Most Internet only radio station’s cover themselves by paying for what’s known as a “statutory License”. It covers their station and allows them to play any type of music.
Radio broadcasts online are defined as “non-interactive”, meaning they fall under the statutory license which covers pre-programmed shows that listeners cannot skip or select their own music. To obtain a statutory licence you need to contact Sound Exchange:
Most licensee’s like this are paid on a yearly basis and can vary in price depending on the country you are broadcasting from and the countries you will be broadcasting to. In some instances if licenses covering particular countries aren’t in your price range then you can block access from listeners by using “geo-blocking“
SHOUTcast radio manager allows you to block your stream from countries you select. Listeners from geo blocked countries won’t be able to tune in.
The performance complement (which limits the amount of times a service may transmit sound recordings from a specific artist or album during a specific period of time) is one qualification to which all webcasters must adhere in order to be eligible under the statutory license. The performance complement may only be violated if the service has received specific waivers from the owner of the sound recording copyright, and unintended violation of these limitations (if corrected) will not cause a service to be ineligible for statutory licensing. The limitations are, specifically:
No more than 4 tracks by the same featured artist (or from a compilation album) may be transmitted to the same listener within a 3-hour period (and no more than 3 of those tracks may be transmitted consecutively).
No more than 3 tracks from the same album may be transmitted to the same listener within a 3-hour period (and no more than 2 of those tracks may be transmitted consecutively).
Besides contacting Sound Exchange, you also need to contact the different PROs (performance right organizations) for fulfil performance copyrights listed below:
- ASCAP (US)
- BMI (US)
- SESAC (US)
- GLOBAL MUSIC RIGHTS (US)
- SOCAN (Canada)
- PRS (UK)
- SACEM (France)
- SABAM (Belgium)
- GEMA (Germany)