Recorded music podcasts from the UK? No.

Is it truly impossible to send out a British-made podcast where recorded music is played?

It would seem so. Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL), who licence nearly all record labels’ recorded music for public performance, do not offer an Internet-only licence to include recorded music in on-line podcasts. Broadcasts are fine, where you can’t skip forward in a show: but not podcasts that can be manipulated on demand.

If something on-line is merely replicating an already broadcast radio programme, it’s fine. But Internet-only radio from the UK, using music on most record labels, is still not allowed.

Isn’t that a curious anomaly? The Performing Right Society, and the Mechanical Copyright Protection Society, who licence the music, are fine about it. But the record labels, represented by PPL are not.

One of the greatest powers of radio is to introduce music that is new to an audience, by allowing an expert curator to showcase records they have chosen. John Peel, late of BBC Radio 1 is an example that comes immediately to mind; likewise Lucie Skeaping or Andrew MacGregor, both of BBC Radio 3. But with an increasing number of young people turning exclusively to on-line sources, why can’t the Internet be allowed to broaden the range of curators (presenters, if you like) to include those without current BBC or independent radio contracts?

A discussion about this is going on right now, on the “Radio Today” website. Perhaps PPL will join in? Or maybe I’ll just phone them for a chat and report back?