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Using music in your podcast: law changes and what you need to know
Using music in your podcast: law changes and what you need to know

Your Podcast, Music, and Article 17

Updated over a week ago

Hi Podcaster​,

There are important changes being made to EU laws next week regarding the use of music within your podcast. Note: we have always advised against using music in your show and our stance has not changed. But we want to help you make sense of these changes and how to avoid a violation.

If you use any music in any part of any podcast episode, you need the right clearance from the correct copyright owner or owners. This is true for all types of music and regardless of the duration it’s played for. We’ve put together some practical tips on this below.

Article 17 of the new EU Copyright Directive is due to be implemented into local laws in Europe by Monday, June 7. This shifts responsibility for any copyright infringement by any podcast shared via the Acast platform and platform services, including our mobile app and embed player, directly onto us under certain conditions.

Please bear in mind that, for this reason, we’re putting in place a “take down and stay down” process to remove from our platform any copyright infringing content of which we become aware. This is in addition to the clear statement of podcast supplier responsibilities for e.g. music and sound recording clearance set out in your Acast Creator Network agreement.

Using music in your podcast

If music is a vital creative component of your show, make sure you fully understand its source and any associated clearance you’ll need. Here’s what you should know:

Commercial music

  • We strongly advise against using commercial music.

  • It’s costly and requires clearance from rights holders on both the musical works and sound recording sides — including the artists, record label, composers, and the publishers who own the copyright and can grant synchronisation licenses for the use of their music in a podcast.

Production/Library music

  • You’ll need a licence from the relevant music library. These libraries control the musical work and the sound recording, so you won’t need to clear these separately.

  • The library will charge a fee for use and duration of use.

  • In some jurisdictions, certain libraries will have mandated collecting societies to license their rights. This includes MCPS in the UK or NCB in the Nordics, for example.

Royalty-free music libraries

  • A simple, one-stop shop solution to including music in your podcast.

  • Royalty-free music libraries, like production/library music vendors, control the rights to the musical work and the sound recording.

  • These libraries offer music in a variety of media types for a single fee.

Commissioned music

  • Specially commissioned or bespoke music is a great way to add a distinctive edge to the sound of your podcast.

  • If you want to use this type of music, make sure you agree terms with the composer that mean you own and control the use of the music and the sound recording.

Happy podcasting!

Acast Customer Success

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