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FAQ

Getting Started 

Signing Up 

Paid Memberships

Searching and Listening 

Encoding and Uploading Audio 

Creating Pieces 

Auditioning, Buying and Downloading 

Opening Streaming, Sharing, and Embedding Pieces

Communication and Promotion

Getting Royalties 


Getting Started

What is PRX? 

Public Radio Exchange (PRX) is an online marketplace for distribution, review, and licensing of public radio programming. PRX is also a growing social network and community of listeners, producers, and stations collaborating to reshape public radio.

How does PRX work? 

Producers of public radio content upload their work to PRX, and stations and other groups can purchase (license) and download this content directly from the site. The result is an extensive, technology-driven public radio catalog — no CD-mailing to stations required. And, everyone who loves public radio can sign up, listen, and become part of the PRX community.

Is PRX for public radio stations only? 

PRX welcomes listeners, stations, producers and networks: just sign up for an account. Listeners can stream any piece for free. Producers can post pieces for stations and stations and networks can post their work and license pieces for broadcast.

In addition, PRX welcomes any public, noncommercial community, college, low power FM station — and international broadcasters, too. We consider other acquirers, such as internet stations, commercial radio, podcasters, and libraries on a case-by-case basis.

How much does joining PRX cost? 

Signing up as an individual to listen to streaming audio on PRX is free.

If you are a producer or part of a group, and you would like to upload your pieces to sell on PRX, we have free accounts and paid memberships that start at $50 per year.

If you are with a station and would like to buy and/or sell pieces on PRX, we have a one-year free trial membership and paid memberships based on station revenue and how much content you want to buy.

If you are with a non-station entity like a podcast or an internet radio station and you would like to buy pieces, becoming an outside purchaser could be right for you.


Signing Up

Who needs a PRX account? 

Anyone who would like to listen to pieces on PRX needs to sign up for a free account. Individual producers and producer groups who would like to post their work on PRX need accounts, too. And, stations that would like to license content from PRX need accounts, and each person at the station who wants access to the station account needs his/her individual account.

How do I sign up? 

Click "Sign Up" at the top of the screen, fill out the fields, pick a username and a password you'll remember (if you forget, we can remind you) and be sure to enter a valid email address.

Then we send you a confirmation email — it's how we keep spammers off PRX. Plus, we need to have an email address in order to communicate with you (if you post pieces on PRX, we need a secure way to let you know when it gets licensed, etc.). Follow the link in the email, sign in, and start listening.

I signed up hours ago, but I never received a confirmation email. What next? 

I forgot my password. What now? 

Go here to reset your password or click "Forgot Your Password?" on our home page. We'll send you a new one to the email address you used to set up the account.


Paid Memberships

What's the difference between a free account and a paid membership? 

With a free account you get two hours of audio space for any pieces you want to upload. But, if your pieces are licensed by stations or outside purchasers, you don't make any royalties.

A paid membership gets you unlimited audio space on PRX, plus the glory of earning royalties if your pieces are licensed.

What are the different kinds of membership? 

Individual producer, producer group, and station.

Producers and producer groups upload and sell their work on PRX. Learn more.

Stations can both buy and sell pieces on PRX. Learn more.

How much does a membership cost?  

PRX charges individual producers $50/year and producer groups are charged yearly based on their budget size:

Group Budget Size Membership Cost
Below $49,999    $50
$50,000 - $149,999    $120
$150,000 - $299,999    $150
$300,000 - $449,999    $200
$450,000 - $1 Mil    $500
$1 Mil +    $1,000

Station memberships are based on total station revenue and how many hours of content a station would like to download in a year. Learn more.

What happens when my paid membership expires? 

If you're a producer or part of a producer group: Your membership will revert to a free account, which means your audio storage is limited to two hours and you will not earn royalties for any licensed pieces. You can still log in, search, listen to and comment on any pieces on the site.

If you're with a station: You will not be able to buy anything on PRX or earn any royalties if your pieces are bought by other stations.

I approach commitment with deliberation. Do you have trial memberships? 

