No You Can’t Play That Music

I am not a lawyer, and if you want an official answer you might consider checking with a lawyer. This is only my opinion

I’m not sure what is going on lately, but I am getting bombarded with questions (legal questions I might add) about playing music in your podcast. The quick answer in 99.9% of the cases is NO you can’t play ANY part (5 seconds, 10 seconds, etc) in your podcast. Here is what I’ve been told:

  1. You need permission of the songwriter
  2. You need persmission of the performer
  3. You need permission from the rights holder.

So if you wanted to play the song Yesterday, you would need permission from Paul McCartney and John Lennon, the performer (Yesterday has been performed by a zillion people) and the rights holder (Michael Jackson?). With this in mind, have fun getting permission.

We talked about this on the Podcasters Roundtable a while back with lawyer Gordon Firemark (who will also say to contact a lawyer in your area).

Now does this suck? Yes. I do wish the music industry would come up with a license for podcasters to pay and allows us to play music.

Do people still play music in their podcast? Yes. Do people still drive over the speed limit? Yes. This doesn’t mean it’s legal. Playing unlicensed music in your show might get you booted from iTunes (if you create a music show, you should put in the description that you have permission).

There are those who have gone through 9 months of negotiating (Dan Miller of the 48 days to the work you love) and attempted to go through the hurdles of being legal (Coverville). Brian from Coverville will be the first to tell you the music industry doesn’t know what to do with podcasting. Someone in that industry should figure it out.


What About Fair Use?

Fair use is a gray area (only recognized in the US) where if you comment on the music that it might be deemed “Fair use.” Keep in mind, if you get sued you have to pay for legal fees and hope you win your case to prove you had fair use privileges.

Podcasting Legal Guide

A podcast legal guide (written by lawyers who will say contact a lawyer) is available here

What is a Podcast?

Today I created a quick video for those who are asking, “What is a podcast?” I provide an overview. The way this works, is you make a podcast, get listed in “Podcasting Phone Books” like iTunes, and people search for you, subscribe to you, and enjoy your content. You develop a relationship as they know, like, and trust you, and what you do with that relationship is up to you. This is a quick video that just explains what it is, and the power of subscriptions.

Maybe Your Podcast Just Sucks

On a recent article on the Podcast Report from Paul Colligan Paul stated the truth. Nobody listens to podcasts that suck.

I was reading a very long (ever so slightly disguised link bate) article that had a section where the author stated:

Brock PArty“Podcasts are pointless. Anyone who tells you otherwise is the literal devil. No one is going to get rich or famous or gain any level of following from this medium ever again, because it is hilariously dead. Your idea to share caustic observations about an ongoing TV show? Pointless. Your idea to interview interesting people? Laughably misguided. Your idea to discuss each individual episode of a decade-old CW show? Well… shockingly successful.”

There are people listening to Brock’s show. Around 125 downloads per episode (13,767 downloads divided by 110 episodes). If you were a teacher, that would be 5 classrooms of 20.

So I went over to listen to his the Brock Party. I’m three minutes into it, and I am now finally getting into the content. You played a song with no teaser. You are hoping that people sit through some song hoping that they make it to the content. As a first time listener, I have no idea who you are, or your guests.

Your audio is right on the edge of distracting. I get it. One microphone with four people, you’re going to get room noise. I’ll let it slide.

At 5 minutes you finally introduce your guests. Nobody waits for 5 minutes for someone to get to the point. You then had one of your guests introduce themselves. It’s your show, but it just sounded like you decided to have this person on the show an hour ago. Oh wait, you just admitted that’s what happened.

97% of the time improv blows.

98% of stats are made up.

Not that it matters, but you have no ID3 tags in your mp3 file. That wouldn’t bring you any more listeners, but for those who download your show and listen on Windows Media player you look like a giant hack.

Congratulations on typing a whopping 32 words for Google to find to help bring your traffic.

Nothing screams “great content” like four people talking over each other. Who am I to judge, it works for THE VIEW.

In the article you say, “two years ago we started setting aside Thursday nights to have fun people get drunk around microphones in my living room.” It sounds like you’ve achieved your goal.

The one thing that really confused me, is Brock has a great looking website, but instead of adding the podcast to YOUR WEBSITE, you send people to a bad Podbean site that looks like a throw back to bad MySpace page.

The 15 Minute Test.

For me, I had to bail at the 15 minute mark. You are all over the place, and while I get to be a voyer and listen in to a conversations between friends, it’s a pretty boring conversation. While I’m happy to say you were not talking about the Kardashians, the choice to talk about Tonya Harding seemed so 1991. Can you make it past the 15 minute mark? Here is the episode.

What I Would Do

Pick some topics to talk about and let me (the audience) know what to expect before I waste 10 minutes of my life trying to figure it out

Lose the music. People are busy. They tune into hear you, and your content.

Get some microphones and a mixer (not sure this is an option). Again, your sound quality was not 100% annoying. It has lots of room for improvement.

Newspapers, Magazines, and Movies all have editors. If you don’t put time into your show, why do you expect your audience to give up theirs?

Put this podcast on your website. As you can see, it’s super easy to embed audio on any website. The traffic from your website will drive downloads. For those that like your show, they might tell their friends, review you in iTunes, etc. and help you grow your audience.

Put (at least) an iTunes button on your ugly Podbean site.

Put a link back to your website on your ugly Podbean site.

Lastly congrats on turning 30. Your website shows a completely different guy than the podbean  version does. You have an impressive resume.

Why You Need a Podcast Consultant and Coach

I’m not even going to link to the pooh that was the article that inspired this “Rant.” Go in with your eyes open.

Aweber Turns Off Double Opt-In

One of the reasons people stick with their current email subscriber is its a pain the butt to transfer your list.  This was especially hard if you were moving TO Aweber. Why? Becuase even though they probably double opted in to yoru original list, they were forced to do it AGAIN. The result? You lost (in my case) about 35% of my list. Ouch.

The good news is Aweber has announced that this policy is no longer. They made moving to Aweber much easier. Your list still needs to be permission-based and healthy in order to send emails with AWeber.

Does this mean that spammers will now tarnish Aweber’s awesome reputation? According to their website, “For years, AWeber’s automated reputation system has been sifting, sorting and scoring every email being sent by every customer. It allows us to quickly identify and remove anyone who doesn’t follow email marketing best practices.”

If you would like to take Aweber for a test drive, subscribe to the list below and Aweber will share some insights into their system and features. Or you can just download their Aweber at a glance PDF

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