View Full Version : Can I play music on my podcast?

04-10-2012, 07:13 PM
I was wondering if I can play music on my show. I remember reading one time that I am allowed to play up to 30 sec.

Is that true?

thank you

04-13-2012, 04:42 AM
You can play music only if you have acquired the right to do so. If a song is commercially released, you have to get permission from the publisher. Good luck with that. Dan Miller was able to license "Taking Care of Business" by Bachman Turner Overdrive for his podcast for $100 per year, but he got lucky. Most publishers will not return your telephone call. The solution is to use either "podsafe" music that is used for free so long as you give credit to the artists (read the terms of use) or purchase a one-time license to music intended for the purpose. You can license some very good music for $20 to $100, if you look around.

Regarding the 30-second "rule", it is not law. It's an unwritten rule that you follow at your own risk. Generally speaking, the idea is that if you play less than 30 seconds of a song, you are not appropriating the song for your own use. However, using a song on a repetitive basis as a theme song for your show will almost certainly get the attention of the publisher.

Copyright violations are not trivial matters. The statutory penalties can be severe. While most publishers are not salivating over the opportunity to drag Internet broadcasters into federal court for violating their copyrights, they have the right to do so, and sometimes they engage in the act to make a point and to discourage others. Don't violate others' copyrights.

While you may think your favorite song is the perfect open and close for your show, in reality, very few people pay close attention to your theme song. If you're playing more than a few seconds of it, you're wasting broadcast time.

Most people totally misunderstand the concept of fair use. It's a complicated topic that is still litigated. It's amusing to see people post copyrighted material on YouTube with a disclaimer such as, "This song is posted under the Fair Use Exception to the United States Copyright Act." Just saying the the use is fair does not make is so. It's just silly.

It's frustrating to hear other people use whatever materials they want without regard to the rights of the copyright holders. However, if a Rambo copyright attorney decides to go after the small guy (and I have seen it happen with a right of publicity claim for a deceased musical artist), you'll sleep better knowing that your neck is not on the chopping block.

Spencer Kobren
04-14-2012, 02:39 PM
Great advice Mike!

04-27-2012, 11:27 AM
There is one option left. If you plan or desire to play music at different times and different pieces at any length you choose a membership in BMI would be advisable. They have a special liscense for electronic media, although it does require quarterly reporting of all the music you play. I play all the music I wish since my show is an oldies music podcast. But Four times a year it is like April 15th.

04-28-2012, 02:42 PM
Very good idea OTRNR. What type of music are you looking to play on your show and for what reason? If you are talking about a theme song you can find some great royalty free tunes on the net.

04-28-2012, 05:10 PM
I was responding to this thread, I have been playing oldies music on my show forsix years and am a member of BMI. I pay for all the music I play. [I] would not have it any other way.

11-25-2012, 12:04 AM
One of the best places to find podsafe music is Ariel Publicity. They provide podsafe music for Internet DJ's and Podcasters.

11-25-2012, 12:40 PM
Also, look at http://www.freestockmusic.com/
Here is what they say:

"We offer a wide variety of 100% free production music in ten genres: cinematic scores, classical, corporate, country, easy listening, electronic, hip-hop, international, pop and rock.

We're committed to helping you find the perfect song for your video, movie, film, video game, or media project.

Our music comes with a royalty-free license allowing you to use the music in all types of productions for worldwide distribution, forever. There are never any fees."

11-25-2012, 01:18 PM
Hey Amnon,

I just signed up for this service and I am looking forward to using it. They have a lot of music to choose from.

01-12-2013, 06:50 AM

That's a pretty in-depth look into the music question.

If you have GarageBand I'm pretty sure all of those loops and songs included with the program are royalty-free.

01-13-2013, 09:02 AM
I have had some videos I made using Garageband get tagged as copyright violations on Youtube.

01-13-2013, 09:19 AM

Then I think someone was being overzealous or made a mistake.

Jane Hash
10-05-2013, 12:07 PM
If a podcast is free, does this rule still apply?

Dan Ortego
10-05-2013, 12:58 PM
Well, if I ever get my landing gear up, I may luck out in this regard. My son is a musician so for sure he can throw something together for me. Though I have to admit I would love to cut a jingle from a 60's-70's era favorite. Yes, I'm wearing my Woodstock T-shirt as I type.

10-05-2013, 01:46 PM
Hello Jane. The rules still apply if the podcast or stream being provided is free. a great example is youtubes copyright protection. At times they will remove a podcast or video that includes music that isn't royalty fre

Jane Hash
10-05-2013, 01:55 PM
Thank you!

01-20-2014, 09:40 PM
I just heard a podcast and they were talking about getting a stike on youtube for having music... They said they bought it from a royalty free website

01-21-2014, 11:46 PM
Kevin MacLeod has a lot of free music, good selection. Here's his website


We use about 15 seconds of his "Cold Funk" for our introduction music.

02-04-2014, 08:55 PM
Kevin MacLeod has a lot of free music, good selection. Here's his website


We use about 15 seconds of his "Cold Funk" for our introduction music.

Great site... Thanks for posting this... I am considering also buying the Jewelbeat collection as well.

08-09-2014, 06:41 PM
I suggest looking into royalty free music. What I found is that most is written by independent artists looking to get their name out there. Most charge just a small one time fee and then you can use the music in your podcasts, some are even free to use as long as you give proper credit. I'm no lawyer but that's what I found worked for me, and I just use mine as a 30 second intro/music bed to my podcast.

Dan Ortego
08-09-2014, 08:56 PM
Well, on that note I'm fortunate in that my son is a professional musician and he and his band just released their second CD on iTunes. I'm sure I can hit him up for some help.