Music in podcasts – Part 1 PRS


Yet you know that using someone else’s work with out permission is not permitted. More than that; it is illegal.

I turned to the Performing Rights Society for some answers. The website has information for musicians and composers and for people who are using music. I wanted to be more specific and find out what a podcaster can do.

I’ll be following this email up with an interview for the podcast in the future and I’ll be talking to other music providers. To me the most worrying thing about this series of answers concerns world wide rights. We make podcasts and send them put to the world. Read on for more information. If you have any questions, let me know for the podcast interview.

Here’s the email interview with Coral Williamson, Communications Executive with PRS for Music.

What someone needs to know when they start out?
In terms of music licensing, consider whether the music use is contentious in any way. If so, it may be wise to approach the publishing rights holder ahead of licensing via a collection society. Similarly if it could be considered that the music used can be associated with any advertising or branding, the publishing rights holder should also be contacted to obtain synchronisation rights.

What is the process for applying for a license, reporting usage, costs and how that’s calculated?
A podcast licence can be applied for through the PRS website. The Limited Online Music Licence (LOML) available to view here has a category for podcast licensing and relating costs. Customers can apply and pay online for an annual licence.

If I only have a clip of music as my sig tune do I really have to get a licence? As you know there is a lot of misinformation on that one.
Yes. Any music use, no matter how small or insignificant requires a licence, and in fact, a signature tune is potentially more likely to also fall under one of the categories, listed in the first answer, that may require publisher approval. Depending on the nature and subject matter of the podcast, a songwriter or their publisher may not wish to be associated with it.

If I record someone in a cafe and there is background music playing do I need a licence?
Yes. Any music use requires licensing.

Do I need any other music licences — what about PPL and MCPS?
The LOML licence is a joint licence covering MCPS and PRS rights. PPL looks after the copyright in sound recordings. PPL should be contacted for advice on licensing sound recordings.

Does that cover the world?
The LOML licence is UK only. There is not a worldwide Podcast licence. Licensees would need to licence territory by territory.

What if I meet Paul McCartney at a party and he says I can use any of his music I like?
When songwriters and composers join PRS For Music, they assign their performing rights to PRS. That means that PRS For Music has the exclusive right to licence performing rights for its members. As Paul McCartney is a member of PRS For Music he would not be able to waive his performing rights. His mechanical rights are owned by MPL UK Publishing. Though this may be his own publishing company, he may still have other board members or shareholders he needs to run things past before waiving royalties, though I’m sure that being Paul McCartney he could very much put a good word in.

(Later in this series I will be talking to and interviewing people involved in providing music for podcasters and video makers on a budget. We start with the collection agency PRS – Performing Rights Society. This article will be followed up with a podcast episode at a time yet to be agreed)

Books to accompany these podcasts

Search on your Amazon store

On Kindle: US, UK, DE, FR, ES, IT, NL, JP, BR, CA, MX, AU, IN

Paperback: US, UK, DE, FR, ES, IT, JP

The book is for young, trainee, or student journalists not specialising in broadcast media. It is an introduction to “making content”, podcasting and broadcasting whether you want to understand production on a professional level or simply because you want to create podcasts for fun or add something useful to your CV. 

It is a result of experience teaching radio production to journalism BA students in Dublin. Most, but not all these pages are the module and support notes. The book is part of the “Podcasting For …” project which includes podcasts and the blog. 

Contents include:

  • Deciding on your purpose
  • The Production Team
  • Roles of the editor, producer, assistant producer, presenters, reporters, researchers
  • Turning the Prospects into the Running Order
  • Essential Skills: writing, reading and “marking up” a script, interviewing, planning the interview, doing an interview, 
    Programme structure, 
  • Recording in and out of the studio, equipment (studio, microphones, recorders), using a smartphone, using a digital recorder.
  • How to edit using a computer and audio editing software, 
  • Programme making including structure, show notes, advertising, sponsors and other non-production credits
  • Podcast platforms, blog and social media, making the mp3 audio file, setting up your podcast host, registering with iTunes, Stitcher and TuneIn.
  • Digital Promotions, using Facebook, Twitter and other social media. Using more traditional methods of promoting.
  • Managing the online community Drawing up the guidelines
  • Copyright. Staying within the law.


Podcasting for Community Organisations

Search your Amazon store for paperback and Kindle editions – just search “Podcasting for Community Organisations

 podcasting-for-community-organisationsThe first edition of “Podcasting for Communities” was published in September 2016. It forms the basis for this book but the name change is to make it clear that the expected audience and readership will be from community organisations. The “Podcasting For …” project includes the blog and podcast interviews with experienced radio and podcast professionals. Additional information related to this and other books in the “Podcasting For …” series is added regularly to the blog. You are encouraged to visit it and engage with the author and other readers. The book is mainly about producing audio content. It is also relevant to people producing programmes on local or community radio stations. Even if you are an individual who wants to learn and produce a solo podcast, or a couple or three friends who want to record a weekly discussion, the information here will be relevant and I hope useful to you. The emphasis is on producing audio podcasts – or as we usually call it … radio. If you are new to the concept of podcasts, or already have some radio production experience then this book is for you.



The ccmusic used in the podcast is  Cloudline from the Blue Dot Sessions’ Album K4. Find it on the Free Music Archive.  Cloud Line by Blue Dot Sessions is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial License.

You can listen to the track in full here


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