image of a podcast sleeve on a smart phone screen

Do I need a  license to play music on my mixes

 

In the era of the podcast and online mixes, where consuming music has become a ‘free’ thing with unlimited access I often get asked ‘how do you get away with playing music on the podcast?”. It’s simple, by being professional about it and having the right license to do so.

 

Admittedly that’s a more recent addition to the UM outgoings - I’d always thought because the music I play is sent to me for promotional use there was a degree of endorsement that I was helping promote the music and in that way “paying my way”. But as podcasts grow in popularity it’s only a matter of time before the revenue from them (or lack of in truth) for artists will come under scrutiny and the impacts will be as great as when Soundcloud moved to impose copyright and rights management to mixes and tracks - and we all know that was the end of it as a platform for the average user.

 

So what are the key things you need to know for your podcast, mixes, radio shows and the like to be prepared?

 

Do you need a license to play music on a podcast?

 

Yes. There is no escaping it. Around the world Performing Right Associations a responsible for ensuring, pubs, clubs shops, radio stations, public events and yes, you and your mixes and podcasts are paying your share of Rights and that this money is passed onwards to the creators.

It’s not a perfect system and we could talk all day about if enough money filters down to the creators (it doesn’t), but you’d be amazed how many people will complain about the system but flaunt the rules at the same time.

 

Here in New Zealand the Australasian Performing Rights Association (APRA) is responsible for that. The  “APRA is a non-profit organisation which licenses the public performance and communication rights in music on behalf of composers, songwriters and music publishers from around the world.”

 

In the UK, PRS are the people and in the United States it’s the ASCAP. All of these have decent websites and similar rules, forms and fees. For instance here in NZ if you have a podcast and are not-for-profit or make less than $12,000 a years the license is $250.

 

How does music copyright work?

 

Copyright on any creative work is a law that protects the creator's original work by setting conditions under which their work can be used. In short, creators will probably want you to pay a fee and follow certain rules so they can give you the rights to use their work in your podcast.

There are a host of common myths about licensing too, for instance:

The 10 second rule

Loads of people will tell you that as long as you cut the song after 10 seconds you’ll be fine - I mean, how useful is 10 seconds of any song, you get more of the preview than that on Beatport or Traxsource and a mix of 10 second tracks is going to be shit! The fact is, if you play 1 second or 1 hour of something it’s the same thing.

 

Crediting the creator

Crediting the original creator makes no difference to whether or not you have permission to use the track. If you don’t have permission to use the track then crediting will do nothing for you.

 

Not for profit, no fees

Again, wrong. The type of license and the cost of it depends on how big your audience is. And that cost can get big if you had as many plays as some of those mixes on Soundcloud are getting!! Why else do you think they went after everyone? There’s money to be made and they were getting heat from Rights Associations.

 

Unless you’re using royalty free music, then you’re going to need a license.

 

What music license do I need?

 

Which license you need really does depend on the type of show you have and the audience you have. On Demand Streaming, Webcasting, Podcasts, Background Music in a video, Cinema Ads and loads more - they all have a specific license. For me, it’s the Podcast one, with less than 55,000 streams a year (although that is getting close to needing a review - eeek!). Best thing to do is head to the relevant

 

How much of a song can you play on a podcast?

 

A common misconception around copyrighted music is that it's fine to use it as long as you use 30 seconds or less. Unfortunately, this is not true. It doesn't matter if you use one second or an entire song, if you have not secured the rights to use a piece of copyrighted media, you are not allowed to use it in any form.

 

What is ‘Fair Use’?

 

The basis of a fair use policy is that you can use segments of copyrighted material for reviews, commentary and parodies. Unless this is the subject matter of your podcast, the likelihood is you'll just be using music for your own promotion. Using music for that doesn't fall under the fair use policy so you'll need to sort a license. Be warned - the fair use policy can be easily argued against so again, not a great option as things move forward.

 

How do Creative Commons Licenses work?

 

A Creative Commons License is an open license that allows the artist to set the conditions of you using their music. When something is shared under a Creative Commons license, it’ll break down what you can and can’t do with the work. Some people may let you use their track with no conditions, others might want it to only be used on non-profit work or want you to give credit.