Yes! We encourage any public radio station to try us out. Formerly called a "starter" membership, with a free trial membership a station can download two hours of content from PRX and has two hours of upload space for their own content.

If my paid membership expires what happens to my pieces? 

We won't delete your pieces from our site, but you won't receive royalties for any that are purchased by stations or outside purchasers.


Searching and Listening

Can I really listen to everything on PRX for free?! 

We pinch ourselves, too. Yes! All PRX pieces are available as free streaming audio. Just sign up to get started.

To make our audio player work, you will need to have Flash installed (most new-ish computers and laptops have that already). If you try to play the audio and you are prompted to install Flash, just, uh...do it.

How do I search for pieces? 

Type any keyword into the search box at the top of the screen. You can get more specific results by clicking "advanced" next to the search box. Then you can search by keyword, format, topic, tone, license, timeliness, and more.

Can I download pieces for my Ipod or other MP3 player? 

Sorry, at the moment because of copyright and payment reasons only stations and certain other types of paid accounts can download MP3 files of pieces. However, many of our members offer podcasts and we have our own podcast.

Oooh, new audio player! How is this one different?

On 3/20/12, PRX released an HTML5 audio player, replacing our former Flash player.

  • You can now to listen to PRX.org pieces on most mobile devices, including iPhone, iPad, and many Android devices.
  • The new player is on every PRX.org piece page and popup player; plus, any embeddable audio players you embedded in the past are now replaced with this new player, and any future embeds will be the new player.
  • Piece pages should also load faster with the new HTML5 player.

Learn more here.

Will this player really work on my mobile phone?

Yes, the new HTML5 player (see above) works on most mobile devices. However, there are many, many types of phone and tablet operating systems and browsers, especially regarding Android (it’s different versions are found on thousands of different devices). We'd always like to make improvements if possible, so we'd like to keep track of any devices on which the player doesn't play. If you experience this, let us know.

The new player is not playing on my computer's browser. What should I do?

Even though the new player is HTML5, you'll still need the latest version of Flash installed for it to work on your computer's browser: Click here to upgrade or install the newest version of Adobe Flash Player. If you're still having trouble, let us know.

I'm with a station and I still can't find what I'm looking for. Can PRX help? 

Contact us. We know the site inside and out and can help you find the right piece.

I want to click around while listening to pieces. Is there a way I can do that? 

On the right sidebar of each piece page you will see "Launch popup player". Click it to use the popup player and do other things while you listen to a piece.

Or, to listen to a bunch of pieces in a row, create a playlist. You can put pieces in an order that you like and let them play while you do other things, and you can launch a popup player from your playlist.

Playlists are also a great a way for you to share a collection of PRX stuff that you want to recommend. Say you create a playlist called "Great Pieces for My Workday." Then, when you go to a piece you will see the option to add that piece to your playlist. You can create as many playlists as you like.

If you work at a station or you want to assemble a list of pieces just to play all at once, this is a simple method of curating selections and categorizing them.

What happened to my list of favorites from PRX 2.0? 

Don't worry, we saved them for you as a playlist. You can find them under My PRX > Manage your Playlists.


Encoding and Uploading Audio

How do I get my radio pieces onto PRX? 

Everyone on PRX, even unpaid account holders, has two free hours of audio space. Just check out our instructions and read our info about paid producer memberships first.

Does it cost anything to upload audio and post pieces on PRX? 

You can post up to two hours of pieces on PRX for free, but you will not earn any royalties if those pieces are licensed. To earn royalties if your pieces are licensed and to get unlimited audio storage space, you'll need to pay for a yearly membership.

What format must my audio be in? 

Your audio must be an MP2 file to get onto PRX. MP2s are the high-quality industry standard for public radio. We recommend you use the free PRX Encoder application to convert your audio. If you use another method to encode your audio, the upload process might not work. Learn more.

