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Music, Licensing, & Royalties
Music, Licensing, & Royalties

Information about licensing requirements for your station.

Jamie Ashbrook avatar
Written by Jamie Ashbrook
Updated yesterday

Disclaimer: Radio.co does not provide music licensing or coverage for royalties. We recommend consulting with qualified professionals or the relevant authorities for your country regarding copyright and licensing. The following suggestions aren't to be taken as legal advice, but rather helpful signposts.

Music Licensing Explained

Unlike terrestrial radio, you may not need a license to broadcast online.

However, if your station is going to be playing commercial music, as opposed to a talk radio station, you may need to obtain a license to fully protect yourself and ensure you're not infringing on anyone else’s copyright. In most cases, the copyright is normally held by the recording artist or record label.

Blanket License

Internet radio stations cover themselves by paying for what’s known as a “blanket license” or “umbrella license“, it covers their station and allows them to play any type of music. Most licensees like this are paid every year and can vary in price depending on the country you are broadcasting from and the countries you will be broadcasting to.

In some instances, if licenses covering particular countries aren’t in your price range, you can block access from listeners using geo-protection.

Blocking Listeners with Geo-Protection

Radio.co's geo-protection allows you to easily block or allow listeners from any country. Very handy depending on the license your radio station holds.

Radio.co's geo protection.

Allow countries access to your station, blocking all others from entry which you don’t want tuning in. So if you hold a license for the United States, then allow the country. Radio.co will block all others.

Licensing Bodies

There are a variety of organisations and bodies who look after music copyright and royalties depending on your country, for example here are the UK’s licensing bodies:

  • PRS: The “Performing Rights Society” collects royalties on behalf of artists, composers, and cover music that’s played on TV, radio, and online.

  • PPL: The PPL represents the interests of record labels and collects royalties from radio stations on their behalf.

Choosing a licensing body solely rests on where you intend to broadcast audio, for instance, if your audience is in the USA then you can use SoundExchange. Here's a list of internet radio licensing bodies by country:

Broadcasting just talk or royalty free music doesn't require a license. However, we recommend consulting qualified licensing professionals for your home country for more info and guidance.

Royalty Free Music

You need to pay for a music license once and then you can use the music for as long as you want and play it however many times as you want without yearly fees.

A royalty free license is usually a lot cheaper than a statutory license because you are not buying tracks for a set amount of time, instead, you are purchasing the rights to use to use tracks forever.

3 Royalty Free Music Sites

There is an abundance of great services online that represent artists’ royalty free music, here are just a few of the best:

  1. Jamendo Music: Independent music community to discover trending tracks.

  2. AudioJungle: Thousands of royalty free audio files from just $1.

  3. Storyblocks: Unlimited royalty free audio for music, sound effects, and jingles.

Alternatively, if you’re looking for royalty free jingles or voice overs for your radio station then try Fiverr.

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