Music Licensing

Music licensing fees are a necessary operating expense overlooked by many low power groups.   It would be impossible for song writers and performers to individually collect royalty and copyright payments from broadcasters and others using music.  This problem has been solved by the three major music licensing organizations: the American Society of Composers, Artists, and Composers; Broadcast Music Incorporated; and the Society European Composers, Artists, Publisher collectively represent the majority of professional musicians in the United States.  Blanket annual license fees solve the time consuming job of tracking and reporting each individual song placed.  

Current LPFM Rates  (about $900)

ASCAP - One Lincoln Plaza, NY 10023
800 99ASCAP   Fax: 212 621-6646

– 10 Music Square East; Nashville, TN 37203-4399
800 258-5813 or 615 401-2000

– 55 Music Square East; Nashville, TN 37203    
800 826-9996  

As soon as you sign-on your station, have each organization send you their application forms.  Concentrate on the portion related to blanket fees for LPFM stations.  (Annual fees for major market commercial stations are greater than the cost for all equipment for your  station!)  Payment of the annual fee is pro rated based on the number of months left in the year at the time.

Radio stations get music from many sources – free CDs and tapes from famous and unknown performers.  Normally the artist wants air play, not a check from you!  You might buy music at a store, download from the Internet, or people might give the station music from their personal collection.  Always check the music label to see if it is licensed or check the artist databases from the Big Three, updated weekly.  Any time you use unlicensed music it is wise to contact the artist.  If your station has a web site (it should) you can offer to give their contact information on your site and a hyperlink to their site.  On the other hand, if someone pays you (cash or gifts) to play anything, you must acknowledge this with on-air “underwriting announcements” or you could go to jail for violating the Payola Law!  

To Request Current Music Licensing Procedures and Fees contact:
ASCAP: 800 99-ASCAP or  
Regional office contacts may be obtained from
: 800 826-9996 or