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 DJâ€™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.
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 donâ€™t expect anyone on their label to have music available for use. ACIDplanet tends to be a community geared towards Electonic music, itâ€™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 wonâ€™t typically hear on MTV or your FM dials. While you wonâ€™t have access to play Billboards Top songs, you will have enough access to find new (and great) music, it just wonâ€™t be Linkin Parkâ€™s or Metallicaâ€™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.