 

More like this

image of a podcast sleeve on a smart phone screen
image of a podcast sleeve on a smart phone screen
image of a podcast sleeve on a smart phone screen

Do I need a  license to play music on my mixes

 

In the era of the podcast and online mixes, where consuming music has become a ‘free’ thing with unlimited access I often get asked ‘how do you get away with playing music on the podcast?”. It’s simple, by being professional about it and having the right license to do so.

 

Admittedly that’s a more recent addition to the UM outgoings - I’d always thought because the music I play is sent to me for promotional use there was a degree of endorsement that I was helping promote the music and in that way “paying my way”. But as podcasts grow in popularity it’s only a matter of time before the revenue from them (or lack of in truth) for artists will come under scrutiny and the impacts will be as great as when Soundcloud moved to impose copyright and rights management to mixes and tracks - and we all know that was the end of it as a platform for the average user.

 

So what are the key things you need to know for your podcast, mixes, radio shows and the like to be prepared?

 

Do you need a license to play music on a podcast?

 

Yes. There is no escaping it. Around the world Performing Right Associations a responsible for ensuring, pubs, clubs shops, radio stations, public events and yes, you and your mixes and podcasts are paying your share of Rights and that this money is passed onwards to the creators.

It’s not a perfect system and we could talk all day about if enough money filters down to the creators (it doesn’t), but you’d be amazed how many people will complain about the system but flaunt the rules at the same time.

 

Here in New Zealand the Australasian Performing Rights Association (APRA) is responsible for that. The  “APRA is a non-profit organisation which licenses the public performance and communication rights in music on behalf of composers, songwriters and music publishers from around the world.”

 

In the UK, PRS are the people and in the United States it’s the ASCAP. All of these have decent websites and similar rules, forms and fees. For instance here in NZ if you have a podcast and are not-for-profit or make less than $12,000 a years the license is $250.

 

How does music copyright work?

 

Copyright on any creative work is a law that protects the creator's original work by setting conditions under which their work can be used. In short, creators will probably want you to pay a fee and follow certain rules so they can give you the rights to use their work in your podcast.

There are a host of common myths about licensing too, for instance:

The 10 second rule

Loads of people will tell you that as long as you cut the song after 10 seconds you’ll be fine - I mean, how useful is 10 seconds of any song, you get more of the preview than that on Beatport or Traxsource and a mix of 10 second tracks is going to be shit! The fact is, if you play 1 second or 1 hour of something it’s the same thing.

 

Crediting the creator

Crediting the original creator makes no difference to whether or not you have permission to use the track. If you don’t have permission to use the track then crediting will do nothing for you.

 

Not for profit, no fees

Again, wrong. The type of license and the cost of it depends on how big your audience is. And that cost can get big if you had as many plays as some of those mixes on Soundcloud are getting!! Why else do you think they went after everyone? There’s money to be made and they were getting heat from Rights Associations.

 

Unless you’re using royalty free music, then you’re going to need a license.

 

What music license do I need?

 

Which license you need really does depend on the type of show you have and the audience you have. On Demand Streaming, Webcasting, Podcasts, Background Music in a video, Cinema Ads and loads more - they all have a specific license. For me, it’s the Podcast one, with less than 55,000 streams a year (although that is getting close to needing a review - eeek!). Best thing to do is head to the relevant

 

How much of a song can you play on a podcast?

 

A common misconception around copyrighted music is that it's fine to use it as long as you use 30 seconds or less. Unfortunately, this is not true. It doesn't matter if you use one second or an entire song, if you have not secured the rights to use a piece of copyrighted media, you are not allowed to use it in any form.

 

What is ‘Fair Use’?

 

The basis of a fair use policy is that you can use segments of copyrighted material for reviews, commentary and parodies. Unless this is the subject matter of your podcast, the likelihood is you'll just be using music for your own promotion. Using music for that doesn't fall under the fair use policy so you'll need to sort a license. Be warned - the fair use policy can be easily argued against so again, not a great option as things move forward.

 

How do Creative Commons Licenses work?

 

A Creative Commons License is an open license that allows the artist to set the conditions of you using their music. When something is shared under a Creative Commons license, it’ll break down what you can and can’t do with the work. Some people may let you use their track with no conditions, others might want it to only be used on non-profit work or want you to give credit.

 

image of a podcast sleeve on a smart phone screen
image of a podcast sleeve on a smart phone screen