Time to turn the Podshow discussion more positive with an idea they can execute on, instead of just complaining. One of my many causes is helping podsafe independent artists as much as I can, and this year I’ve been fortunate to be part of two projects to do that – Bum Rush the Charts (yes, still waiting on IODA to get me sales data) and Virtual Hot Wings.

A few friends and I were standing around in CC Chapman’s U Turn Cafe in Second Life the other night and had an idea the other night that I would LOVE for someone at Podshow to steal/use/borrow/make. Podshow is the only company that can legally execute on the idea because they own the PMN.

From the PMN license for artists:

“Broadcast” means Work or an acceptable Derivative Work thereof that is played publicly for the benefit of interested listeners, and particularly when such Work is played by a listener accessing a digital file such as a podcast or streaming media file.

3. You hereby waive the following rights to any and all musical compositions:
a. the right to recover performance royalties under blanket licenses, including the right to collect such royalties individually or through a performance rights society.
b. the right to recover mechanical rights or statutory royalties.
c. the right to recover any royalty that may be applicable for public digital performance of the Work, such as webcasting or podcasting.

From the PMN license for podcasters:

“Broadcast” means Work or an acceptable Derivative Work thereof that is played publicly for the benefit of interested listeners, and particularly when such Work is played by a listener accessing a digital file such as a podcast or streaming media file.

2. Subject to these Terms of Use, You are hereby granted the following world-wide, non-transferable, non-exclusive, royalty-free rights
a. the right, and to access the Music database and reproduce each Work included therein for the purpose of Broadcasting the Work, including the right to use and incorporate each Work into a Collective Work, which may itself be Broadcast.
c. the right to create and distribute webcasts and Podcasts that contain the Works

What am I getting at? The PMN contract overrides the statutory royalty issues that SoundExchange and the RIAA have been nailing Internet radio/streaming radio stations with. By my read, as long as you are a valid, registered podcasting member of the PMN, you can play podsafe music and NOT have to pay SoundExchange/RIAA. If you run an Internet radio station, record all your shows with podsafe music from the PMN and publish them as podcasts as well, and you get to stay in business and not pay SoundExchange a cent.

Pandora’s been making noise about going bye-bye due to increased web radio rates. A lot of other small Internet radio stations are saying the same. The law around SoundExchange is that it is a compulsory license – if you don’t have any other form of licensing, you MUST pay up to the RIAA, whether or not the artist ever sees a dime of the revenue. The law also states that the compulsory license can be overridden with a license directly from the artist, and Podshow has that license with the PMN.

So the idea can go one of three ways:

1. Give/sell/rent/grant Pandora a license to use the music on the PMN under the terms of the PMN license. This effectively ends their liability for royalties to SoundExchange, AND provides a great tool for exposure to podsafe artists.

2. Built an equivalent Pandora-esque system using PMN artists.

3. Alert every single streaming internet radio station in the United States and wherever draconian RIAA-sponsored laws apply that with a registration to the PMN as a broadcaster, they too can eliminate SoundExchange royalties as long as they only play podsafe music from the PMN.

It also almost goes without saying that Podshow should be negotiating playlist time with lots of small, independent internet radio stations for its contracted podcasters, because those podcasts on the air also incur no SoundExchange penalties. Get Accident Hash or In Over Your Head on the hundreds of college radio stations, web stations, etc. so that not only are more people exposed to podcasting, but the Podshow family of podcasters also gets more promotion.

So, to Joe Carpenter, Adam Curry, Jersey Todd, and everyone else involved in music at Podshow who was party to the last discussion about Podshow, here’s an opportunity to single-handedly save internet radio, earn goodwill, promote the PMN, and most of all, help podsafe artists all at once.

This one’s on the house. Go to it, guys!

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