Web Radio Down To The Wire
July 13, 2007

With this Sunday, July 15 as the deadline for the new CRB webcaster royalty rates to kick in, it appears that Internet broadcasters won't receive a multi-million dollar bill right away. The Radio and Internet Newsletter (RAIN) reports that SoundExchange Executive Director John Simson told the House Commerce Committee that small and non-comm webcasters will be able to continue streaming next week. Legal action won't be taken, as long as "good faith negotiations" are still going on between both sides.

Simson further explained to RAIN, "For the people who want to comply with the law and are in bona fide negotiations with us, we don't want those people to be intimidated. And we don't want them to stop streaming." He added, "That's just so long as they're continuing to pay under the license they had."

Simson also revealed that at yesterday's House Commerce Committee meeting, "SoundExchange offered to accept DiMA's suggestion of a cap on the 'minimum fees' of $50,000 per service - that's $500 per channel up to a maximum of 100 channels." However, he added the conditions that "First, that they become much more complaint in their reporting obligations - only 3 of the top 20 webcasters are in perfect compliance, and only 11 have even tried - and we need to move to census as soon as we can. And we asked for their help with stream ripping, to work on a technologically-feasible solution."

Additionally, Wired reports that yesterday's negotiations have resulted in a temporary deal to waive the minimum $6,000 per channel charge. "It was getting pretty close," said Tim Westergreen, founder of Pandora, told Wired. "I always had underlying optimism that sanity was going to prevail, but I was beginning to wonder."

NPR VP for Communications Andi Sporkin also confirms that there have been ongoing meetings between the sides. "NPR and CPB had a productive meeting today with SoundExchange. We reached agreement on some elements that will lead to resolution, and the next steps for those elements. We are waiting to hear from SoundExchange how today's meeting will impact the July 15 deadline."

Additionally, that a bill was proposed in the House late Thursday, giving another 60 days for Webcasters, extending the deadline from July to September. Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-NY) and Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH) introduced the bill to delay the July 15 deadline, though it is doubtful the bill will be passed in time.

Meanwhile, Bridge Ratings has released a new study following up on their previous research on the recent Internet radio "Day of Silence." In the newest data, 78 percent of Web radio listeners said that if their favorite station went dark, they would find another station to listen to. Just 12 percent said they would stop listening to Internet radio altogether.

When asked, "How likely would you be to contact your Congressmen to ask them to intervene to find a solution that would bring your favorite Internet radio station(s) back?," over 70 percent were very or somewhat likely to.




 
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Nicki Farag,
SVP of Promotion,
Def Jam Recordings

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