Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Internet Radio Survival Update

Some people deny Global Warming. The rest of us know that it is a real and dangerous phenomenon that needs to be dealt with it.

Some people (the RIAA and it's front groups) deny that exposing music via airplay has promotional value. The rest if us know that these denials are lies, and these people prove daily that they are lying by continuing to spend millions promoting music to radio. Here's a new strategy that counters the BS denials. I like a lot:
A bipartisan resolution recognizing the promotional value of free radio airplay was introduced last week in the U.S. House of Representatives. The resolution was introduced by Reps. GENE GREEN (D-TX) and MIKE CONAWAY (R-TX) and cosponsored by 51 additional members of Congress.

"Congress should not impose any new performance fee, tax, royalty, or other charge relating to the public performance of sound recordings on a local radio station for broadcasting sound recordings over-the-air, or on any business for such public performance of sound recordings," read House Concurrent Resolution 244.

Commenting on the resolution's introduction, NAB EVPO DENNIS WHARTON said, "NAB salutes Reps. GREEN and CONAWAY and their House colleagues for formally recognizing radio airplay's enormous value to both record labels and recording artists. The undeniable fact is that radio airplay is a musician's greatest promotional tool and generates millions of dollars in revenue annually for RIAA-member companies and performers."
It's nice having the NAB on our side.

Meanwhile SoundExchange, the front group for the RIAA (which is a front group for the major record labels) recently proposed that cable radio pay a copyright royalty fee of less than 7.5% of their revenue. SoundExchange strongly opposes the Internet Radio Equality Act, which calls for almost exactly the same copyright royalty rate for internet radio. Why the discrepancy?

Webcasters would jump at a deal like this, yet it is not being offered to us. SoundExchange continues to insist that it is negotiating in good faith. It's kinda like the Bush administration feigning disapproval of the FEMA tactic of holding a fake news conference.

From SaveNetRadio.org:
The SaveNetRadio Campaign today expressed surprise and hope upon learning that SoundExchange has formally proposed that cable radio services pay royalties between 7.25% and 7.5% of their revenue to sound recording copyright owners and recording artists. This proposed rate, effective from 2008 to 2012, is virtually identical to rates endorsed by more
than 140 cosponsors of the Internet Radio Equality Act, but rejected by SoundExchange and the Recording Industry Association of America.

"Perhaps this agreement means that SoundExchange agrees that 7.5% of revenue is a fair rate; they just prefer that the rate not be legislated," Jake Ward, a spokesperson for the SaveNetRadio campaign said. "The Internet radio industry has never asked for more than royalty parity and an opportunity to grow their businesses to the benefit of artists, consumers, and even record labels. Perhaps SoundExchange's agreement that cable radio should pay 7.5% of revenue is a precursor to an equivalent offer for Internet radio services. It is hard to imagine that recording industry interests would continue to reject Congressional legislation and webcasters' efforts to set fair royalty rates while simultaneously agreeing to the same standard for cable radio services."

The Internet Radio Equality Act -- H.R. 2060 and S. 1353 -- would vacate the March 2nd Copyright Royalty Board's decision and set a 2006-2010 royalty rate at a competitive level with royalties paid by cable and satellite radio services (7.5% of revenue.) The bill would also change the royalty rate-setting standard used in royalty arbitrations, so that the standard applied to webcasters would align with that applied to cable and satellite radio.
Wouldn't it be something if the little guys finally forced a little fairness out of the big guys?

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