June 16, 2005 12:45 PM PDT
Hopes for legal music podcasts rise
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handful of music podcasters have worked to persuade labels that they're not in the business of distributing free music. They're akin to radio, and are happy to look for ways to assuage labels' fears, he said.
Pathway to a podcasting license
A few potential compromises have come up as Ibbott and others have talked to labels.
If the most important part is to ensure that the songs they broadcast aren't used as substitutes for purchased music, podcasters could agree to use a format that doesn't provide CD-quality music, such as 128-kilobyte-per-second MP3s, Ibbott said. They could also wrap their podcasts in some kind of copy protection as a condition of using music legally.
In return, he said, labels might create a podcasting license similar to that for Webcasters, which would allow digital DJs the right to use music as long as they pay an appropriate royalty fee.
For their part, the labels aren't saying much yet. One top label source said discussions are going on, but that it would not yet be accurate to say that the industry is making a concerted effort to develop a plan.
"One of the things we're working on is trying to figure out what the right podcasting business model is, and if there are ways to protect the content once it's distributed," said another major label record executive, who asked to remain anonymous.
The podcasting thaw isn't limited to recording labels. Music publishers say they're also looking for a way to provide noncommercial podcasters with an affordable, practical way to pay their licenses.
But if that's what it takes to bring music podcasting into the legal sunlight, Ibbott said he's willing to make the sacrifice.
"If that's the case, so be it. I'd gladly do it," Ibbott said. "My goal is 100 percent to do this legally. I'm not out to be the next rebel."
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