Music streaming rates rise in the US

April 2007

Internet, radio, labels

The United States Copyright Royalty Board has made public its increased royalty rates for sound recordings due to artists and labels for tracks used on streaming radio services. The monies will be administered by the collection agency Sound Exchange. Small Internet broadcasters will no longer be eligible for discounted fees (previously 12% of revenues). The new rate of 0.08 cents per track/per play will be retrospective to 2006 and will increase steadily, effectively doubling by 2010 to 0.019 cents. Streaming media companies and online radio stations also have to pay music publishing royalties. Small stations state they will either have to cut back on the music they play or risk going out of business. The Copyright Royalty Board was set up in 2004 to determine royalty rates for webcasters. Some 72M people in the US listen to online radio in the US each month – far ahead of the 14M satellite radio subscribers currently. There are also concerns that a rates rise will also negatively affect satellite broadcasters. They have a different royalty payment system in place with labels currently, but this too is up for renegotiation. radio7mar07,1,6444381.story?track=rss&ctrack=1&cset=true

For the actual rates see

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However, all is not well in the world of satellite radio either – The National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA) has filed a lawsuit against XM Satellite Radio for refusing to acknowledge the rights of or pay compensation to the music publishers and songwriters who own songs being distributed through XM’s digital download service. The publishers’ suit, filed earlier in federal court in New York, alleges that XM engages in massive copyright infringement through its illegal subscription digital music download service known as “XM + MP3.”  The suit was filed after months of discussions between NMPA and XM regarding the satellite radio company’s obligation to compensate creators fairly for the songs it distributes. The music publishers allege in the lawsuit that XM operates an unlawful download service that delivers perfect digital copies of copyrighted recordings to its subscribers. The XM + MP3 service allows users to record and store individual songs on portable music players at the touch of a button, creating extensive permanent libraries for so long as the user remains an XM subscriber. The service also allows subscribers to create personal playlists. XM. e National Music Publishers’ Association is a trade association representing more than 600 American music publishers.

In Canada the Canadian Copyright Board on Friday approved a tariff for online music services.

The federal agency ruled that in the case of permanent downloads, 7.9 per cent of the price of a song must go back to copyright holders. For downloads that require a web subscription, and for on-demand streaming music, the rates are 5.9 and 4.6 per cent of the cost of a month’s subscription, respectively. The move ends two years of debate over what qualifies as fair compensation. In 2004, the Canadian Musical Reproduction Rights Agency and the Societe du droit de reproduction des auteurs, two groups representing copyright owners, asked the board to look into what would be fair compensation for the legal, online copying of music.

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