Author Topic: Podcasts and compensation  (Read 8936 times)

Hypnagogue

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Podcasts and compensation
« on: April 28, 2009, 06:46:12 AM »
Friends: As I do a couple of times a year, I am once again toying with the idea of starting up a podcast tie-in with the Hypnagogue web site. But I'm curious...how do podcasts like Ultima Thule, Magnatunes, or Quiet Sounds compensate artists? Or do they? If you've got music running in any current podcasts, I'd like your thoughts on this. Because if I did finally go this route, I'd want to do right by the musicians, of course!

peace & power,
js
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mgriffin

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Re: Podcasts and compensation
« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2009, 08:04:47 AM »
I don't think podcasts like these compensate artists, other than offering them the benefit of promotion.
[ Mike Griffin, Hypnos Recordings ] email mg (at) hypnos.com | http://hypnos.com | http://twitter.com/mgsoundvisions

Brian Bieniowski

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Re: Podcasts and compensation
« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2009, 08:06:59 AM »
I've never compensated an artist for using his or her music in Quiet Sounds, and if I had to do so, I'd probably never have started the venture in the first place.  It's definitely a grey area kind of activity, the way I see it, though certainly not as pernicious as something like sharing entire albums.  I figured when I started that if there was a terrific outcry, I'd just take the site down.  I've been doing it since 2005 and I've yet to hear one complaint from an artist or label.

In the beginning, I was concerned that it would be construed as a form of piracy (which it technically is, and I was comfortable in the role of "pirate radio" person anyway, because, at the time, there were no other "good" ambient music podcasts), but I soon discovered that the format was considered less harmful than whole-album sharing and more of a kind of promotion for the artists and labels involved.  After all, it's generally one track fused into ten or twelve others at a pretty low bit rate (128 kbps).  Still, in the opening episodes, I made sure I said that I'd be glad to remove any track an artist was uncomfortable having online without permission.  Have not heard from anybody yet.

I'd love to be able to pay the artists for their work if it's featured on the Quiet Sounds, but the podcast does not earn any money (if anything, it costs me a little money to put it up there and host it).  I pay for all the music I play when I buy the hardcopies and I've never included something I haven't paid for.

mgriffin

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Re: Podcasts and compensation
« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2009, 08:30:03 AM »
There's another topic on here somewhere (I'll dig down and look for it later if I have time) where this was discussed a bit more, and the consensus among artists and labels was they enjoyed being included on such podcasts and didn't expect any kind of airplay royalty or other compensation.

In my opinion, listeners enjoy downloading those things and often discover new artists or new albums from such curated podcast compilations.  Of course this results in more purchases of CDs by artists featured in this way.
[ Mike Griffin, Hypnos Recordings ] email mg (at) hypnos.com | http://hypnos.com | http://twitter.com/mgsoundvisions

LNerell

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Re: Podcasts and compensation
« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2009, 08:32:59 AM »
Ultima Thule is actually a radio broadcast so the radio station probably has a license to broadcast copy written material. Some internet radio stations like SomaFM have also gotten licenses with BMI and ASCAP, others have not. HOS is an interesting case, I was told that they put aside a sum of money into a trust, which at some point in the future will pay artist they have broadcast from their podcast. When this will start is anyone's guess. I would think that small time podcasts would be outside of most of this.
Take care.

- Loren Nerell

Brian Bieniowski

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Re: Podcasts and compensation
« Reply #5 on: April 28, 2009, 08:46:54 AM »
I know SomaFM was forced to begin paying royalties which is a considerable sum of money—I get the impression they're still hurting from the legislation.  I've noticed their great Drone Zone broadcast has started focusing on a lot more free netlabel releases, perhaps as a response.

I guess the trouble is that the audience is large enough to justify the existence of a show, but small enough that it stays in the unprofitable zone for things like netradio, etc., that have to earn income to survive.

LNerell

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Re: Podcasts and compensation
« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2009, 09:31:06 AM »
"Forced" is not what I was told. What do you consider a high fee for them? I don't think they are focusing on netlabels more then before, right now as I type this they are playing Vidna Obmana and most of their current playlist seems to be similar. I was in a meeting with an ASCAP representative last week and she said they don't force anyone to join and fees are negotiable. She said the only person they have taken to court in the last 20 years was the owner of a bar in New York.

Back to the topic at hand, I wouldn't worry about fees right now, podcasts are sort of a gray area, and its always good to have another avenue for ambient music to get heard.

I forgot to mention the ASCAP rep said broadcasters pay a flat fee, so playing more non-represented artists don't save them any money.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2009, 09:33:46 AM by LNerell »
Take care.

- Loren Nerell

Hypnagogue

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Re: Podcasts and compensation
« Reply #7 on: April 28, 2009, 09:55:42 AM »
Thank you, friends. All good info.

Now if I'd just get off my ass and get internet at home again...  (Hey, it's only been a year!)   ;D
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Brian Bieniowski

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Re: Podcasts and compensation
« Reply #8 on: April 28, 2009, 01:18:38 PM »
Loren, I'd been reading Rusty Hodge's website now and again about the issue:

http://somafm.com/blogs/rusty/

He goes into some detail on the whole situation and how it might affect Soma FM and other net broadcasters.  Sounds like it is a different organization than ASCAP giving the trouble, and the money sounded rather significant to me (enough to put them out of business, it would seem) but I must defer to your knowledge about the situation as you likely have a better handle on it than I.

LNerell

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Re: Podcasts and compensation
« Reply #9 on: April 29, 2009, 09:11:55 AM »
Thanks Brian for the link to Rusty's blog, I haven't seen it before. After reading the first page of his blog it seems his main beef is with SoundExchange which is a royalty collection group set up by the RIAA and which is very aggressive. He never once mentioned BMI or ASCAP so I assume that they are not a problem for him.
Take care.

- Loren Nerell