Publishers of technology books, eBooks, and videos for creative people

Home > Articles

Creating a Podcast

This chapter is from the book


Music is a very important part of podcasting. After all, many podcasts are like terrestrial radio broadcasts, in that they play a selection of popular music. Even for all-talk podcasts, music is often part of the program in one form or another. Although music plays an important role in making podcasts sound professional, there are issues around the licensing of musical content within a podcast.

Despite the limitations, there are ways (such as licensing or using Creative Commons licenses) to include music in your podcasts. It's a sticky area, however, and it's important to know the lay of the land before you try to walk across it.


Few people may realize this, but each and every time a song is played on the radio, on television, or even at a sporting event, a royalty is paid to the rights holder of that song. How much of a royalty is paid depends on where the song is played. For example, the use of a song in a commercial, such as the Rolling Stones' "Start Me Up" (for Microsoft Windows 2000) or the Beatles' "Revolution" (for a Nike shoe ad), can generate hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars. On the other hand, a radio station playing a particular song might require a payment of only 16 cents. Whatever the cost, royalties are designed to reimburse the creative people who wrote and performed this music.

Of course, many songs are owned not by the artists who wrote them, but by large corporations. Either way, the money is owed fair and square.

As one might expect, podcasting can throw a wrench into the royalty situation when it comes to music. Are the many mom-and-pop operations creating amateur podcasts still responsible for paying royalties for the music they may use in the background during their shows? If the podcast contains licensable music, the answer is YES.

Two main bodies manage royalty collection for music catalogs: ASCAP and BMI. ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) is a performing-arts organization that acts as a collector and advocate for those artists associated with it. BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.) is similar to ASCAP in that it represents artists with regard to the collection of royalties for music that is played in public. Surprisingly, despite the sudden appearance and rapid growth of podcasting, both of these organizations have agreements that more or less cover the basics for podcasters.

ASCAP has a contract known as the ASCAP Experimental License Agreement for Internet Sites & Services, Release 5.0. This license costs $288 up front and includes fairly complex fee calculations. This contract is offered on a per-year basis, and the fee is not pro-rated, so if you pay $288 on December 20, 2005, you will have to pay $288 again on January 1, 2006. This is a very dynamic area, however, and any of the above details could change even by the time you read this book. To have a look at ASCAP's license, check out

BMI has a similar license that appears to be slightly easier to negotiate. The up-front cost of this license is $283, and of course, there are also fee structures, depending on how music is used in the podcasts. To see BMI's license, go to

Bob Goyetche, of "The Bob and AJ Show" fame, says that when it comes to playing music in his show, the team ultimately looked at two alternatives:

  • "We turned to indie musicians. We get specific permission from songwriters and performers, which gives us permission to play their tunes."
  • "The background music we use is Creative Common–licensed music from open-source music sites. Usually, the stipulation is that as long as we give attribution, we can use the material."

It is clear that if you want to create a podcast that includes popular music, and you are interested in proceeding in a legal fashion, you will have to obtain licenses from these organizations and follow them to the letter. That said, it is unclear how many podcasters are currently following these rules. It probably won't surprise anyone if these rules change in the coming months or years. Either way, it is important to stay up to date on this issue if you are an active podcaster.

Creative Commons

Created in 2001 by Lawrence Lessig, Creative Commons (; Figure 3.35 ) is a not-for-profit organization with the goal of expanding the amount of creative work available for others to build upon and share legally. Creative Commons licenses were originally designed for the United States, but now, Creative Commons licenses can be obtained in 29 countries.


Figure 3.35 Creative Commons is an excellent place to find music for your podcasts.

This is a new system, built within current copyright law, that allows an individual to share his or her creations with others and to use music, images, and text online that has been identified as having a Creative Commons license. To learn more about the history of Creative Commons, visit

Several of the podcasters I interviewed for this book mentioned Creative Commons as a source for the music they use in their podcasts. If you want to include music in your podcasts, I suggest that you visit the Creative Commons Web site and learn more about what is available. As an artist, you can choose one of several licenses, including:

  • Attribution. You let others copy, display, perform, and distribute your copyrighted work (and derivative works based upon it), but only if they give you credit.
  • Noncommercial. You let others copy, display, perform, and distribute your work, but only for noncommercial purposes.
  • No Derivative Works. You let others copy, display, perform, and distribute only verbatim copies of your work. There can be no derivative works based upon your work.
  • Share Alike. You allow others to distribute derivative works only under a license that is identical to the license that governs your own work.

The Creative Commons Web site can point you to several excellent sites that contain Creative Commons–licensed sound files and music. One such site is Opsound ( , shown in Figure 3.36 . This site is an excellent source of music that you can use in your podcasts provided that you follow the rules of each license. If the idea of reading the license for each song gets under your skin, remember that licensing commercial music is very expensive and requires far more paperwork.


Figure 3.36 Opsound is a great site for Creative Commons–licensed music.

Peachpit Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from Peachpit and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about Peachpit products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites; develop new products and services; conduct educational research; and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by Adobe Press. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive:

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020