I've spoken in the past and mentioned that you pay for things using one of two currencies: money, or time. Today is another example of this theory.
I recently met Mike Russell from Music Radio Creative, and I started listening to his podcast. He's a great guy, and is a shining example of someone following his passion (in Mike's example voice over work, and painting pictures with sound). Mike is very good. I watched some of his youtube videos and just smiled as I watched someone with a tremendous amount of knowledge just work Adobe Audition and make things look super easy (and sound great).
I ordered some voice over work (it's that whole “talk about what you know” thing that I like to do), and I had the lovely Rachel do a promo about my “Last 5 in 5” feature that I do on my podcast. By the time the finished file ended up in my inbox it was less than 24 hours (more like 4 – but that may not be the norm). It sounded great. I am a fan. The funny thing is Mike had just featured Rachel on his show. I liked Rachel's voice, and it was funny as I felt the power of podcasting working on me – and yet was powerless to stop its influence.
I noticed on Mike's podcast he mentions that he mentions that ALL the music used in their jingles is legal. All the fees have been paid. I know my audience and I know they will say, “Why spend $20 when I can spend $5 at fiverr.com?” It is true that you can find (eventually) some talented people on fiverr. However, you may also find someone with a great voice and no knowledge of the law.
When I went looking on fiverr.com, I found “JJ” who is also passionate about voice over work, and does a good job of creating finished intros for $5. When I went to his youtube page to hear more of his samples he played an intro he had produced which started with music from the Black Eyed Peas. Ooops. Listen below.
It could've been worse. He could've used Prince, Gene Simmons or some other artist who will protect their brand. Some feel that using music is “no big deal.” After all, Jay-walking is illegal and people do that all the time. This doesn't make it legal. People murder each other ever day in the US. Some of them don't get caught. That doesn't make it “OK.”
Do I think you'll get sued if you use major label music in your podcast? Keep in mind it's not just the musician you have to worry about. There is the songwriter (who isn't always the person who is performing the song), there is the performer, and there are the publishing rights. For example if you want to use some of the Beatles music, you would need permission from Michael Jackson (who owns the publishing). We've gone almost 8 years without a podcaster being sued (that I know of). Keep in mind the more popular podcasting becomes, the greater the chance the RIAA will raise it's ugly head and start suing people. So I don't think you'll get sued right now – but you could. As always consult a lawyer before making any decisions that have you obviously breaking the law (yes that is me covering my behind).
Is Fiverr Really $5?
When I went searching for voice over on fiverr, it took some time to find talented people that were more than a newbie in the closet with a blue snowball microphone. The talented people had a line to order their voice overwork. In some days you were going to be waiting more than a week.
However, I did notice that most providers on fiverr will be more than happy to pick up the pace for an additional fee.
Now I'm not complaining. I experimented with fiverr and the people selling services only make $4 on the gig. I completely understand and encourage them to try and feed their children and pay the rent. My point is if you don't want to wait forever, fiverr isn't always going to be $5 (and what happens if you need something tweaked?) If I pay the extra $10 to speed up the process my voice over is now costing me $15.
My point is Music Radio Creative cost me $20 for a dry (no music) voice over (I'll mix in my own – royalty free – music). It showed up in a blink of an eye. I spent an extra $5 and I don't have to worry about any future litigation. You pay for things with money or time, and in this case possible time in the slammer.