Contacting the principals around the song, "At a Distance."
January 22, 2019 9:52 AM   Subscribe

I want to launch a podcast and use as the podcast's theme, the Julie Gold song as sung by Bette Midler. How do I find and contact the proper people for permission. And if that's not successful, can I pay for the rights to use the song as an opening and closing theme in the podcast?
posted by CollectiveMind to Media & Arts (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Do you mean "From a Distance?"
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 9:57 AM on January 22 [5 favorites]




Use of commercial music for a podcast doesn't fall neatly into one of the standard license types that the music industry came up with before the advent of the Internet. Under the standard license types the closest would be a synchronization license (which is what allows you to combine the song with other sounds; it's also used for video and film) and you'd need to pay per copy of the podcast, since you are distributing a substantial portion of the original recording. However, this is most likely not going to be logistically or economically viable for you, since you will have no idea how many people are listening. So rather than trying to enforce licensing terms that nobody can figure out how to calculate and most wouldn't be able to afford, and therefore losing out entirely on that potential revenue, sometimes rightsholders are willing to negotiate custom licenses, until they standardize the licensing of music for podcasts. You will need permission from both the music publisher (who represents the songwriter, who owns the rights to the song's music and lyrics, irrespective of any performance of it, usually administered by ASCAP or BMI) and the record company (which owns the actual sound recording of the performance, usually licensed through the Harry Fox Agency aka HFA). I will say that it strikes me as not very likely that you'll be able to get the rights to a popular Bette Midler song for any price you'd be able to pay for a podcast, unless you have more financial resources than most podcasters.
posted by kindall at 11:26 AM on January 22 [1 favorite]


ThatCanadianGirl, yes, "From a Distance." And yes, it was helpful. Thank you.
posted by CollectiveMind at 12:40 PM on January 22


I will say that it strikes me as not very likely that you'll be able to get the rights to a popular Bette Midler song for any price you'd be able to pay for a podcast, unless you have more financial resources than most podcasters.

If you need to compromise, the songwriter has performed this song herself and I'm sure her rate would be substantially lower.
posted by mikepop at 1:06 PM on January 22


You should use thethe Nanci Griffith version! It's wonderful and Nanci is probably more affordable to license than Bette.
posted by vespabelle at 2:54 PM on January 22 [1 favorite]


I have worked in this area for many years, and can second pretty much everything kindall noted above. I'll also add that there may be AFM new use/re-use union fees attached to any major label recording, and you should ask the owner of the master recording about that if you decide to go that route.
posted by queensissy at 4:16 PM on January 22


I say give it a try. The worst that can happen is they can’t make it affordable for you.

As a filmmaker who generally doesn’t profit from my work I have had good luck negotiating for music rights so far.
posted by christiehawk at 12:34 AM on January 23


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