So Where’s All the Music in Podcasts?

The one question I get more than any other is “Can I get Ongoing History shows as podcasts?” The answer is “no.” Then the question comes by “why?” That’s where it gets kinda complicated.

There is no technical reason why music couldn’t not be included in podcasts. The issue is one of legality, specifically involving music licensing.

While it’s true that DRM-free music zings around the Intertubes with impunity, it gets weird when podcastng is employed.  RAIN tries to explains things. (This article focus on the situation, but it’s the same here in Canada.)

“A traditional downloaded podcast involves not the right to public performance of music, but instead the right to the reproduction and distribution of that music.  The rights of reproduction and distribution are different from the public performance right, and the permission to make reproductions and distributions are granted by different groups than are the public performance right.”

Downloading amounts to reproduction in the legal realm of digital music licensing. It is not much different, legally, from putting songs on a CD, and marketing the CD.

This legal reality that inhibits musical podcasts doesn’t make as much sense today, when the difference between streaming and downloading is invisible to users in many cases. In the background, where media files move from servers to consumer devices, there is also blurring — think of YouTube or Netflix buffering your video, downloading part of it in advance to ensure an uninterrupted stream performance.

Got that?  No, it doesn’t make sense. But it’s the law and until it’s changed, we can’t legally put music in podcasts. Read the full article 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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