Understanding Digital Music Licensing

Navigating the rules of using music in a digital media platform is complicated. Whether you’re a streaming music service, offering podcasts, downloads, videos with music from your site, or simply creating ads for advertisers, chances are you’re creating a public performance when you’re doing that, which in the digital world means you have to have a license and pay a fee. In many cases, statutory or blanket licenses already exist. Which means all you have to do is figure out which ones apply to you…

To make that much easier, my friend David Oxenford of the law firm Davis Wright Tremaine has created an excellent resource. Guide to the Basics of Music Licensing is essential reading for anyone in the digital audio space. (It’s free!)

Oxenford is the most knowledgeable guy I know in areas related to copyright issues and digital audio. He has represented webcasters in lots of royalty negotiations including the settlement last summer between pureplay webcasters and SoundExchange. He’s also a busy FCC attorney for lots of broadcasters. He’ll be speaking at RAIN Summit West on April 12th as well.

In the meantime, checkout the Guide. You might even want to bookmark it on Delicious..

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2 responses

  1. Those interested in this subject might be interested in my streaming ROI worksheet at: http://radioevangelist.wordpress.com/2009/03/26/streaming-audio-roi-spreadsheet/

  2. Thanks for the link Steve, it does demonstrate very clearly how the royalty rates set forth by Soundexchange basically kills any business model for streaming, even if the CPM could be increased drastically. This will be very useful to have when the collection societies will push a by-play royalty here in Canada.

    Guillaume

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