The UK Podcasters Association has been working with the Music Alliance over 18 months to help produce a new and workable podcast license, and we’re really pleased with the result.
In the UK, podcasters are well-behaved and very few use music without permission – they tend to stick to using “podsafe” music, often approaching artists and labels directly, so given the fact that most podcasters would like to evangelise music by artists they know and love, it has been one of the UKPA’s central tasks to remedy this situation.
The majority of podcasts are made at the grassroots level in the UK, but until now none of them have been able to use music within the MCPS-PRS repertoire without running into red tape, production restrictions and fees beyond their means, so the license take up to date has not been high.
This new license is important, since applying reasonable royalty rates and removing restrictions on track length encourages the commercial production of content made specifically for the internet, rather than just (as many radio stations do currently) repurposing existing music programming for podcast with the music edited out. The license allows the use of full length music tracks in internet music programmes.
The low-cost start point for this license also potentially brings in the thousands of individual UK podcasters – the “weekend warriors” who cater for multiple niches – and the high-end rates encourage entrepreneurs.
Whilst the major labels still work out their various positions on podcasting, many individual songwriters, artists and labels get the point of podcasting, and see it as a welcome addition to their marketing. AIM took the lead early on and introduced a label opt-in podcast licensing scheme which gives access to their large catalogue – acts including the White Stripes, The Killers, Paul Weller, Bjork.
The Alliance has now provided the missing piece of the puzzle, and we in the UK have a straightforward route to fully legal, full-length track music podcasting – an international first, something of which we should be proud, and something which our friends across the pond would dearly love to have. Individuals, production companies, and broadcast corporations with mass audiences can begin to really use the internet for its benefits.
In an era of fragmenting music revenue, we think that this is a huge opportunity to add a small army of passionate, knowledgable, skillful and (astonishingly) almost entirely *unpaid* music promoters, and we call on more labels to take advantage of this excellent initiative, which in an era of “free” music, potentially returns real value to songwriters and publishers.
The Origins of the UK Podcasters Association.
“Your right to podcast your own voice speaking your own words cannot be licensed, and should be a freedom for all in perpetuity” – UKPA Founding statement, March 2006.
The UK Podcasters Association was formed as a result of a badly phrased press release from MCPS-PRS (the UK Performing Rights Organisations who control music licensing and revenue distribution on behalf of recording companies, publishers, writers and artists) which implied they were about to licence speech-only podcasts.
UK podcasters answered this by forming a non-profit association, which produced this first articulation of podcasters’ inalienable rights.
Since then we’ve attempted to make more sense of the situation by building and maintaining active links with the licensing bodies, entering into dialogue with UK government, and joining with other groups internationally to bring about recognition of our basic rights.
Since April 2007 new members have been joining at around three per week, many of them also belonging to other associations and unions – NUJ, BECTU, Musicians Union, Radio Academy.
We’re starting to get some good press for the AIM agreement which gives UKPA members a preferential rate on their podcast licence. The AIM licence gives access to a 30,000 track archive. Full length no-DRM tracks, for podcasters to use in their music podcasts.
Radio stations typically remove music from their podcasts. This gives UK Podcasters a unique opportunity to re-write the rules for music promotion, opening the door for podcasters to move legitimately into traditional broadcast territory, which will hasten the shift towards media on demand.
The AIM podcast licence covers tracks licensed by the UK independent music industry and includes labels such as V2, XL Recordings, Studio !K7, Cooking Vinyl and Beggars Group. Revenue from the scheme returns to the labels, and artists will be paid as a result of podcasters using their music and paying the licence fee.
If you are a member and you want to get the reduction, contact aimpodcast ->at<- ukpa.info and quote your membership number. If you are not a member, join.
Podcasting News published a detailed explanation of the source of our rather lovely “Podcasting Is Selling Music” graphic.
John Buckman from Magnatune gives his explanation of exactly why the image works:
â€œI think is absolutely brilliant,â€ commented Magnatuneâ€™s John Buckman, who credits the UKPA with the design. â€œPodcasting is generally viewed as piracy and illegal by the RIAA, ASCAP and others, and they grudgingly give licenses to allow it in a very limited capacity (ie, 30 second samples). But, the reality is that it functions like radio, and helps sell music.â€