We validate for the same encoding as PRSS ContentDepot:

File Format: MP2 (MPEG1, Layer II)
Mode: mono or stereo
Bit Rate: 128 kbps for mono or 256 kbps for stereo
Sampling Rate: 44.1 KHz
Word Length: 16 bit
Frame Padding: must be turned off
ID3 (Audio) Tags: must be turned off

The Encoder doesn't work on Mac OS 10.7 Lion. What to do?

We've created a converter you can use in the meantime before we update our Encoder: Converter for Lion users.

I have an MP3 file. Can I convert that into an MP2? 

You can, but we don't recommend that unless it's your only option. If it is your only option, you'll need to convert it to WAV or AIFF first in your audio editing software or in iTunes, then convert the WAV or AIFF into MP2 using our Encoder.

We highly, highly recommend that you start out by using an uncompressed format like AIFF or WAV, not a compressed format like MP3. (For an explanation on the difference, see compressed versus uncompressed.) Regardless, the take-home point is that when a piece of audio is compressed, it loses a lot of sound quality. It doesn't matter if it's converted back into a WAV or AIFF; it will still sound just as bad.

When I upload my audio using the Uploader, is it immediately public? 

Nope. You must attach it to a piece.

Can I upload as much audio as I want? 

Yes, if you have a paid membership. If you have an unpaid account, you have two hours of audio space.

Do I need to send you my audio before I upload it so that you can approve it for PRX? 

Nope! Just make sure you follow our Uploading Policy.

There's an "error processing" symbol () on my audio file. What now?

Don't remove your audio file. Let us know about the error message, and we'll restart the processing. When you let us know, send us your username and the web address of the piece.


Creating Pieces 

I've uploaded my audio using the Uploader. Why isn't it listed as a piece? 

If you send your audio to our site using the Uploader application, the next step is to go to My PRX to create a piece and attach the audio to it. A piece is your audio as a page on our site, plus all the information associated with it: title, producers, tones, topics, price, licensing agreement, etc. Once you are finished filling out all the info, you can publish it for the world to see.

What rights am I granting to PRX? 

We are non-exclusive, so you are still welcome to distribute your work elsewhere. For all our terms and rules, please read our Uploading Policy and User Agreement.

Who can buy my pieces? 

Public and non-commercial radio stations in the United States remain the primary users of pieces on PRX, but we have started adding national shows, podcasts, Internet radio, and other organizations who come to PRX and want access to the wonderful work you have put on the site. We call these non-station distributors outside purchasers.

All stations on PRX can license your pieces, but we understand some producers may not want to sell to outside purchasers. You can adjust all your purchaser options when you create a piece.

What types/formats of pieces are stations looking for? 

Stations are looking for all sorts of content of all types and formats. But we do know what types and formats are most popular: one-hour programs and programs that fit easily into Morning Edition and other network clock slots. Music and music-related programs are the most licensed types of programs. Check out more info and tips.

Should I break my piece into multiple segments? 

If you have a program that is a half-hour, one hour or longer, the short answer is yes. This makes it easier for stations to input your show into station automation systems. BUT, we also urge you, if you have time, to post a non-segmented version that plays straight through for those stations that don't have automation system. Take a look at the network clocks for some ideas on how to segment longer programs.

How is the price of my piece determined? 

The price of a piece is determined by its length; longer pieces carry higher PRX point prices than short ones. But all pieces are based on a default price of $.50/minute. The price is what a station pays in points.

You have three options when choosing the price of your piece:

  1. Accept the default price of $.50/minute
  2. Double your price to twice the default rate
  3. Triple your price to triple the default rate

Can I give my piece away for free? 

Make your piece "free" by setting the price to zero points. Some producers are funded by grants, for example, that do not allow any kind of income to be made from distributing the piece. If you'd simply rather not receive payment, however, you can always set your piece to the standard rate and donate those points back to PRX.

Who covers the license fees for music? 

Any acquirer of content from PRX - station or otherwise, needs to report any ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, SoundExchange or other performing rights licenses in connection with any broadcasts or other, such as digital, uses. They need to report the music they play, so you have be certain to fill out all the musical works information when you create your pieces on PRX.

