How to do Internet radio without umbrella licensing
February 23, 2011 1:14 AM   Subscribe

What is the best way to get rights to play music on your own Internet Radio station for an artists work that is not shown on BMI, ASCAP, or SESACs repertoire? If you have rights to a song, then do you have rights to the songs remixes as well? Also, is it possible to get rights to play artists material without using an umbrella licence, even if the artists work is listed by BMI/ASCAP/etc...

I am investigating in starting an Internet Radio station for a very specific genre of electronic music that you usually don't find on BMI/ASCAP. It is also important to keep current on all the new releases and remixes, but it is very hard to find umbrella licensing for these songs.
posted by digdan to Computers & Internet (2 answers total)
If there is no umbrella license, you must negotiate individually with every label/publisher/artist. Not per song. This will take time, patience, and organisation. Some will ok it without a problem, others will not.

When I worked for a broadcaster, we had a policy to not play music not covered by the blanket license, because the risk and cost of doing so was high. We played an artist from India once and got a spurious claim for thousands of dollars in rights, and of course it went nowhere but cost us time in investigation and compliance checking the playlist, whether we had the song in our collection etc.

If you don't have any rights license at all to broadcast, you'll be wanting to keep your station underground. I would suggest contacting college or NPR stations to see what they do, rather than small stations that may also be broadcasting without license.
posted by wingless_angel at 4:18 AM on February 23, 2011

Individual artists can't give exemptions to their BMI licenses. The Largely Mythological Husband found this out after long back-and-forths with BMI. I don't know whether the same holds true of ASCAP and SESAC.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:23 AM on February 23, 2011

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