Have we reached a deal when it comes to allowing music in podcasts? Not really, but…

Earlier this week, I had news of a possible breakthrough when it comes to allowing podcasters to legally use songs in their episodes. The press release is out and it comes with some good news and some bad news.

The good news:

  • There’s an agreement between SoundExchange (a US music collection agency) and a start-up called Podcast Music. They will handle things like billing podcasters for using music, letting everyone know what songs are available, and all legal agreements with record labels.
  • Er, that’s it.

The bad news:

  • Podcast Music has no agreements in place with any labels
  • There’s no technical interface that would used for billing or exploring the available catalogue.
  • There’s no solution to the thorny situation of reporting the use of music by podcasters.
  • These will be global licenses. HOWEVER, they will only be available to US-based podcasters.
  • It’s very, very unlikely that anyone will have permission to play full songs. So much for podcasts featuring music mixes.
  • There are a bunch of other possible wrinkles over things like theme music, especially political shows. (Think Rush Limbaugh’s use of The Pretenders’ “My City is Gone.”)
  • There’s a very good chance that podcasts will be monitored for the use of music as is done on YouTube–in America, anyway. It’s unclear what will happen to podcasters who run afoul of the new agreements.

This is a hugely complicated issue over which many battles will need to be waged. This is but a baby step towards…something better than what we have now.

More information here.

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.

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