NOTE: You may not upload self-contained, complete musical works or excerpts, except if the music is contained in a longer piece. For legal reasons, pieces may contain music as background, transition, or featured (as in an interview with a musician about a song), but you cannot post a stand-alone, complete or excerpted musical work to PRX. For example, you cannot upload The Rolling Stones' "Satisfaction" to PRX, but you can post a program about the Stones that contains all or part of "Satisfaction."

How do I take down a piece that I've published? 

There are two options: unpublishing the piece so that all the information and audio stays on PRX, or deleting the piece entirely.

To unpublish a piece:

  1. Go to My PRX
  2. Click Manage All Pieces
  3. Click the title of the piece you want to make private
  4. Click Preview
  5. Click Make Piece Private

To delete a piece:

  1. Go to My PRX
  2. Click Manage All Pieces
  3. Check the box to the left of the piece you want to delete
  4. Click Delete

NOTE: Deleting a piece will not send your audio back to your dropbox. Deleting a piece removes the audio and the piece information from PRX. Deleting a piece doesn't terminate licensing agreements already in effect with any outside (non-station) purchasers. To terminate these agreements, contact the outside purchaser directly.


Auditioning, Buying and Downloading

I've lost my audio file and need to get it from PRX. Can I download my own audio?

Yes, if you're logged in. From the piece page, click "Edit Piece" on the right sidebar. Then, from the Basics tab of piece edit, scroll down to the piece audio, which is shown as a yellow bar. Right-click the length of the piece audio on the yellow bar. Choose "Save Link As..." to save it to your computer.

Who can buy a piece and how? 

Stations need either a trial or paid station membership. We also consider other purchasers such as podcasts and internet radio on a case-by-case basis.

I'm not with a radio station but I want to buy a piece. How does that work? 

We have a growing list of outside purchasers including podcasts, national shows, internet radio, and more that we consider on a case-by-case basis. Learn more.

We have a paid membership but I don't see the "Buy this piece" link. 

You must be a station admin in order to buy a piece. Your station admins can designate other admins by going to your station profile and clicking Manage Members on the right.

To find out who your station admin is, go to your station profile and scroll down to view the members. Admins will have "(Admin)" next to their name. We can also adjust your admins if you contact us.

How can we preview a piece before we buy it? 

Stations and outside purchasers, in addition to being able to stream audio on any piece, have access to downloadable, audition-only MP3 files. This gives flexibility to station programmers who need downloadable files in order to plan programming away from their computers. Stations are NOT ALLOWED to play MP3 audition files on the air. Doing so would violate the PRX User Agreement and the piece licensing agreement. It would also rob the producer of royalties and would put low-quality audio on your airwaves. Just don't do it.

Can we broadcast the MP3 audition file? 

No. Stations must broadcast the high quality MP2 files available with each piece. The MP3 file and the streaming audio file are for audition purposes only. As part of the User Agreement, you must follow all license terms set up by the producer and only broadcast the MP2.

When we buy a piece, does it download automatically? 

No. When a station buys a piece, it has access to high quality, broadcast-ready MP2 audio file for a year. The station can download it at any point within that year from the piece page and can re-download it if necessary.

Can my station get free pieces off PRX once my station membership expires? 

We have a question about the audio. How do we get in touch with the producer? 

You can contact any member on PRX by going to his or her profile and clicking "Message me."

How can we keep track of the pieces our station has bought on PRX? 

Go to My PRX > Purchased Pieces.

Can we pre-purchase pieces to play at a later date? 

Yes, we encourage you to plan ahead. It's always best to buy pieces early if possible, especially if it is your first time downloading pieces and you think you may need help (our help desk-ers do sleep). You should also use up your station points before they expire (they're good for a year).


Opening Streaming, Sharing, and Embedding Pieces

What are the sharing features on PRX?

Any piece on PRX can be shared on Facebook, Twitter, websites, and more. You'll see options at the top of the piece. Learn how to share here.

If the producer has allowed open streaming, Facebook will play the full piece (rather than 30 seconds), and an embeddable audio player for websites is also available.

What are the benefits of open streaming?

