Playing Cover Songs on My Podcast

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Playing Cover Songs on My Podcast

Post by rogerwimmer » Sun Sep 02, 2012 6:49 am

Hi Doc: I do a podcast and I play music from local bands in my city. Up to this point I've limited it to only original songs, no cover songs. I'm not making any money off of it (although someday I'd like to), so I can't afford to pay any licensing fees to labels or artists. But I'm not sure if playing cover songs would mean I would have to pay those fees or not. What are the rules for this situation? I can't even figure out what to search for to find the answer. - Jeff

Jeff: The music royalty issue is a very complicated and I have been asked a variety of questions about royalties during the past several years. In all cases, I say that I’m not an attorney and it’s probably best to pay the royalties to avoid potential lawsuits. However, your situation is somewhat different because you said you’re playing music by local bands.

I’m going to list three articles for you to read and you’ll see several references to playing music by local bands. In most cases, the bands are happy for the exposure and the situation generally does not require you to pay royalties. The payment would be covered by the local bands. This includes song covers. However, as I always say, if you think there may be a problem, contact an attorney in your area who specializes in media-related situations.

Here are a few things for you to read:

Article One

Article Two

Article Three


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Roger Wimmer is owner of Wimmer Research and senior author of Mass Media Research: An Introduction, 10th Edition.

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