There are a variety of organisations and bodies who are ready to answer the " Do I Need a License for Internet Radio? " question, it’s their job to 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 license solely rests on where you intend to broadcast audio, for instance, if your audience is in the USA then you can use SoundExchange. Here are a few internet radio licensing bodies by country:
Working out what type of license you need and which body to speak to may seem like navigating through a minefield. PPL in the UK, for instance, covers small or standard broadcasters streaming to a number of different countries which you can check out here.
There are lots of different companies set up to make broadcasting online easier by providing you with a blanket license - These companies cover online radio broadcasters under what’s known as a " statutory license ".
Radio broadcasts online are defined as “non-interactive”, meaning they fall under the statutory license which covers pre-programmed shows that listeners cannot skip or select their own music.
The statutory license, however, does not apply to UK broadcasters but does apply to the USA and other broadcasting countries, so it’s recommended you research the right solution when finding a statutory license.
Statutory license fees differ, for example SoundExchange charge $500 per year and BMI charge charge $352, but costs can go up or down with time depending on royalty rates and other factors across the world.
You can get more cost-effective licenses if you plan on broadcasting only to a particular country like the USA or UK, in which case we recommend shopping around and finding the right license that fit your needs.
Alternatively, if you’re just after running a broadcast radio station that streams talk or royalty free music then you don’t necessarily require a license.
A common misconception about royalty free music is that you can broadcast tracks free of charge, however this simply isn’t true - Instead you only 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, essentially you’re purchasing the rights to use to use tracks forever.
There is an abundance of great services online that represent artists’ royalty free music, here are just a few of the best:
- Jamendo Music : Independent music community to discover and download trending tracks.
- AudioJungle : Thousands of royalty free audio files from just $1.
- AudioBlocks : Unlimited royalty free audio that offers music, sound effects, and jingles.