Producers and stations that publish pieces on PRX can, with one checkbox, do the following:

  • Let visitors to prx.org listen to the full stream of their audio without logging in.
  • Get code for an embeddable audio player that will play the full piece on websites and blogs.
  • Open up Facebook sharing to play the full audio on Facebook.

We strongly encourage allowing open streaming of your pieces, as the exposure will be exponential, and we record listens with the embeddable player in your My PRX statistics.

Does open streaming change how stations license work on PRX?

No, stations still have to license pieces for broadcast, but they may embed any piece on their website that has open streaming.

If I enable open streaming, can I just stream the full audio and embed it, or can everyone?

By opening streaming, you are allowed to stream and embed the full audio, and so are others.

What happens if I don't allow open streaming?

When you don't allow open streaming, visitors to the piece on PRX can't hear more than 30 seconds without logging in, the Facebook player will only play 30 seconds, the embeddable player is not available.

Why doesn't my piece have an embed button?

You'll need to allow open streaming.

Does PRX keep track of listens on the embeddable player and in Facebook?

Yes for embeddable player listens; no for Facebook listens. The embeddable player listens are added to the total listens in your My PRX stats. Additional metrics (and Facebook listens) will be introduced in the future.

Can listeners download my piece if I allow open streaming?

No. Listeners can never download a piece. Only station personnel can license pieces from PRX.

Why can't I put the PRX embeddable player in Facebook?

This is a Facebook limitation — blame Zuckerberg. You'll want to use the Facebook share button, which will give you access to Facebook's player.

The Facebook player only plays 30 seconds of the piece. How can I make it play more?

If you are the piece producer, you need allow open streaming.

If you are a listener, you can only share 30 seconds unless the producer of it has allowed more.

I'm a listener and I want to embed this piece, but there isn't an embed button. Why?

The producer has not allowed open streaming. You can still share using the other visible options.

Feel free to write to the producer(s) to tell them you love their piece ask them to open their stream! When you're on a piece page, you will see "From" and the producer's name below the title. Click the envelope button () right next to the name to send a message, and send them a link to the instructions.

What if I decide to disable open streaming on a piece I previously allowed?

Old embeds will become grayed out, and old Facebook posts will revert to playing only 30 seconds.

When I allow open streaming, should I be worried about music licensing and copyright issues?

Producers should not need to secure additional licenses to allow their pieces to be streamed, embedded, and shared on third party websites through PRX's sharing options. Websites embedding pieces from PRX may need licenses to permit performance of musical works if not otherwise permitted (e.g. by agreement or under fair use).

Why won't the embeddable player show up on my Wordpress.com blog?

While our embeddable player does work in self-hosted Wordpress.org blogs, it does not work in blogs hosted by Wordpress.com (it does work in other free blog hosting sites such as Google's Blogger). Let Wordpress know you'd like Wordpress.com to accept PRX's embeddable player.


Communication and Promotion

Will stations see that I've created a new piece on PRX? 

All new pieces appear on our home page after they are published and on our pieces page. But, you can't be sure that at that moment the right station staff member will be looking and see it. You should still target specific stations and check out more tips for bringing attention to your pieces.

How do I let a station know I have a piece up on PRX?

From a station's PRX profile (which you can find by searching for the station's call letters or name), click "Contact [station call letters]" on the right.

Make it easy for a station to understand why you are contacting them about a piece. For example, if there's a music festival going on in their town, and you interviewed one of the bands in that festival, be sure to briefly explain the connection. And, send them a direct link to the piece on PRX!

Can I message all of the stations on PRX about my pieces?

Sorry, but we can't allow mass-messagings of all the PRX stations. With as many members and pieces we have, you can see how that might get out of hand. But, you can target and contact specific stations through PRX messaging.

How do I get my piece featured on the PRX home page or in the Editors' Picks? 

All newly posted pieces end up automatically on the home page in the list of New Pieces. This list changes all day every day as new pieces are added to PRX.

