Why don't you podcast the weekly program?   Why can't I buy copies of programs?

SHORT ANSWER : It comes down to the legal difference between streams and downloads. We can't get licenses for downloads, only for streams.

LONG ANSWER : Both CDs and downloads (podcasts are downloads) are 'reproductions' under the law and require separate licenses from both record labels and music publishers.

Streams are considered 'performances' under existing 'Public Performance' licenses — a completely different situation. Congress and the Copyright Office have established 'blanket' (all-inclusive) licenses and royalty rates for streams. To operate as a legal streaming service, we report what we stream four times a year and pay at the defined rates to the collection agencies appointed by Congress to do this.

For podcasts or downloads, on a typical show with 12 musical selections we would have to negotiate at least 24 separate licenses; pay substantial cash advances; and if any source said no for any piece, we would be unable to offer that program without removing that track and compromising the show.

Re sales of programs: Even if it were possible to get the necessary licenses, to sell program downloads at anything like current prices would be ridiculously expensive. Using iTunes Music Store download prices as a guide ($9.99 per album), it would cost over $11,000 to buy downloads of all our programs! So not only is streaming legal, it's a much better deal for listeners at $10/month!


When we launched our online service in 2001, streaming was in an evolutionary phase—the technology was changing every few years, and streaming was steadily improving in sound quality and reliability. After Apple created the iTunes Music Store in 2003, downloads became the dominant model for digital music for the next decade, while early streaming music services like Rhapsody continued to evolve, offering "access" rather than ownership to a huge catalog of digital music for a monthly fee. The Swedish streaming music service Spotify launched in Europe in 2008 and in the U.S. in 2011. It grew rapidly thanks to a free ad-supported "tier" and superior technology. By 2016, streaming overtook downloads as the dominant model for music consumption in the U.S. It continues to grow rapidly as users recognize the convenience of not having to manage bulky digital files, and enjoy on-demand access to almost all recorded music across all their devices.

While Hearts of Space was forced into streaming due to the licensing situation described above, it has proven to be the best solution for us and our specialized audience of "spacefans," allowing us to offer our entire archive of programs since 1983 to subscribers at reasonable cost, along with free online access to our weekly show for casual listeners.

When you subscribe to our FULL SERVICE plan, you have anytime access to our entire 34+ years of programming as well as new shows as they are released. To buy downloads of THIS WEEK'S SHOW each week at iTunes prices would cost more than $500 a year—almost five times the cost of the most expensive annual subscription to Hearts of Space!

And critically: when you subscribe, you're supporting Hearts of Space and the artists and labels we feature directly. We now rely on individuals like yourself for over 95% of our costs to continue. We appreciate your support!

Safe journey :: Stephen Hill, Producer