Music IndustryPodcast

Why can’t we hear full songs in podcasts? Well, it’s…complicated

[This was my weekly column for – AC]

Podcasting continues to be a hot form of broadcasting, growing from an audience of about 12 per cent of people 12 and up in 2013 to more than 31 per cent today. In Sweden, the number is at least 47 per cent. Canada is around 34 per cent; that number increases to 46 per cent for Canadians 18 to 49.

Over 500 million people (23.5 per cent of all internet users) listen to podcasts of the approximately 4.3 million shows available regularly with many listening to half a dozen or more weekly. Comedy is the biggest category followed by news, true crime, and health and fitness.

A little further down the list, you’ll find music, an insanely popular genre. Around half a million podcasts are devoted to music in some form, meaning there are millions of episodes on the subject. Yet virtually none of them feature full songs.

Why? As the headline says, it’s complicated.

Keep reading.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ 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.

Alan Cross has 38403 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

3 thoughts on “Why can’t we hear full songs in podcasts? Well, it’s…complicated

  • But there are podcasts that use music. There are two I follow from Seattle radio station KEXP, one is called the run cast and is basically a playlist for runners. The other is a podcast of their live sessions. If they can manage it, how come other podcasters can’t?

    • Read the article again: I clearly stated that unless there is special dispensation, podcasts can’t use full songs.

  • But if it is possible, and a donor funded station like KEXP with a budget of around $15 million a year can do it, what is stopping giant companies like Apple or iHeartRadio or Sirius from doing it? Sirius paid $150 million for Conan O’Brien’s podcast company.


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