his program.

    On top of that, talk to the labels and artists to get their permission to play their music on your show. Most of them are more than happy to give you their permission. Get it in writing via email.

    Yes, it takes a bit of work, but to say that there is no way of obtaining a license to play music on your podcast is factually incorrect.

    As for the Americana Music Show. If they made the effort to fight the claim they probably would have won OR at least they could have talked to the RIAA and the hosting provider to agree to only take down the files associated with the label that was claiming in the copyright. This actually happened to a friend of mine recently. They were sent an RIAA letter from their hosting provider outlining which show was using “unauthorized recordings.” My friend immediately took down the page featuring the unauthorized music and deleted the file. That’s it. His show and page is still running as per normal.

    Reply
    • August 1, 2020 at 8:30 am
      Permalink

      Nope. I’ve checked with SOCAN. Doesn’t cover downloadable podcasts.

      Reply

Let us know what you think!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.