Daily news and commentary
on the key issues involving radio and the Internet
In light of recent news, we're re-focusing the agenda for our annual RAIN Las Vegas
Summit, which will be held all day on Monday, April 16th at the Renaissance Hotel in Las Vegas. More details are coming, but in the meantime,
scheduling and location information is here. Please plan on joining us if you can!
Our original coverage of the Copyright Royalty Board royalty determination, including a table of the new rates, can be found in our March 2 edition here. An editorial dealing with Copyright law issues can be found in our March 16 edition here. [A PDF of the decision is available here.]
BY DANIEL MCSWAIN The Copyright Royalty Board announced late yesterday it is considering "Motions for Rehearing" filed by various parties affected by the Board's recent webcast royalty determination.
Previously, both Radio & Records and CNet News had mistakenly reported that a rehearing had been granted by the CRB in the royalty rate case. While it is promising that the Board is agreeing to hear motions, no rehearing has been granted at this time.
advocates of Internet radio see
the decision to hear motions as a "first step" toward the resolution of problematic issues surrounding
the royalty rate decision.
In a brief issued yesterday afternoon [.pdf], Chief Copyright Royalty Judge James Scott Sledge wrote
that the Board "desires to hear the positions of each party
on each of the issues raised in these motions." The brief also
notes that the responses to the motion must be filed by April
Since the CRB's March 2nd announcement of the proposed
royalty rates there has been a swift and massively negative
response to the decision on behalf of journalists, advocates, webcasters
and listeners alike.
Over the past number of days, tens of thousands
of fans have poured into petition signing sites like SaveTheStreams.org and SaveOurInternetRadio.com,
while press outlets from the Wall Street Journal to Salon.com have
been quick to give the issue a
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PETITION UPDATE: Please keep Internet radio alive! was at over 31,669 signatures as of 1PM CT today (up from 19,400 last Friday). Today's sample signature:
Thanks to Internet radio, have your CD (or music download) purchases (01) gone up, (02) stayed the same, or (03) gone down?
Do you feel that the existence of Internet radio helps or hurts the music industry?
The existence of Internet radio helps the music industry by exposing potential customers to music they might not otherwise hear. Thus it could lead listeners to purchase CDs of music they would not normally have heard much less purchased.
Internet radio has been a huge contributor to my quality of life both at home and at work.
Internet radio listeners are currently signing this petition to Congress at the rate of several hundred listeners every hour -- with most of them adding insightful comments about their music purchase behavior! (Read more comments here.) If you'd like to link to this petition from your website, you'll find tools (banner, buttons, PSAs) and links at RAIN's SaveTheStreams.org. Another petition with tens of thousands of additional signatures is available, if you prefer its design, here.
BY DANIEL MCSWAIN The chilling effect of the recent CRB decision on Internet radio streams is already being felt, as a large international webcast has ceased streaming to the United States until questions about copyright royalty rate issues are clarified.
According to a message in the MediaCorp Radio simulcast player window, U.S. users have been blocked out of the station's streams "due to unresolved copyright issues."
The CRB ruling does not explicitly delineate when webcasters streaming to the U.S. will be called upon to begin paying royalties under the new proposed rates.
One fear has been that, given the retroactive reach of the decision, some webcasters might cease operations immediately in order to avoid accruing further debt while a final decision is still pending.
This appears to be the first instance of a broadcast company that has silenced streaming operations to the U.S. as a response to the CRB decision. It is an unsettling development, and one that is likely to be repeated until numerous ambiguities raised by the ruling can be answered definitively.
PAUL MALONEY Matt DuBiel and Chicago broadcaster 9
FM want to bring the record industry in from the cold, wrap
it in a warm, wool blanket, and give it a mug of cocoa.
If the labels need to "price
gouge" broadcasters and webcasters for streaming
royalties [see RAIN's coverage here], they must really be hurting.
So, in an act of mock solidarity with record labels — whose precarious financial position is the
only possible rationale for preposterously high webcaster royalty
fees, the station posits — the wide-format Adult Hits broadcaster
has announced that it will no longer give
away free CDs to listeners.
"We're Banning CD Give Aways On Our Air" was the
headline of a "news release" Program Director DuBiel sent
to the press and posted on the station site.
When I read that the RIAA and SoundExchange needed money so badly that they were going to price gouge independent web streamers and radio stations who stream online,
I knew we had to do our part, DuBiel explains.
Broadcast outlets like 9 FM face the same prohibitive cost
structure as "pure webcasters" under the proposed royalty rates.
A typical FM broadcaster, with little or no hope of seeing
a profit from its station stream under the new royalty, may simply
turn it off. 9 FM, however, is "trimulcast" on three separate
frequencies around the Chicago area. It's not only harder to find on the dial, but there are reception issues as well.
Bottom line: for
9 FM and its listeners, streaming is likely
far more important than for a typical broadcaster with
a city-grade signal.
station is airing public service announcements which encourage
listeners to visit the station site and sign
a petition in protest of
Royalty Board decision.
the face of the RIAAs struggles, it just doesnt
seem fair for us to be giving
away CDs (for free) to music fans fully
capable of paying for the music themselves," DuBiel
(at left) said in the news release. Listeners are invited to exchange
CDs prizes they've won in the past year for 9 FM t-shirts. DuBiel
says he'll give the CDs back to the RIAA.
stations need to be able to stream online affordably, he said.
Newsweb Radio Companys 9 FM trimulcasts on 92.5 fm
(WDEK), 92.7 fm (WKIE), 99.9 fm (WRZA) and streams online at WePlayAnything.com.
RAIN coverage of the 2002 CARP royalty rate ruling
the royalty crisis facing the industry, this year's
RAIN Las Vegas Summit '07(during
in Las Vegas) may be the most important ever.
The all-day Summit is scheduled for Monday,
April 16th, (with our customary cocktail hour following),
just steps from the Las Vegas Convention Center at the Renaissance
Las Vegas Hotel. (That's the Convention Center on the
left in the photo above.)
Over the next few weeks, we'll announce an updatedmeeting agenda and give
you a run-down of scheduled guest speakers.