There is a certain fascination with the production of podcasts. It reminds us of the radio programs we used to listen as a child. That’s exactly why many bloggers have turned into podcasters and many want to follow these steps.
The podcast is an interesting format for the dynamism and the possibility of being transported with ease. The listener can download an episode and listen without the use of the internet wherever and whenever they want. Eacg podcast is a story that needs certain elements to attract people’s attention as Margaret Atwood states at her masterclass on creative writing.
Like everything that is conducted with seriousness and professionalism, legal norms must be followed to avoid that your program does not turn into a headache in court. A common mistake for a person who starts producing podcasts is to use songs that they like or have a personal connection to as their background music for their programs. Just like the images and photos you use on your blogs, using background music for your podcast can not have any copyright restrictions on use.
You should keep in mind that before expressing yourself and putting your favorite songs on your podcast, be aware that they are probably protected by copyright. This means that all music has an owner and you will need permission to use it in the public domain. So how much will you spend using music on your Podcast? There are some options and we’ll explain everything.
How much is using music on my podcast going to cost?
Understanding the basics of copyrights
For you to know how complex copyrights are there is a famous story of the classic song by Tom Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes, Girl from Ipanema. The song’s copyright was sold irresponsibly for only 800 dollars at the time by the musician to a lyricist and businessman named Norman Gimble. The family of Jobim has resorted for years in court to obtain the copyright of the song that today has a percentage to them, Gimble and Universal Music.
One of the keys to understanding how the world of music licensing works is know that every recorded piece of music has two different copyrights. They are not always owned by the same person or parties.
The two separate copyrights for recorded music are:
- The musical composition – a song’s music and lyrics, apart from any particular recording of that composition. This copyright is owned by the songwriter and / or publisher.
- The sound recording – a particular recorded version of a musical composition. This copyright is owned by the recording artist and / or label.
There are many different versions of the same song, sometimes recorded by different artists at different times. Each of those versions contains the same underlying musical composition but each also comprises unique sound recording.
Sometimes the songwriter owns both copyrights. If you write a song today and record it, you own the copyright of the musical composition and the sound recording. Often, those rights will end up being owned by separate people or entities. For example, a record company may own the rights to the recording (the “master,”) while a music publishing company may own the rights to the musical composition.
So what are the options for you not to get in trouble with the law and respect the copyrights of the songs used on your podcast? Well, there are several options and for each of them the price will be different. Here’s where you’ll find out exactly what options are available today for you to have quality music in your podcast and create an even more professional and interesting product for your listeners.
Contacting the record labels
Let’s say you really want to use one specific hit song in your podcast. In this case, you will have to obtain the necessary rights for both the musical composition and the sound recording. This does not mean you have to call the artist himself if you want to play a song in your podcast. For most well-known songs, these rights are administered by an agency who acts as the intermediary. For many sound recordings, you’ll probably need to contact record labels or artists/manager.
To find out who is responsible for dealing with the copyrights of a certain song and to know the values of its use, here are some websites that can help you with this search:
- ASCAP ACE Database
- ISWC (International Standard Musical Work Code)
- United States Copyright Office Public Catalog (online)
- Library of Congress Audio Collection via SONIC (Sound Online Inventory and Catalog)
You should keep in mind, that it’s not legal to use commercial music if you only play some seconds of the song, nor if you reference the song by the title and artist nor even if you consider your podcast to be fair use, because that’s a really complex and misunderstood aspect of copyright law. Just because you’re a nonprofit or your podcast is for educational purposes that doesn’t mean you’re entitled to a copyright infringement. That way, you have to double check with a lawyer to see if the tracks you’re adding to your podcast can really be used in that way.
Obviously this is a complicated, expensive and time-consuming process. From the moment you find the name of the publisher or record company you should contact them. With a Google search you can find the email, the address and the phone number of the responsible. However, you should keep in mind that copyright ownership and management can often change hands, so you may have to contact many companies until you know who to deal with the music you want.
Public Domain Songs
An option to use songs in your podcast without cost are the sites with songs of public domain, that is, music that you do not have to pay for the right to use them. There are advantages and disadvantages in these types of websites. One of them is to have to search a lot to find the ideal music for your podcast. Below, you can check some of these websites:
- Jamendo is a site for the distribution of free songs, licensed under Creative Commons or Free Art License. There, artists can make materials available for free, and users can gain legal access to the work at no cost.
- Free Music Archive is an interactive library of high quality, cool audio downloads. Each mp3 filed in Free Music Archive is pre-enabled for certain types of uses that could be prohibited by copyright laws that were not designed for the digital age. These uses vary and are determined by the right holders.
- Opsound is an experience in applying the free software model to music. Musicians and sound artists are invited to add their work to Opsound using a copyleft license developed by Creative Commons. Everyone is invited to download, share, remix and rethink.
- Danosongs.com. You are permitted to use the music for personal or commercial use. This site makes use of a simple creative commons license that allows you to use the tracks legally.
Royalty Free Music
The best, safest, and most affordable way for you to use music on your podcast is Royalty Free Music sites like Themusicase.com, with a vast variety of production music – site similar to Audiojungle and a great premiumbeat alternative. You’ll find hundreds of music at your disposal divided by genre. From Jazz to Classic, from Ambient to Dubstep. No matter what is the theme of your podcast, you’ll find the ideal track for your program on our site.
Unlike the traditional means of music license system as outlined above, you can secure the most varied tracks for your podcast by paying only a one-off fee.
For the use of our songs in podcasts you will pay $29.00 per track and will have the use of these perpetually.
Sound effects are also an important tool of creating a unique atmosphere for your podcast and catching the attention of your listeners. They will get even more immersed in your comments and you will gain a lot more fans.
At Themusicase.com, we have a collection of 21,000 sound effects. Each track costs $3.00 and the variety for each moment of your podcast will be endless. You can create intro sounds for your programs; add sound effects to comments and follow-ups throughout your podcast. Explore the infinite possibilities to increase your productions.
Any music and SFX purchased from our library comes with a signed PDF document that proves any purchase and can be used under these conditions.
So that’s it. That song that was “perfect” and gave “that mood” to your podcast may belong to someone who is not very happy that they have not received a single penny for their use. After all, just as you took a long time to produce your podcast and did it with the greatest care and dedication, so did the musician. So if you’re using music in your podcast make sure you’re on the right side of the law.
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