Relocating - please follow the link for new content

This archive will stay here - but you can find new posts (as well as this archive) at my new website which is at It's the new home for Stuart Eglin Online - including the blog, musings, and details of the publications and services which I have available. Take a look - it's worth a visit!

Saturday, 18 June 2005

Using music in podcasts legally

[There's an update to this article for March 2007 - follow the link]

Hopes for legal music podcasts rise Tech News on ZDNet

Follow the link for an article about the potential for licensing of music for podcasts. The whole podcast world is going through enormous growth at the moment. Over the last 12 months it has moved through the tipping point into something of a phenomenon. Many podcasts are spoken word, and avoid using music. Some use music, but only use small clips and talk over it to avoid being sued for use of copyright material. A few seek permission for each item they use - but this can take too much time, and is often a nightmare - who owns the copyright on a particular piece of music? Who do you ask? And some use podcast-safe music - music where a license is granted. There is not a lot of this, and it tends to be mainly fringe, left-field music.

The legal issue focuses around the fact that podcasts are essentially downloadable mp3 files. A radio-type license is not appropriate for this type of medium.

The article argues that the recording industry needs to move faster to get this whole thing sorted. Of course, as ever, the industry seems to be only interested in the "fast buck" it can get from podcasting. There is scope for seeing the long view with the podcasting phenomenon. Doubtless it will change the face of broadcasting and narrowcasting. Things will look very different in a couple of years. The scope for podcasting to work as a marketing medium for an increasingly diverse and crowded music scene is immense. Asking amateur podcasters to pay huge license fees for something which they do as a hobby is a non-starter. There need to be licenses at different levels that reflect whether the podcast is amateur or professional, free or subscription, takes adverts or sponsorship or not, and perhaps also the quality of the mp3 file (in other words, can the music be extracted, or is it low grade for a one-time listen only.)

These issues need resolving urgently. If the industry doesn't work fast to resolve it, then the podcast revolution will surge ahead regardless. Industry will winge about the impact on its revenues, and the long-term effect will be as damaging as downloading has been for the industry. Message for the recording industry - embrace new ideas instead of burying the head in the sand and hoping they will go away. Look at ways in which you can facilitate and help the music fan, rather than litigating against them.

[There's an update to this article for March 2007 - follow the link]

No comments: