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Monday, May 21, 2007

Support Web Radio

posted by on May 21 at 15:14 PM

July 15 may be the death knell for internet radio broadcasting. The Copyright Royalty Board, pressured by SoundExchange (a non-profit set up by the major record companies to collect royalties for them and their artists), passed a ruling that raises the fees that internet radio broadcasters have to pay, and requires them to pay the new rates retroactively from January 2006. KEXP and Rainy Dawg Radio are both local radio stations that would be affected by instantly owing a huge bill to the record companies.

Right now, all you can do to help internet radio broadcasters is to call your senators and congresspeople and ask them to support the bills in their respective houses that have been introduced to reverse this ruling. You can find out more at savenetradio.org. I just called Patti Murray and Maria Cantwell, and it took two seconds to make my voice heard. Fortunately, Jim McDermott, who is your representative if you live in Seattle, is already co-sponsoring the bill. That guy is rad.

I will have more on this story later, including interviews with KEXP and any developments.

RSS icon Comments

1

Speaking as the general manager of Rainy Dawg Radio - YES, we would be royally fucked. KEXP might have the resources to survive the change, but we've only got an annual operating budget of $10,000 (not including employee salaries) and we'd be swamped by the fees pretty quickly. Someone's gotta stop this insanity.

Posted by Jeff | May 21, 2007 4:08 PM
2

hey jeff, send me an email: aspool@thestranger.com

Posted by Ari Spool | May 21, 2007 4:16 PM
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DON'T BELIEVE THE HYPE.

There are negotiations going on right now to allow small webcasters like Rainy Dawg to pay lower fees. BUT, the people really not wanting to pay artists are the major webcasters like AOL, Google, etc. This is not a case of 'evil' major labels going after 'small' webcasters, this is large mega corporate, multi-billion dollar corporations like Clear Channel and AOL not wanting to pay artists and labels for using their music to make money through webcasting.

Soundexchange is not a company set up by major labels to collect money for their artists as Ari states. Soundexchange is a non-profit like ASCAP or BMI, with a board consisting of some major record labels, a bunch of indie record labels and a bunch of musicians. They collect royalties paid by companies that want to webcast music online. Just like BMI collects royalties for songwriters from companies that want to broadcast music on traditional radio. These royalties are paid to the recording musicians, and to the copyright owner of the master recording. This is a great thing and ensures working musicians get paid. But Clear Channel wants to use the music for 10% of the rate Congress set after years of hearings and research. The new rates being proposed by Jay Inslee will really only help the major broadcasters, and their coalition SaveNetRadio, which is a front for the big corporate broadcasters.

Ari - do more research on this before you just spread Clear Channel's propoganda. Rainy Dawg folks, I think you are great, but don't tie yourself to the fucked up huge corporate radio people who want to screw artists. And call Jay Inslee out on his bullshit. If Jay cared about radio he'd get more low powered FM licenses made available so stations like Rainy Dawg could broadcast. And he'd break up the Clear Channel's of the industry. Instead he's out their shilling for the interests of the major corporations who want to make billions off the backs of working musicians.

Posted by Meinert | May 21, 2007 6:11 PM
4

PS - watch for a big news announcement tomorrow that will see Soundexchange recognizing and supporting the small webcasters while still going after the mega-corporate ones.

Really, the music community needs to support artists and labels getting paid.

Posted by Meinert | May 21, 2007 6:34 PM
5

I've been following this debate over on some of the music industry blogs...and if THIS debate follows the same trajectory as those have, the next shoe to drop is the revelation about how SoundExchange has been furiously sending out propaganda to prop up their position and each item of that campaign is to rally the troops by skipping over the small netcasters who love and expose music and instead put the emphasis on the much loathed Clear Channel...and after that someone points out that SoundExchange is rather nefarious themselves, in league with the four majors and the RIAA--and one of the major complaints about SoundExchange is how they profit immensely from "not finding" artists in order to send them money, when those artists are rather easily to find, as their due royalties become their own assets in time.

The end result of ALL of this bickering, however, is that valuable sources of promoting music outside of the mainstream will be harmed if this new rate goes into effect without consideration to non-corporate webcasting...and some music artists won't have the potential to be paid as much as some think they should if it doesn't.

Either way...those who already have all of the resources at their disposal--either the major record labels or the major broadcasting entities...or both--will win.

pg

PS--One good discussion on this topic can be found here: The Velvet Rope

Posted by pgreyy | May 21, 2007 7:40 PM
6

You might also want to check out this response to the John Simson/SoundExchange arguments: Who Gets Stung by Net Radio Royalties

(Note, this article also includes a link to John Simson's side of the argument from an earlier report on the same site--it's good to have balance to make an informed decision.)

Personally, I like KEXP.org and would be sad if it wasn't there...and I probably wouldn't buy as many cds as I do...so, maybe a massive increase in online royalty rates isn't such a good thing for the music artists I love.

Sorry Dave.
pg

Posted by pgreyy | May 21, 2007 8:08 PM
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Peter - KEXP is not going away, but at the same time, I think they would suffer if they pay the same rates as Clear Channel.

Here's the thing though, Soundexchange knows this, and has been working on a plan to support the KEXP's of the world. We'll know more tomorrow.

In the meantime, don't make the mistake that if Clear Channel and AOL have to pay, then we'll lose KEXP. It won't happen that way.

You ever hear of the Funk Brothers? The backing musicians who worked for Motown who, even though their music gets played daily on oldies stations making billions in revenues per year never get paid? Well under the royalty system put together by Soundexchange, these guys will get paid, and future musicians like them will as well. Don't take the side of the mega-corps who don't want to pay artists who are hiding behind indie-webcasters. Clear Channel doesn't give a damn about the survival of small webcasters, they are just using them to rally people who support indie-radio so they don't have to pay artists. It's sad to watch otherwise reasonable people get sucked into this argument. SaveNetRadio is corporate radio at it's worst, pretending to be the voice of the people when it's in fact the voice of Clear Channel, a company doing nothing but dumbing down radio and making billions from it.

Posted by Meinert | May 21, 2007 8:16 PM
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And it's just as sad to watch otherwise reasonable people get sucked into this argument as SoundExchange is the RIAA's lapdog (and, thus, isn't really working for the benefit of poor starving...and in your example, dead and black...artists...but is instead merely protecting the vested interests of the four major record labels and their multinational corporate profits), and is using the spectre of the Clear Channel boogie men to ram an industry killing and astonishingly large royalty rate increase right through those most passionate about finding new artists and promoting them...

I'm certainly familiar with the Funk Brothers. Motown session musicians...got paid a salary for the work they did, if I'm not mistaken.

Motown is currently part of the Universal Music Group, owned by the French multinational company Vivendi. They own the sound recordings made under the Motown labels...and thus, THEY would be paid money by SoundExchange...and it would STILL be up to Motown to determine what, if any, would then be paid to the musicians who made the music.

Click here for a more complete and sourced explanation of this policy

Look, I'm no fan of Clear Channel's dominance over terrestrial radio or the negative effects of radio station ownership consolidation as organized by the Republican controlled FCC.

But it seems to me that if the new royalty rates are put into place, that major webcasters like Clear Channel and AOL will be the only ones who COULD POSSIBLY pay these fees...and that means LESS music being played by FEWER webcasters...that means LESS artists getting ANY money...and those that DO get money will most certainly be the ones signed to major labels...

And your position seems to be--that's ok, as long as one group of major corporate interests should be forced to pay another group of major corporate interests.

Again...sorry, but I'm less intent on transferring wealth from one corporation to another...and more concerned about the vibrancy and potential of internet radio and the small webcasters who, as far as I can tell, are truly the only party who can be wronged here.

pg

Posted by pgreyy | May 22, 2007 2:20 AM
9

(Sorry to double post, but having two URLs in a post gets tagged by the SLOG's anti-spam filter.)

Click here to see how fuzzy the math is that John Simson of Soundexchange uses to promote his side of this argument

I also found this quote in one of the music industry online message board groups that have been covering this issue (where, I should point out, not one small webcaster has, upon being informed that they're "simply being used by Clear Channel to gain more profits" has changed their opinion that the new royalty rate will destroy them) that I totally agree with.

I would rather have 1,000 stations paying $100 a year than 10 stations paying $10,000, even if it means ClearChannel and the other big guys only pay $100, too. Why? Because there will 100 times the hours of music on the Internet. There will be 100 times the artists heard. There will be 100 times the chance that a station will be able to focus on a niche, which means that niche musicians will be played more often.


Meanwhile, in Billboard Magazine (April 28 of this year), SoundExchange's John Simson is quoted saying:

No station plays an artist because it "likes" the artist. Commercial webcasters and broadcasters play an artist because they think that artist will help them draw an audience that will help them sell advertising—the more listeners the more they can earn. While noncommercial webcasters may not have the same type of "profit motive," great music is still the attraction, and they are hoping to benefit from the artists' labor, whether it's increased exposure of their brand, increased underwriting or greater listener support.

Again...the "good guys" in this argument seem clear to me. The "good guys" are the small webcasters who are facing a royalty rate increase-based death sentence...

Posted by pgreyy | May 22, 2007 2:36 AM
10

it's hard to argue with cut & paste.

Soundexchange is not the RIAA's lapdog. And the royalty rate is not set by Soundexchange or the RIAA. It's set by an independent board overseen by the US Congress that has been studying this issue for years and has looked at the books of the major webcasters.

To be clear so everyone understands the royalty - it is a royalty paid by webcasters and satellite broadcasters to get a compulsory license to use a sound recording (meaning the owners and creators of the music have no choice but to let the broadcasters use their music if they have the license - so if we release an album, as long as Clear Channel has the license, they can use our music to sell ads and don't need our permission, which is unlike how TV or Films are allowed to use music, and unlike how any other artform is treated). Anyhow, the money paid out is collected by Soundexchange, which functions like ASCAP or BMI, and is then paid out 50% to the artists performing on the recording, 50% to the owner of the recording, which is typically a record label, but is sometimes also the artist. Even part of the money paid to the label ends up going to the artist. Make no mistake about this, people who don't want to pay this royalty don't want to pay artists for use of their music. This isn't just a fight about major labels getting paid, it's a fight about all recording artists and all labels, indie or not, getting paid.

Of course there needs to be a balance, and again, watch for an announcement today from Soundexchange that will hopefully be a step in solving this issue.

Something like 90% of webcasting is from the major corporations. So what Soundexchange has been first worried about is making sure the webcasters making big money pay a fair rate for use of the music the broadcast. THEN they are worry about the rest of the webcasters who need a subsidy to survive. That's coming. But let's not accept the mega-corporate webcasters' (also known as SaveNetRadio) argument that we need to get rid of the current royalty rate altogether, so we can then save the little webcasters. Let's make the big guys pay the fair market rate by paying the current rate, and then let's make exceptions for the small webcasters. This is Soundexchange's approach, and it's one that will probably solve the issue, at least the issue of saving smaller webcasters from paying too much (but they'll have to pay something, which many of them don't want to do).

Posted by Meinert | May 22, 2007 10:29 AM
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I don't really see your argument, and I haven't seen it reflected in any of the research I have done (and I do research, thanks). The way I see it, the fact that internet radio broadcasters have to pay MORE than traditional or satellite radio is an even larger disparity than the fact that corporations do a lot of webcasting. The fact is that the RIAA is scared of the web, and the independence it offers. This huge difference between a place where anyone can set up their own webcasting entity and the terrestrial airwaves where it's controlled by huge corporations is so weird and unecessary. Maybe savenetradio is a front for the corporations, but if it is or isn't, it doesn't matter. It seems to me that all broadcasters, whether they be terrestrial, satellite, or web based, should be paying basically the same rates for serving the same function.

Posted by Ari Spool | May 22, 2007 10:58 AM
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Also, why are the large independant broadcasters, like Pandora, running in such fear? Tim Westergren, the owner of Pandora and a smart guy, is supporting savenetradio and the legislation being pushed through with Inslee. Artists do deserve to get paid, but one side of the broadcasting industry doesn't deserve to get bled dry so that the other sides of it can keep being crooks.

Posted by Ari Spool | May 22, 2007 11:01 AM
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I guess I'm just confused on your conviction that there will be an exception worked out for small or non-profit broadcasters. That would be great, but doesn't the bill as it stands, in congress, not include such an exception? Are you arguing based on some inside information you have that none of us has on the congressional negotiations? Or are you saying that the bill could pass as is, and Sound Exchange would have the power to decide how to charge different types of broadcasters? I guess I'm just confused about what it is you're saying.

I could give a rat's ass about big net broadcasters, but I do want to save KEXP.org, Rainydawg, Hollow Earth Radio, and the tons of microstations out there that exist because they love music and want to get it out there to people.

Posted by Levislade | May 22, 2007 11:09 AM
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Levislade, yes, I have some inside info that's not public yet. It should be today. Jury is out on how effective the plan will be, but it is an attempt by Soundexchange to deal with the issue of small wecasters.

Posted by Meinert | May 22, 2007 11:18 AM
15

OK, but if the government says all Web broadcasters must pay x, what does Soundexchange have to do with it? Are they renegotiating the actual bill? And if they are, I would argue that that is probably as a result of people like me and Ari and campaigns like savenetradio, no?

Posted by Levislade | May 22, 2007 11:27 AM
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Ari - Soundexchange is no the RIAA. Soundexchange is not afraid of the web, it's a HUGE proponent of webcasting and web music projects.

Agreed there is a disparity in Terrestrial broadcasters (AM/ FM radio) not paying a performance royalty. But the answer to that issue is to make Terrestrial radio pay the royalty, not let webcasters not pay it. And this is exactly why Clear Channel, Entercom, and all the big media co's are supporting SaveNetRadio. They don't want to precedent set. And they should be afraid. Artists rights groups and the labels will be coming for that royalty soon.

Here's why. In pretty much every other country terrestrial broadcasters have to pay a performance royalty to artists and labels. The US is the exception. And because this royalty is not paid in the US, US artists don't get paid this royalty in other countries. So US artists getting airplay in Canada, the UK, etc, get jacked. Take for instance The Gossip. Their new album is getting played a shitload on UK radio. But the royalty due to them as recording artists doesn't get paid to them because they are a US artist. Thank the National Association of Broadcasters for this. They successfully lobbied the US Congressto make sure this royalty wouldn't be paid in the US. Who gets jacked? The Gossip and every other US band who gets radio play outside the US.

So I agree it is a problem terrestrial radio doesn't pay the performance royalty. But the answer isn't as the big media companies would want you to think - that because of that webcasters shouldn't pay it. The answer is that terrestial radio should pay it too. And if Clear Channel has to pay this royalty online, they are going to have a very hard time arguing they shouldn't have to pay it on their FM broadcasts. And they know this, that's part of why they are fighting so hard and have devised a great plan to use the 'little guys', the indie artists, etc, to make their arguments for them. And look, it's working. Blogs like this and people not really involved in the music industry all over are supporting Clear Channel, AOL, Google, etc, over musicians.

I personally don't care if Universal Records collects more money. I DO care that working artists and indie labels do, and not just in the US, but worldwide. And this is the crux of this issue. Opposing the current royalty rates means big radio doesn't have to pay artists to profit from using their music. Are you for that?

Posted by Meinert | May 22, 2007 11:32 AM
17

Levislade,

the royalty rate for webcasters was recently increased per the CRB. Soundexchange is the non-profit that actually collects the royalties and pays them out to the labels and artists. It's like ASCAP or BMI (except they represent the songwriters, not the musicians and labels).

What is being proposed is a bill pushed by Mcdermott and Inslee that would lower the rates, and make artists and labels pay back money already collected. Should be fun to watch your favorite bands pay money back to Clear Channel.

Posted by Meinert | May 22, 2007 11:36 AM
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If the CRB's decision is so well founded and measured, why are they just taking the needs of independent broadcasters into consideration now, via SounExchange? If the real problem is that terrestrial radio doesn't pay the proper royalties to artists, why didn't they tackle THAT problem? This is a terribly misdirected and exceptionally deadening way to get around to solving non-internet issues. Once again, artists do deserve to get paid, but the one side of the broadcasting industry that has the POTENTIAL to be more egalitarian doesn't deserve to get bled dry to convince the CRB that Clear Channel should be paying more royalties for terrestrial radio. If that's the issue, tackle THAT issue. The CRB is not known for being fair to anyone who supports a wider interpretation of fair use, and I don't see it happening here. If they are trying to tackle Clear Channel, why don't they just do it where they should-terrestrial radio.

Posted by Ari Spool | May 22, 2007 11:51 AM
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Ari - all due respect, but you are way missing the point. Terrestrial radio paying the performance royalty is not the end game. It sounds a lot like you are reading or getting your info from a webcaster. You are mixing the issues. My last comment was only in answering your point about how it's unfair for webcasters to pay a royalty terrestrial radio doesn't have to pay. My point - the answer to that is not to make neither side pay it, but to make both sides pay it.

I represent artists. I want to make sure they are exposed to a great number of music fans, which means I want to see a lot of different sized and diverse media outlets. I also want to make sure these artists are able to make a living doing their art. I think there is a way to balance this. Turning the rates back and making artists refund money out of their pockets to Clear Channel and AOL is not how we should create the balance. The way to create the balance is to make the larger webcasters pay their fair share, and give a break to the smaller webcasters. That's what is going to happen. Are you opposed to that?

Posted by Meinert | May 22, 2007 1:24 PM
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Today's announcement from Soundexchange:

http://reclaimthemedia.org/broadband_cable/soundexchange_offers_temporary=5249

SoundExchange is proposing that the subsidy be based on a percentage of revenue model and is proposing the same rates that prevailed under SWSA: small webcasters would pay royalty fees of 10 percent of all gross revenue up to $250,000, and 12 percent for all gross revenue above that amount. The proposal includes both a revenue cap and a

usage cap to ensure that this subsidy is used only by webcasters of a certain size who are forming or strengthening their business.

"These modest limitations assure that the subsidy is targeted only to those webcasters that Congress believes need the additional financial flexibility to build their businesses. When a company's revenue or listenership reaches a certain level, our proposal appropriately provides that they share those full gains with the artists who helped create this opportunity for them," said Huppe. "The net result of this proposal is that small webcasters would be guaranteed no increase in royalty payments for 13 years, from 1998-2010."

Posted by Meinert | May 22, 2007 1:46 PM
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Well, it's hard to argue with cut and paste.

;)

pg

PS--Depending on the (as of yet unreleased) definition of "webcasters of a certain size," looks like everyone involved here can claim victory.

But, I wouldn't land on an aircraft carrier with a banner reading "Mission Accomplished" just yet...

Posted by pgreyy | May 22, 2007 2:26 PM
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I'll try to get the details tonight. Agreed it needs some analysis, but exactly what I have been saying would happen has. The only non-winners are the Clear Channels of the world. Expect a spin coming from them very soon. It will be interesting to see if the small webcasters still try to carry Clear Channel's water.

Again, Soundexchange did the right thing here. They are good people, don't take the bait that they are just the RIAA. It's just no the whole story.

Posted by Meinert | May 22, 2007 2:36 PM
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here's how SaveNetRadio is responding to a deal that save small webcasters but makes larger ones pay their fair share:

"SaveNetRadio said the idea of offering privileges to companies that keep their revenue below government-set caps would stunt the growth of smaller firms and gut the Internet radio industry. The group also argued that by broadcast radio standards, even the largest Webcasters, such as the Internet radio divisions of Yahoo and AOL, would be considered small broadcasters."

what? Any question they are scrambling to come up with some reason to keep scaring people to continue to oppose this? SaveNetRadio is a sham, it's a front for the large broadcast companies who don't want to pay artists and labels to use their music.

Posted by Meinert | May 22, 2007 4:52 PM
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Hold on there, Dave...

1) YOU see this as SoundExchange doing the right thing.

I see this as SoundExchange scrambling to cover themselves, politically, when it became clear what a shady deal they'd created that a huge groundswell of public and governmental support started building against their anti-webcasting money grab for their corporate masters agenda.

It's very clear that this end result is NOT what Simson/SoundExchange/RIAA wanted...but it's a fall back position when the injustice of the explosively higher new royalty rates began to be factored in.

To that end, I credit the very people you blame, Dave.

That's why I said that everyone can claim victory here...

2) You keep saying that SoundExchange is not the RIAA's lapdog...but I can't imagine how you can hold onto that position.

Soundexchange was CREATED BY the RIAA in 1995 and remained an official arm of the RIAA until it was spun off in 2003. How independent is it from their former masters? Well, there are still RIAA members on the Soundexchange board, even now.

It has also been reported (by former Soundexchange lawyers) that before the recent negotiations over internet radio royalty rights that the members of Soundexchange sat down in private sessions with their buddies, the RIAA officials, and discussed strategy. The proposal sent to the CRB that was exactly what Soundexchange AND the RIAA wanted...and the powerful RIAA lobby got what they wanted (until the recent firestorm of activity forced them into a new position with the threat of the much more reasonable HR 2060 proposal.)

AND the fevered messages being sent out by John Simson of Soundesxchange in response to the groundswell of support for small webcasters, parroted almost to the word by you here in your "Don't Believe The Hype" posting are basically the RIAA talking points, barely disguised.

Do a Google search of the terms "RIAA" and "Soundexchange" and EVERYONE considers them to basically be the same entity--that Soundexchange is the royalty collection agency FOR RIAA...and thus, they are not at ALL for artists...but they are for the Big Four major record labels...and THAT'S who they're working for...

Soundexchange is NOT pro-artist and certainly not pro-music...merely pro-profits for the major recording labels, just as their masters in the RIAA have trained them to be.

pg

PS--I realize that your job as a manager of musical acts is to get as much money for your artists as you can, Dave...and I realize that the consolidation of radio is an awful thing, making Clear Channel a legitimate villain.

Webcasting, however, is NOT a villain...and justifying an INSANE royalty rate that would crush one of the most promising ways of promoting a much wider variety of music just in the hopes that some pennies might slip through the Major Labels fingers and into your acts' pockets is as short-sighted as the other foolish decisions the music industry has made in the face of changing technology.

(Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got a stack of brand new CDs I just bought at Easy Street that are based on my hearing them online...from sources that MIGHT JUST SURVIVE now...)

Posted by pgreyy | May 22, 2007 5:39 PM
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Peter, you got the facts wrong. Like I said, don't believe everything you read on the web. Soundexchange wa started by John Simson and his partner after they helped negotiate the original webcaster rates in the 90's. John was an artist manager before that, and an attorney. To get going representing artists and labels, he was able to get an advance on royalties from the RIAA. The RIAA is a trade association of a bunch of labels - here's a list - http://www.riaa.com/about/members/default.asp. The RIAA also gave them office space as part of the deal, until they could afford their own. All that is open public record and none of it is evil.

RIAA labels sell somewhere between 75%-90% of albums sold every year in the US. 50% of the royalty collected by Soundexchange gets paid tolabels, so a bunch of that to RIAA member labels (not to the RIAA). Of course the RIAA represents the major labels. So yes, they are represented on the Soundexchange board of directors, as is the coalition that represents many indie labels, A2IM, as well as artist organizations representing literally hundreds of thousands of recording artists. And in fact, the indie labels and artists combined have more votes on the Soundexchange board than does the RIAA.

Peter, you can read the web all you want. I have had the privilege of knowing John Simson at Soundexchange for years. I have been speaking to him for years about this issue because I, like you, am concerned about the small webcasters. What I know for a fact is that Soundexchange has always been worried about them, but wanted to get a deal done first that would allow for fair market rates to be set for the larger webcasters. The real problem that developed is that the small webcasters have tied themselves to the large companies in their arguments, so when the CRB ruled against the large companies they considered everyone in the same boat. This was a strategic mistake on the part of the small webcasters. Fortunately Soundexchange has done the right thing and has granted the small webcasters exactly what they were asking for.

No one, especially not me nor Soundexchange, has ever said webcasting is bad. Just the opposite, I think it is the savior of radio. It's great, I love it, am totally supportive of it at every level.

As for Soundexchange not being pro-artist, you just really don't know what you are talking about. You are a smart guy, and I probably agree with you on 99% of things I've heard you say, but I know the Soundexchange people first hand, and they have all worked for artists for years. The royalty's they collect benefit ALL labels, and half of them go directly to artists. Benefiting labels also benefits artists (they are in business together remember). Yes, many of he big labels have done some lousy shit, so have some smaller ones.

Artists making money for their music being used commercially is a GREAT thing. GREAT. Small webcasters are are great thing. I think we agree at the end of the day, no matter how it happened, this decision is excellent.

Posted by Meinert | May 22, 2007 6:08 PM
26

Dave,

From #3, you said:
If Jay cared about radio he'd get more low powered FM licenses made available so stations like Rainy Dawg could broadcast.

My question - Why the hell would they want to do that? It makes me think that you, and SoundExchange, don't get it. If you did, we wouldn't be here.

Yes, I understand that the goal behind all this is to Make Artists Money and there are big bad hugecorps who would love to not have to pay anything. But you also have a ton of smaller stations, ones that enjoy because I don't listen to traditional radio anymore. In fact, I like the idea of anybody being able to stream music through the internet and not have to rely on things like transmitters. I like the idea that, ya know, maybe I could do that too.

I basically agree with everything that everyone else besides you has been saying in this forum - that the rates originally negotiated by soundexchange would kill off these smaller webcasters with onerous royalty rates. If soundexchange had really cared about the smaller webcasters in the first place, this is the deal they would've put forth in the first place, but they didn't, because they want all the labels to make as much bank as possible. They're not going to make much money off the smallcasters anyway, so why not just toss them aside so you can suck hard at the teat of Clear Channel?

What's going on now is that, faced with massive public backlash, the organization is trying to salvage something of their plan which I would argue could've been avoided in the first place if they hadn't of been greedy bastards. Also, being friends with John Simson only makes you and your talking points more suspect, just FYI.

Now then, I'll go back to listening to C89.5 streaming through my work computer. :)

Posted by Dono | May 23, 2007 10:14 AM
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PG - and anyone else paying attention after PG and my long rants...

Regarding the definition of a 'small webcaster' - it's the same as what the SWSA was. The old SWSA applied to all commercial webcasters with under $1,250,000 in revenue or investment so it was really designed for small guys. On the non-comm side, it applied to all college and community broadcasters. Soundexchange had a prior agreement with NPR they were not included in SWSA. They are exploring that right now and should have something worked out by early next week.

Posted by Meinert | May 23, 2007 10:16 AM
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Dono - low powered FM is important. More people have access to FM radios at times they want to listen to radio than they do computers. But also, for many communities, say for instance farm worker communities, low powered FM can be a way for people to communicate locally about local issues, culture, etc. Web radio is awesome. I listen to KEXP online a lot. But not everyone has computers at work, you can't get web radio in your car, and many don't have fast speed connections. Anyhow, just a side not to our discussion, but if Inslee and McDermott were so concerned about radio they would be pushing for more low-powered FM licenses.

As to your other points, it comes down to what we know I guess. End of the day, the issue is settled at least for the next three years, and that is a good thing. I think everyone wins.

Posted by Meinert | May 23, 2007 10:43 AM

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