Open Music is Bringing a New Sound to Podcasts

Open Music is Bringing a New Sound to Podcasts

Music has been missing on podcasts for a long time.

Sure, it's common to hear a few seconds' worth at a time. But never entire songs.

The reason for this boils down to the way rights to most recorded music are constructed today: that is, a podcaster must pay for the right to include a song in any episode of their podcast. This right is what's known as a license.

The trouble with this is that when you're just trying to talk about a Kendrick Lamar song on your podcast and also play that song for the sake of your listeners, the hoops you have to jump through and the money you have to pay to secure a license for that track is usually not worth the time and trouble. This is why you don't hear many podcasts talk about music and also let you hear the entirety of that music at the same time (a similar challenge also applies to sampling music, but that's another story).

Enter Open Music. At Wavlake, we enable access to all our artists' content on a Value for Value model. This means any website or application can tap into our catalog and present the content to their users without permission or paywalls. The innovation here is that because all of our content is programmed for universal Bitcoin payments via Lightning, all those websites and applications can also allow their users to send micropayments to any artist in our catalog. This way an exchange is made possible in both directions, from artist to listener and back. Hence, Value for Value.

By using this approach, we've effectively eliminated many of the restrictions around using music in different digital contexts while maintaining an artist's ability to be paid for their work.

Clip from Podcasting 2.0 episode feat. Wavlake artist Longy

The folks over at Podcasting 2.0 have jumped head first into this opportunity over the past couple months by featuring Wavlake artists on their show and forwarding payments to those artists while the song is playing. We've watched these songs rocket up the Wavlake Top 40 on the weeks they've been featured, with some receiving hundreds of thousands of sats via listeners on various podcasting apps like Fountain. To emphasize: none of this was organized or planned between Wavlake and the Podcasting 2.0 crew. It was all made possible simply because we are operating on the same open set of standards.

On a technical level, podcasters enabled this feature by using a new tag in their RSS feeds called a valueTimeSplit. The valueTimeSplit acts as a kind of signal to modern podcast players to switch the direction of payments during the indicated time to a new recipient. For example, whatever payment the listener might be sending to the show will now be sent to the creator of the song that's currently playing in the player.

Railway junction image
Photo by Mike van Schoonderwalt from Pexels:

Value for Value flips the existing approach to streaming and subscriptions on its head. With this latest development, we're now flipping the licensing system, too. Instead of a podcaster having to spend a bunch of time and money pre-clearing the rights to content they want to feature on their show, we now have the ability to sidestep that process entirely. V4V podcasters can now build a show around other V4V content and everyone can be fairly compensated for their work.

Adam Curry of Podcasting 2.0 has already started brainstorming a weekly music charts podcast, akin to Casey's Top 40 but built on modern technology. There's also an opportunity here to have more podcasts about music that finally let listeners hear the song the hosts are talking about. This is just the beginning of course. This kind of system opens the door to countless other opportunities in digital content where music can become the centerpiece rather than just a passing reference.

We're working to build a music library of the future to enable exactly these kinds of exciting integrations, all while making sure we support the makers of this music as best as we can. We'd love to help bring your music to this new ecosystem. And if you're a fan of music, there's no better place to support artists. We hope you come and join us.