The Beatles Now Streaming. So What.



Broadcast attorney David Oxenford writes that the press is treating the recent Beatles announcement as a breakthrough, omitting the fact that the Beatles have been available on many streaming services for as long as there have been streaming services, namely on Internet radio. Oxenford says with the Beatles back in the headlines, for some post-Christmas holiday reading, “we thought that we would reprise our 2014 article about the Beatles long absence from on-demand streaming services. So here it is…


  1. So, help me. The last article I read about this issue said that a) online we are not allowed to promote a song coming up, and b) there could be no more than 4 instances of the same artist in a 3-hour period. If a radio station simulcasts on its web stream, do those limitations apply, then, to the on-air “stream?” Is this why we often hear DJs telling us what artists are coming up without an hint as to which song. Seems like consultants have been telling us to do more than just promote upcoming artists. As a listener, I would appreciate knowing that my favorite song from Artist X is coming up instead of one of his dogs! Not allowed?

    I do realize that for some time we have had to be careful about promoting songs/artists coming up to the point that, although our systems are capable of it, we not pre-post a song coming up in the required “now playing” area. It amuses me, however, to see how much of the time a station’s app or web stream will put the song up before it starts, sometimes as much as 10 seconds ahead.

    Even without that, if I were dead set on recording a song from a web stream, all I would really need to do is listen to the station on-air and have the web player and a recorder ready to go (or just leave it running) and there you go. The song is pre-billboarded by its being played on the air, which usually is anywhere from a few to many seconds behind the on-air audio.

    And then on the 4-in-3 maximum, what if someone needs to add a song to a prepared playlist from music software? Do they have to be sure in playing the artist that the play will not violate the 4-in-3 rule? Is there an exception for shows featuring a particular artist, say, once in a week? Say, a syndicated program features artist Joe for an hour and during that time plays 4 of his songs. Then, the station, back in regular programming has Joe scheduled in the first hour after the special (because the music software didn’t know he was being featured). Is that a violation? Or if the syndicator plays 5 or more of Joe’s tunes?

    I’ve been in this business over 40 years but this is the first I have heard of any such limitations for on-line streams simulcasted with an actual radio station.


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