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RAIN 12/15: Web radio's leading legal expert analyzes just-released CRB royalty rates

Posted on: 12/15/2010

OXENFORD: CRB REJECTED PROPOSALS FROM LIVE365, SOUNDEXCHANGE

Yesterday, the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) issued its determination for statutory webcast royalty rates for the upcoming term of 2011-2015 (RAIN coverage here). Industry attorney David Oxenford (pictured right) has published more details about the CRB’s decision. He served as co-consul for Live365 in the proceedings.

The CRB rejected royalty proposals from both Live365 (which litigated the commercial royalty rates) and SoundExchange. The former proposed rates of $.0009 per performance. SoundExchange proposed royalty rates starting at $.0021 and ending at $.0029 in 2015.

Oxenford notes that the CRB did consider the rates in deals webcasters reached with SoundExchange — but only those that allowed the rates to be used as a precedent. The deal between the NAB, Sirius XM and SoundExchange could be used as a precedent, for example, while the pureplay deal with Pandora, AccuRadio and others could not. Find RAIN‘s full round-up of royalty deals here.

“The Judges determined that the current rate for 2010 [$.0019] set the lower bound of where the new rates should begin, and felt that some modest increases over time were justified by increased advertising revenues, increased listening, and increased performances being made by webcasters,” writes Oxenford (here). “The Judges did not consider whether the profits of webcasting companies were also increasing.”

The CRB also set rates for non-commercial webcasters and broadcasters who are not party to agreements with SoundExchange. Those rates are slightly lower than the CRB’s rates for commercial webcasters.

Finally, Oxenford notes that parties have 15 days to seek a rehearing. Appeals can be sought from the US Court of Appeals for 30 days after the decision is published in the Federal Register.

ABSOLUTE’S MOBILE LISTENING UP 305% SINCE LAST YEAR

The U.K.‘s Absolute Radio has released online audience data for November 2010. The service streamed a record-setting 353,000 hours of mobile web radio, up 305% from last year’s 87,000. Mobile listening now accounts for 4% all of the networks streamed hours.

Additionally, Absolute Radio reports that it streamed an “all-time high” of 9.4 million hours of live online radio in November. That’s up 40.2% since last year. You can find more of Absolute Radio’s stats here.

UK MOBILE OPERATOR TO OFFER UNLIMITED DATA PLANS

While mobile carriers here in the U.S. transition from unlimited data plans to tiered offerings, one U.K. operator is doing the opposite. The New York Times reports that 3 U.K. — the fourth-largest mobile operator in Britain — will soon offer unlimited mobile data plans. Will that prompt other carriers to follow suit? Analysts discuss the possibility in NYT‘s article here.

UK’S RAJAR: MORE FOLKS TUNING IN TO MOBILE NET RADIO

New data from the U.K.‘s RAJAR shows that 2.2 million smartphone owners have downloaded a radio app. That’s up from 1.4 million in June 2010. Additionally, 44% of those folks say they use their radio apps at least once a week.

RAJAR also found that 16.3 million (32%) people have ever listened to Internet radio. 8 million said they had heard of “Personalised Online Radio” and 2.6 million claim to use such a service at least once a week. James Cridland has more coverage of RAJAR’s figures here.



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