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Radio and Online Services

Radio and Online Listening Services: More Information on Licensing

1) Licensing for radio is different than online: satellite radio does not have to pay royalties and is functioning on a “free advertising” model. Radio stations pay fees to licensing bodies for non-exclusive rights to broadcast music. Radio stations and businesses typically pay a flat rate once a year, called a blanket license. This can vary based on the size of the audience, value of the advertising revenues, and amount and nature of music usage. As part of the license contract a radio station may conduct periodic audits of the music being played, with the audit results submitted to the licensing body

2) What this article is saying is that licensing allows you to purchase the right to play and have that music through your radio station or online service, so that you don't have to personally go to the artist you wish to play and pay them individually. You have to make sure that the stations are monitored so that you can ensure that music will not be tampered with, because if this does happen then you and your station are at risk of being fined. Following the companies record keeping and reporting requirements is everything when it comes to being able to play music that isn't yours. Unless you have obtained a waiver you need to follow the specific rules that the company or label has put in place. Most songs are licensed by the three main PROs, which are performance rights organizations. ASCAP and BMI each having more songs in their catalogs than SESAC. When and if an artist is not represented by a PRO, then you must get permission from the artist directly.

There are two different types of licenses that are imperative in the music industry and those are explained as so in the link below, “There are two kinds of music licenses that we're concerned with – recording artist royalties and publisher royalties. When playing songs over the radio, only the authors/composers/writers of the song have to be compensated (the owners of the “musical work” copyright), not the performers/producers of the song (the owners of the “sound recording” copyright, which is usually assigned to record labels).” 

When it comes to streaming music online different people have to be compensated in addition to the composers, artist, label, etc. The producers now have to be compensated as well as the performer. The Librarian of Congress deals with Sound Exchange when it comes to handling online streaming. There are different fees that come into play when it comes to online streaming. ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC charge a fee for online streaming. This is different from the fee they charge for broadcast radio transmissions. Transmitting music over broadcast radio and also live streaming/simulcasting music online requires two separate licenses from these PROs, in additional to the one from SoundExchange. 

Prometheus Radio states in the article below that the license from SoundExchange requires that you abide by the “sound recording performance complement,” which states the following:

“1) No more than 4 tracks by the same featured artist (or from a compilation album) may be streamed to the same listener within a 3 hour period (and no more than 3 of those tracks may be streamed consecutively)”

2) No more than 3 tracks from the same album may be streamed to the same listener within a 3 hour period (and no more than 2 of those tracks may be streamed consecutively."

3) Title 17 of the US Code explains the copyright regulations when it comes to music. The link show below gives a perfect definition of what it means to obtain copyright, it states as follows, "Copyright in a sound recording protects the particular series of sounds “fixed” (embodied in a recording) against unauthorized reproduction and revision, unauthorized distribution of phonorecords containing those sounds, and certain unauthorized performances by means of a digital audio transmission." 

Terms that one should know when it comes to understanding copyright and music licensing are:

sound recording: a recording of sounds

the label: what owns and produces the music

the publisher: works on behalf of the composer and songwriter

Examples in the music industry when one has to obtain rights include:

* Public performance rights are needed when a public place or radio station want to play an artists music

*Blanket licenses are obtained so the station can play anything it chooses. PRO's then decide how to divide up the money among all the rights owners. 

*Master Use Licenses are used if a particular song is wanted for a commercial or film.

(Audio Visual Material)

The link below is a video that explains the general idea of copyright in regards to radio and online mediums.

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