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Project: JunkFM

Agent c September 20, 2012 User blog:Agent c

Project JunkFM


Hello would be fans of JunkFM/JunkRadio/Nukaradio/whatever it ends up being called.

This is just a post to give you an idea of the challenges the project is facing, and to get your feedback on how to move on from here.

Basically, before we can get the station on the air, there are 3 challenges we face:

  • We need to get some hosting for the stream
  • We need to buy music.
  • We need to cover composer rights and performer rights licensing to play music


Stream Hosting

This is the easy bit. VOScast can give us unlimited streams, unlimited bandwidth and unlimited storage for a 32Kbps stream for $US8.95 per month. We can pay more for a higher quality stream, but this gets us on the air with a respectable level of quality.

We can play programmes, use the virtual DJ, playout live, and even play ads with this thing, so it seems to do almost everything we might want it to do. We don't even need a master PC control online as we can just fill it with music and let the virtual DJ handle things.

Buying Music

This isn't a problem really at all. We're looking at 50p a track, and I can get most US and UK hits from the mid 50's onwards. Buying music doesn't give us a license to play it however, it just means we have it.

Music Licensing

I'm based in the UK, so it looks like I have to deal with two companies to license music in copyright for the station, one for each type of licensing:

  • PRS are the Performers Rights society. They collect performance royalties - if you play an Ella Fitzgerald song, they make sure she or her estate, or whoever she sold her performance rights to, gets paid to play the song.
  • PPL are the composers' rights society. They collect royalties for the person who actually wrote the song (or whoever they sold the rights to).

Performers rights last for 70 years from publication in the UK, whereas Author's rights are Life + 50/70. Basically, if we're going to play almost anything recorded after 1942 we're going to need a PRS license, and its obviously even older for PPL.

The lowest level of licensing costs are as follows:

  • PRS will give us 180,000 streams for £118 (plus 20% Tax).
  • PPL want £189.41 (again, plus tax) for 270,000 streams.

Putting that in USD, and including tax, we're at $US600-ish just for the smallest licenses we can get.

One stream is one person listening to 1 song. So if I play 10 songs, and have 10 listeners, I have 100 streams.

On these figures, at our baseline station costs to broadcast what we hoped we can have about 2 listeners on average at any time. This is worked out at an average of 10 copyrighted song plays an hour, and broadcasting 24x7x265.

We can pay more to get more, but even for this small amount we've committed a fair chunck of change... And the prices only go up from here.

Before you ask, Basing in the USA looks more expensive at the base level at least. You need to deal with 3 composer rights groups, and a performer rights group. SoundExchange is the equivalent of PRS in the US, and their smallest license (Microcaster) is $600 (This is about the same level as UK licensing, about 2 listeners per hour if we're 24x7). The compoer rights groups want around 200-300 (although we might be able to scrimp if we examine who has the composer rights we want).

The alternative

The Alternative to get us on the air is to not play copyrighted music. Copyright doesn't last forever, but it does mean a format change. Pretty much everything ever played on Enclave Radio is well out of copyright - the Composer has been dead long enough that the composer rights are public domain, and if a US military band plays it, that band's recording is also public domain.

(Edit: Still looking for full confirmation, but the Defence Attaches Office of the US Embassy in London has said that recordings on the bands websites are public domain. For recordings not on their website we may need to contact the bands directly, but they offer a huge trove to begin with).

We can have Enclave style radio station up and running for less than $10 per month. We can of course add to this with all sorts of content we produce ourselves, and other public domain content like old comedies and dramas.

We can then look at using these smaller licenses to supplement the station as it were, have a few hours each day where we play the latest hits from the 50's 60's and the 2070's.

Old Time Radio shows and Dramas.

Basically, I was hoping to include a fair few radio shows and dramas. Bad news on the drama front, although the performance probably isn't copyright from what I can work out under US or UK law (before the 70's at least, this doesnt seem to exist for broadcasts), there is copyright on the script (as an "Unpublished work"), and its going to last a long time in almost all cases, so unless we can find some willing licensors and/or find some who chose to place the script in public domain, these are out.

However, if there was no script, we should be home free, so we might be able to have a few of the old shows without worry.

Fundraising

We're looking at setting up an IndieGoGo for our fundraising. If you're familiar with Kickstarter, you pretty much know IndieGoGo already - I can't tell the differences between the sites on sight alone - we'll have reward tiers (and I'm taliking to the Strategic Nuclear Moose/Panda about what we'll be able to offer) - and you'll be able to donate through your card as normal.

However there are two advantages that Kickstarter doesnt have - Kickstarter requires a product to be made, so we don't meet their requirements - we're making a service. Additionally, IndieGoGo also allow Paypal payments directly.

So, I have some polls to judge your level of support... And please feel free to leave comments

Enclave Radio?
 
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The poll was created at 20:39 on September 20, 2012, and so far 20 people voted.
Greatest Hits of the 50's, 60's and the 2070's
 
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The poll was created at 20:45 on September 20, 2012, and so far 16 people voted.

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