Then there is the manual way you end up on the home page. PRX site editors make an editorial decision about what might capture the attention of stations; we see your piece appear and listen to it and say "Wow, that should be on the home page! I bet a station would find that interesting." We look for items and subjects that are timely and relevant for listeners and stations, demonstrate superior craft or uniqueness, or coordinate with national marketing efforts.

How does one become a PRX featured/signature program like The Moth or Snap Judgment? 

PRX is an open, non-exclusive distribution platform, but we also have an active editorial and distribution relationship with various producers and stations who use PRX. We see this approach as a three-level pyramid:

  • A broad base of programs offered through PRX's open marketplace (PRX.org);
  • A middle tier of curated work that our editorial team hand picks and features on the site, via social media, and promotes to stations;
  • A small roster of signature programs that PRX helps actively develop and offer to public radio.

On the first tier we are constantly working to improve the ways that producers can increase exposure to their work, including our search engine and our automated recommendations ("stations who bought X also bought Y").

For the second tier, we comb the catalog every day to find the best, most relevant, most interesting pieces to feature. In the course of a year we showcase hundreds of pieces and producers, and encourage you to alert us to anything you think deserves featuring. Here is more about how to get featured on PRX: How We Pick the Editors' Picks and what to do after you publish a piece.

Signature programs are exclusive to PRX and represent partnerships with producers that reflect both an editorial vision for groundbreaking content and a business plan for sustaining multiple years of development. PRX only takes on a handful of signature programs at a time, and we assess the opportunities on a case-by-case basis. We do not have an open call for proposals, but we are constantly listening and watching what producers upload to PRX. While we welcome inquiries and even unsolicited pitches, we cannot respond in detail to each one. If you are looking for a guide, the programs that catch our attention are ones that have ALL of these components:

  • original voice, style and expression
  • a demonstrated commitment to diversity
  • addresses a gap/need in the current national program marketplace, with a path to reaching/attracting new audiences
  • an existing commitment to social media and multiplatform distribution
  • a strong and experienced business and management capacity
  • a collaborative and motivated team
  • a track record of successful fundraising and/or revenue generation
  • and then there is the undefinable "IT" — the magic that says a show or a program or the talent behind it has the spark.

Can/should I put PRX in my program's credits/IDs? If so, what are the guidelines? 

PRX does not require any credit, ID or mention in pieces that are uploaded for distribution to PRX, other than the handful of signature programs that we offer exclusively or those rare instances when we provide some sort of funding or other support. You are welcome to mention or credit PRX in your piece, but we ask that you use the phrase "available on PRX" (not "distributed by", "presented by" or "from PRX"). A better option in many cases is to request or require in your piece's license terms that stations read a local host "back announce" with credits.

How can I spread the word about my pieces outside PRX?

Take a look at our Promoting Your Work to the Outside World page, which details targeting your message to Facebook, Twitter, blogs and more.

What are PRX contacts?

Contacts are like PRX's version of "friending" — they allow you to keep track of who you know on PRX. Plus, some PRX members keep their contact info, work experience, etc. private and visible only to their contacts. To add a contact, go to his or her PRX profile and click "Ask me to become your contact" on the right.


Getting Royalties

What's a royalty? 

That's when we pay you for the pieces you've sold to stations and outside purchasers on PRX. You must be a paid PRX member in order to receive royalties.

What will I make in royalties? 

It depends which station bought your piece. PRX guarantees a royalty rate of at least $.10 per point ($.50/minute).

If you or your station sells a program through PRX to a station with a substantial budget, PRX will pay you at a higher royalty rate. Sell to a more modest station and your royalty rate will be smaller, but never below $.50/minute.

Does PRX take a cut out of royalties? 

No. We take a percentage of station membership fees and calculate the rest into the royalty rate we pay to producers and stations whose work is purchased on PRX.

Do I get royalties if I have a free account? 

No. Only paid members will be credited for pieces they sell on PRX.

Do I get royalties if my paid membership has expired? 

No. Only current paid members can receive royalties.

When do I get my royalty checks? 

PRX pays royalties via check after the end of each calendar quarter — March 31, June 30, Sept. 30 and Dec. 31.