Digital Radio Fail

Digital radio is upon us and while I don’t have a receiver yet I do indeed want to get one. Anyway, when all of the different off-shoot stations were announced I heard that one of them, called Radar Radio was going to be made up of user submitted content. I at first jumped for joy as it is such a great idea and an awesome way for bands to get their music listed and heard on the radio.

So things start spinning through my head about this awesome new station that bands will be able to submit their music to and build their fan buzz around getting it played on there and hopefully being a great way to get some exposure.

A utopian radio station full of awesome non-commercially driven SHIT where bands can be among their other independent brothers and sisters who are out fighting for exposure without the piles of money being shoved down the throats of the station to make sure it’s played over and over and over.

So I head over to the Radar Radio website with thoughts of utilising this fantastic tool in my work with Arcane…my first step as always for all things music related (which should be for every band) is the Terms and Conditions.

GADZOOKS!

Allow me to quote from said Terms and Conditions –

5. THE SERVICE

(a) The Website and the Service may contain material or content; including, but not
limited to, Recordings, uploaded, posted, emailed or otherwise electronically
transmitted (Posted) by users of the Website, including you (User Content). When you
post material on our Website, you grant Austereo an irrevocable, non-exclusive,
royalty free licence:

(i) to access or examine any User Content;
(ii) to use and reproduce the User Content and to communicate the User
Content to the public, including but not limited to, on and in connection with
any of our radio stations including any digital radio station established by us,
on the Website or any other website operated by us and through any wireless
service (including any service which enables material to be accessed on a
mobile telephone or similar device or by podcast (whether such service is now
known or hereafter developed)); and
(iii) at our discretion, to move, remove or disable access to User Content which
we consider, in our sole opinion, to breach any law or to be otherwise
unacceptable.

(b) To the extent permitted by applicable law, you unconditionally and irrevocably
waive all moral rights you hold in the User Content in favour of us and our successors
and assigns and you unconditionally and irrevocably consent to all or any acts or
omissions by us, or any person authorised by us, in relation to User Content Posted by
you which may infringe any moral rights you hold; including, but not limited to, your
right:

(i) to be identified as the author of any User Content;
(ii) to take action against any false attribution; and
(iii) to object to derogatory treatment of your User Content.

OK so let me now break that down into plain English –

Part 5. The Service – Part a) is basically saying you give them permission to air your music on the station or on any sort of technology that lets people listen to the music, even shit that isn’t invented yet.  You also give them this permission without being able to retract it, so basically forever.  Also, you’re letting them do it all royalty free.  Which means you can kiss APRA payments goodbye from any airplay it gets on the station.  That whole clause to me sounds like a way for them to get out of paying for massive licenses.  Anyway, while not all THAT horrible, it still sucks if you’re not going to get any royalties.

On to b) which is to me actually the more horrific of clauses.  You’re agreeing to give up all of your moral rights in the music to them.  The points i, ii and iii are seriously SHIT for bands, especially ones trying to build themselves a name.

Let’s look at them and some worst case scenarios shall we?

i) To be identified as the author.Hey so they played our song but didn’t say who we are and it’s not listed on the playlist“. It’s all good having your music played on the radio, but what’s the point if they never actually have to say who’s playing it?

ii) To take action against any false attribution.Oh wait they did play my music, they talked about how awesome it was, but they said it was some other band“.  Oh well, too bad you signed away your right to be identified as the author.

iii) To object to derogatory treatment of your User Content.Ok so they played our music and said it was us but then went on to trash the shit out of it, and then they decided to use it as the theme song for their new segment “The Shittest AIDS Infected Music In The World Today“.  We really don’t agree with our music being used in that way.  I mean sure they don’t like it, but they’re just havin’ a laff”.  Woops, you signed all of your moral rights away.

So yeah a great idea, a radio station that bands can submit their music to easilly and potentially get some airplay and get their name out there.  But in reality, is it worth signing so much of your fundimental rights away to the station?

Pretty much every Terms and Conditions out there has some clause that could pretty harshly fuck a band over and I always wonder how many bands actually read the fine print and know what it’s actually saying.

Be vigilant! Make sure you always read what you’re actually agreeing to when you submit your music to these sort of things as you could be giving them permission to do a lot more than you’d know or like them to do.

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