The UK Podcasters Association was founded in 2006 to protect podcasters’ rights, and promote podcasting. The association was dissolved at the end of 2009 after three years of prominent and successful activity, during a time when the media landscape changed completely.
One of UKPA’s major achievements was to put podcasting on the wider stage, establishing podcasting as a high quality option for media producers in radio, television, print and online, competing directly with established media for audiences.
During this disintermediated revolution, millions of people turned away from mainstream media formats and began to create and share in unprecedented ways. As new opportunities emerged, so did legislation. The UKPA’s chair and trustees decided it made good sense for podcasters and media makers to join forces with other podcasting groups and like-minded organisations to ensure that the rights of the many were not sidelined by panicking old media, vested interests and the paid political lobby.
The UKPA is now closed to new members and renewals, it formally ceased operations as of 22nd August 2009, and was dissolved January 2010.
It’s with some trepidation that I write this blog, the first as Chairman of the UKPA; Dean’s been such a giant, bestriding the podcast community, a fantastic representative for us all, fending off foes and gaining support from allies in the worlds of Heritage Media as well as New Media…
…a tough act to follow.
So… what are we going to do next, then?
Creating content is the fun bit of what we do. It’s easy. Enjoyable, a blast. If it isn’t… what are you doing?
Creating, maintaining and increasing an audience is harder, as the democratisation and disintermediation of the internet increases choice, fragments audience sizes, it gets harder and harder to be found and heard, or watched.
Monetising podcasts, if that’s what you want to do, is harder still. Partly because of the audience issue, but also other factors such as how to measure the ROI for advertisers, many of whom are still stuck with Heritage Media mindsets. Another issue for advertisers is quality – how to ensure that, as anyone can podcast, the brand values of their company is maintained and enhanced by associating with podcasters. Yet another issue is what monetisation method to use? Spot ads? Paid for content? White label podcasting? Sponsorship? Product placement? Pre-roll, post-roll?
Even harder than all of that is protecting this new media from the old guard. For sure, some such as the BBC are using the same platforms to publish some of their content as we do, which of course helps build the market for us all. But there are dark forces as work, such as WIPO, which has raised it’s ugly head again and which once again threatens us. Ofcom is waiting in the wings to sweep us up in to their regulatory framework which on one side of the argument makes sense, but equally can rob us of competitive advantage on what is a very unequal playing field.
I don’t know what you’d like from the UKPA, what you’d like to see us doing or where you’d like us to spend our time. But it seems to me that whatever it is, the more of us there are, then the louder our voice will be; the more weight and authority we’ll carry, and the more we’ll be able to achieve.
So let me know – it’s the first week for me and I’d like to hear your views – you can contact by email firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you get a gentle reminder to renew you membership… then please rejoin and help make UK Podcasting the force it can be.
We have had to change venue for tomorrow’s meeting:
It’s a pub called the Duchess of Kent. It’s 2 mins from Highbury and Islington tube, which itself is 10 mins from Oxford Circus on the Victoria Line.
Repeat notice of a UKPA General Meeting on November 22nd at the Meeting Rooms, Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church, 235 Shaftesbury Avenue, London, WC2H 8EP – please let us know if you’re coming so that we have an idea of numbers ahead of time.
The meeting is sheduled to run from 2pm to 5pm.
If you would like to be considered for the role of either Chairman or Treasurer, please contact us by the 18th November via email, or call 0870 919 2807 in office hours.
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 Governmentâ€™s proposals for implementing the Audiovisual Media Services Directive in the UK have just been published.
The consultation focuses on three specific issues which are expected to require legislation. These are ‘co-regulating’ video-on-demand services; product placement; and, regulating satellite TV channels from outside the EU which uplink from the UK.
This EU Directive is aimed at On-Demand Audio-Visual Media Services – and so it is very likely to impact upon video and audio podcasting. It is important that the UKPA members are not negatively impacted.
Leave your comments here, or email yours [at] ukpodcasters [dot] org [dot] uk
We’ve released the videos from last Saturday’s sessions at the Guardian as two long videos available here.
Also see James Cridland’s notes on the sessions.
Guardian Session 1: Regulation and Podcasting
Guardian Session 2: Music and Podcasting
UKPA is hosting a seminar on rights with the Open Rights Group at the Guardian, Farringdon, London, Saturday March 29th 2pm – 5pm and it would be great if you would come and take part.
Becky Hogge and Matt Wells (heads of ORG and Guardian Audio respectively) will be there, as well as representatives from MCPS-PRS and AIM (Association of Independent Music).
ORG will discuss how the EU AVMS Directive could impact negatively upon podcasting (if we let it) and generally explain the current issues facing podcasters as they see them. In the second session, we’ll cover new developments in music and podcasting.
There will be an opportunity afterwards to eat, drink and socialise at a local pub.
Attendance is strictly limited to 50, and places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. Sorry but due to security, no tickets are available “on the door” – all places must be booked in advance by March 22nd 2008.
This event is free to UKPA and ORG members.
Please book early to secure your place.
The Scott Room, 60 Faringdon Road, EC1R 3GA – directly opposite 119 Farringdon Road (main Guardian building)
Reception: 020 7886 9890
UKPA Contact number: 0870 919 2807
UKPA Event Email: events [at] ukpa [dot] info
Hope to see you there.
New UK Podcasters Association rates as from Jan 1st 2008:
Basic membership: Free
Full membership: £3 pcm, £36 per year
Corporate 1 (turnover up to £100,000 p.a.): £120 per year
Corporate 2 (turnover over £100,000 p.a.): £250 per year
The new Corporate 2 tier has been arrived at in discussion with members and prospective members because of the growing number of larger companies now joining the UKPA.
NB: Joining at this level does not confer any more rights – it’s still one membership, one vote – but it does give the non-profit organisation more resources to look out for its members’ interests.
All of the work members do for UKPA is unpaid and voluntary.