As I’ve written many, many times before, there is no legal way to include music in podcasts. There isn’t even a body from which you can license copyrighted music for podcasts. I’ve spent the last few years talking to people, parsing the law, and doing research into the subject. There’s nothing. No way. It’s no possible way to legally include full songs in podcasts in any territory in the known universe,
Until maybe now.
Spotify has more than 65 million songs in its library, all completely licensed for use in dozens of countries around the planet. The company is also very deep into becoming a major podcasts platform. And most importantly, they have a podcast tool called Anchor.
According to a blog posted by Spotify today, they’ve come up with a way for podcasters to put music into their programs and for streams of those shows to generate royalties. The podcast has to be created with Anchor and uploaded to Spotify.
I quote: “With shows that use this new format, listeners can interact with the music within the episodes, in the same way they interact with all other song tracks on Spotify (for example liking, saving, and reading more information about a track) without having to leave the episode page or search for it manually.”
Okay, nice. BUT…
“Shows using this format are exclusive to Spotify [emphasis mine] because they rely on Spotify’s music catalog licenses and compensate musicians and songwriters just like any regular stream of a music track on Spotify. Spotify Premium listeners will hear full tracks as part of these shows, and those with the Free tier will hear 30-second music previews.”
And this is only for streams of podcasts, not downloads. Still, it’s waaaaaay better than the nothingburger we have now.
Why is this a big deal?
- Nearly 20% of all podcasts are music-focused. This feature would certainly help make these podcasts more engaging.
- It could mean a major boom in music podcasts.
- It deals with issues that rightsholders have been yelling about: illegal use of music and an inability to monetize the growing podcast market.
- A new network of music influencers could spring up overnight.
- Think of what this means for artists who want to launch their own podcasts.
- Anyone using Anchor can now play DJ, hosting their own shows with music that they choose.
- This might (and should) force other platforms like Apple Music, Amazon, Tidal, and Deezer to come up with something similar.
- And is this another shot at broadcast radio?
The Anchor update is available to users in the US, Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand, and Ireland.
Here’s more analysis of what this might mean.