Preparing for the Worse: Internet Broadcasting Alternatives – Part 2

At the end of this week the new royalty rates for broadcasting music gets implemented by the CRB. While there is an effort to prevent these new, oppressive rates from going into effect (and effectively destroying a lot of Internet based radio). This week I decided to take a look at the alternatives for Internet Radio, especially for those who DJ in Second Life where the market place is not as lucrative for DJ’s. Today, I want to focus on another method that makes it viable to play artists music, and for free, and that is by acquiring direct permission.

Getting direct permission may seem very hard and it very well could be. For major bands, you have to ask several people for permission, the artist, the record label, the composer and the song writers (all represented by ASCAP, BMI, SESAC). That is handled by the current structure of SoundExchange and the RIAA (and thus the importance of the current royalty rate situation). Acquiring direct permission is really geared towards two methods, the first is the use of Creative Commons and their Attribution license, the second is by using social networking sites such as ACIDplanet, or MySpace to ask permission from the artists directly.

Creative Commons is a non-profit organization that has set up free public licenses for authors to indicate the terms of use for their items publicly. Any artist who has made music under the Attribution Creative Commons license has basically given DJ’s and Broadcasters permission to stream their work (there is even a new Music Sharing License that can be used.) While you can scour the net, OWL, is a great upcoming music search engine that compares similar songs to each other. While the concept is great, it is no no Google for music (but the best available). The alternative to using OWL is to search through music sites that allow artists to upload their music, to share or purchase it, and to determine their use through a Creative Commons license, each one operates a bit differently than the other. ccMixter not only allows artists to upload and share their music, but also allows a person to create their own remix stations, remixed individual tracks, it even has remix contents! ccMixter is a great resource for new music and artists, and while you can find some great tracks here, its beauty is its streaming options for Second Life users. If your favorite radio station goes dark because of the upcoming royalty hikes, you can create your own playlist based on ccMixter’s music and stream that! Another service, Jamendo is a bit different, allowing artists to upload their music and apply tags to them (such as the type of music that song falls under) and what creative common license is falls under. Jamendo acts as an intermediary between the listener, broadcaster and the artist, allowing users to pay the artist directly for use of their music. Unlike ccMixter, it’s music is organized better, as artists upload full albums of music for people to use. You can also refine your searches for music from specific countries, you can do a search for Industrial Music from Mexico (which at the time of this posting there were two albums). Magnatune, the third major service feels more like an independent iTunes and SoundExchange. Artists sign up with Magnatune, enabling their music to be purchased directly for as little as $5 and a much as $18 (it is your decision). The beauty about Magnatune is that music can also be licensed by purchasing a license agreement through their site. The problem I find with the Magnatune license program is that not only can be quite expensive for webcasters (you have to license each track individually), but they don’t seem to have a program or license coverage for Internet broadcasters (which I hope would change in the future). Being that they are in Second Life, it would be pretty cool if they give some sort of Second Life broadcasting license coverage program.

Of course, if you have a local band in your area and are friends with them, you could ask for permission directly and arrange agreements with them! The problem is that this can be tedius, hence the advent of ACIDplanet and MySpace. MySpace has a deep music community and it is easy to visit their websites, get further information about the musician, talk to them directly. Before there was MySpace, there was ACIDplanet, which is run by Sony. ACIDplanet is a music creation community, allowing artists to publish their music free on a website, although is pushes its music creation software ACID Pro, just don’t expect anyone on their label to have music available for use. ACIDplanet tends to be a community geared towards Electonic music, it’s a great source for house and trance songs, but again you have to ask the creator for permission to use it directly.

All of these services listed are geared towards Independent music, things you won’t typically hear on MTV or your FM dials. While you won’t have access to play Billboards Top songs, you will have enough access to find new (and great) music, it just won’t be Linkin Park’s or Metallica’s recent releases.

Note: I am not a source of legal advice on music royalty or even music licenses. This article was created to be informative, and to outline options that also fall into the legal realm of music licensing and copyrights. I would advise that you speak to your legal representative, lawyer, or a person familiar with music copyrights before making any final decision.

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4 Responses to Preparing for the Worse: Internet Broadcasting Alternatives – Part 2

  1. Pingback: Nexeus Fatale » Do you still have to pay royalties for free music?

  2. Mark says:

    Hi, there are also a lot of Royalty Free Music resources on the Web. Most of them offer 100% royalty free music, what means that you do not have to pay any fees to Performing Right Organisations (ASCAP.BMI etc). You pay one time small fee and use music as many times as you wish without paying additional royalties. As an example try

    However, even if you purchase a track from Royalty Free Music sites and plan to use it in a broacast project, make sure that a composer of the track is not a member of any Performing Right Society (to avoid any PRO fees).

    • Gondronk says:

      You say Justin Bieber,I say Black Veil BridesYou say Miley Cyrus,I say Bring Me The HorizonYou say Kesha,I say Suicide SilenceYou say Eminem,I say Escape The FateYou say Kanye West,I say Bullet 4 My ValentineYou say Jonas Brother,I say The Black Dahlia Murder92% of teens have turned to pop and hip-hop.If you are part of the 8% that still liestns to real music, copy and paste this message to 5 other videos DONT LET ROCK N ROLL DIE/METAL Thumbs up..

  3. @Mark Your completely right. There is a lot of Royalty Free Music, but most of that sort of music is used more for talk overs, production material, etc. Not as for music, music. But you are right and that is a really good point.

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