One of the most asked questions (about podcasting) is how to use copyright music on your podcast. Now, to answer these questions, it’s is a little more complicated than that.
Our recommendation is not to use copyright music or content on your podcast at all. But we understand that you might need to in order to get your story across to your listers. So here are some ways you can do that.
Please keep in mind that we are a podcast hosting company. We are not lawyers that you can use as legal advice. If you are confused about anything discussed in this article or about copyright laws, we highly advise that you seek a legal team for help.
Can I Play Copyrighted Music in a Podcast?
A lot of people get confused and think that if you play 10 or 15 seconds of a song, then you are not violating any copyright rules.
But this actually wrong.
There are no rules or laws that say you can only use 5, 10, 15, or even 30 seconds of a song. The rule is that you need permission or rights (sometimes called royalty) in order to use any seconds of any songs.
Can you get away with it? Maybe. But if the artist does not like that you are using their song in their podcast, they have the right to take you to court where you could be paying huge fines.
Buy The Music
The best solution is to buy the music rights. Now, this doesn’t mean that you go on iTunes or Spotify and pay for the song and now you have the right to use it. It also doesn’t mean that you bought the rights, that you own the song.
For most of the artist’s label companies, you can contact and ask if you can purchase the rights to use their song on your podcast. Some label and production companies have forms or links on their website where you can purchase the rights.
Ask For Permission
Since you are going to be contacting the artist, label, or the production company anyways, it’s also better to ask if you can use it for free.
Most of the time, it is going to be a “No” but sometimes they might let you use their music on your podcast without having to purchase any rights from the artist or label company.
It never hurts to ask.
Will my podcast get taken down if I have copyright music?
If your podcast is on Apple or Spotify (which most podcasts are), they can take down your podcast for copyright music. Of course, even if your podcast is not on these platforms, if an artist of a song contacts any platform about copyright music, your podcast can be taken down.
Spotify recently has taken a stricter approach. They do not want you to be playing copyright music in your podcast.
What if my podcast gets taken down for copyright music?
If you never had permission to use the copyright music, then there is nothing you can do about it. If you have the episode’s raw files, then you can edit out the copyrighted song and re-upload it.
If you did have permission to use it from the artist or record label company, then you can present that to the platform like Apple and Spotify and they will review it and get it back up for you.
Please keep in mind that most podcast hosting companies will not check for copyright music. This is done by podcast distribution companies like Apple, Google, and Spotify.
Can I Use Other Copyright Stuff On My Podcast?
This all depend on the copyright law in your city, state, or country and also on what you want to use.
For example, if you want to talk about what you saw on the news today, that is ok. But if you want to use the audio from the news clip, this might not be ok and you might need to get permission (and also give credit when you play it) from the news channel.
Again, as we recommenced earlier, if you are not sure about what you can and cannot use, please talk to a professional licensed lawyer in your area. We are not a legal team and we are just giving out personal experience with copyright laws.
So can you use copyright music on your podcast? Maybe. But probably not.
You should always get permission and also give credit before using any copyright materials. If you want to use a song then it is best to contact the artist’s record label company and ask if you can. They may require you to pay for the right to use that song on your podcast.
Other Questions About Copyright Materials On Podcast
What If There is Copyright Music in the Background?
This is still not allowed. Doesn’t matter if copyright songs are clear or not in your podcast. Having them there without permission is violating copyright laws.
Does Your Podcast Need Copyrighted Music to Be Good?
Of course not. You are what makes your podcast good. So just focus on you and not on copyright music.
How Can I Get Copyright-free Music for My Podcast?
There are many places that you can find on Google or YouTube with copyright-free music. You can also search for royalty-free music as well. These are all fair to use without violating any copyright laws. But keep in mind that they might still cost money (a one-time fee) to purchase the song.