Using music in podcasts are only legal when you have the rights to do so.
Uploading copyrighted material in your podcasts to which you do not have rights can lead to your podcast being removed from our platform, and we may remove the accounts of repeat offenders.
All podcasts syndicated via iTunes, Google and Spotify are routinely scanned for copyrighted material by the large recording agencies, and any use of their copyrighted material in a podcast will be detected.
Using a small portion of a song
There is no minimum duration below which it becomes allowed to use a portion of copyrighted material in a podcast. Even using 5 seconds of a copyrighted works is just as illegal as using the full works.
Acquiring rights to use a song
Acquiring the rights to a use a song typically requires paying the copyright holder for it's use, either as a single payment (royalty-free) or pay per play (royalties).
What about the "fair use" principle ?
"Fair use" implies that the specific use of the song is for commentary, criticism, or parody. Some examples would be reviewing a specific song. Even in these instances, the full song should not be used, but only sections that go along with the commentary. It will still be up to the publisher to defend their claim that their specific use of the copyrighted work fall under "fair use", which can be daunting.
Alternative options for music
While getting rights to use popular music released and owned by the large record labels can be impossible or prohibitively expensive, there are two alternatives for getting music to use in podcasts:
Royalty free music
This is music that has been explicitly released by their creator under a license that does not require you to pay any kind of royalty fee to use them. Some options are:
Low cost licensed music
Another option is using music that can be acquired for a low once-off or monthly cost, which then provides a license to use the music in podcasts and other media. Some available options:
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