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RAIN 3/4: SX agreements published; some parties still negotiating

Posted on: 03/04/2009


The Copyright Office has published in the Federal Register the webcast royalty deals SoundExchange is offering to three specific classes of webcasters — public broadcasters, the NAB and very small webcasters (a/k/a “microcasters”).

These microcasters are distinct from the Small Commercial Webcaster group, which includes RadioIO, Digitally Imported and AccuRadio. That group is reportedly still negotiating with SoundExchange.

The microcaster offer was accepted such relatively-low-profile stations as My Jazz Network, Christmas Music 24/7, taintradio, PartiRadio, and Edgewater Radio. Their deal comes from the unilateral license offer SoundExchange announced in early February.

All three deals met the February 15 deadline as set by the Webcaster Settlement Act (H.R. 7084). The act was passed by Congress in late October 2008 and authorized any royalty deals between webcasters and SoundExchange for both the 2006-2010 and 2011-2015 terms (RAIN coverage here). The deadline passed without any announced deals between SoundExchange and small commercial webcasters, religious broadcasters, college broadcasters, or DiMA members. Negotiations with several of these groups are reportedly continuing.

Read the PDF from the Copyright Office as published in the Federal Register yesterday here.

RAIN ANALYSIS: It’s a bit disingenuous for the microcaster license to be called a “Small Commercial Webcaster” license, since the term “Small Commercial Webcaster” has an actual formal, legal meaning — it was used in the CRB proceedings to describe the RadioIO / Digitally Imported / AccuRadio / etc. group, and those parties, as noted above, were not parties to this agreement. It may also be a bit of a stretch to call it a “negotiated” settlement, since we’ve heard no evidence that any of the microcasters who took the deal did any actual negotiating with SoundExchange. (See RAIN coverage of SX’s unilateral offer here.) — PM, MS


Online music service Jango has launched “Jango Airplay,” an Internet radio service that lets artists pay for increased airplay. Listeners create custom channels on Jango by entering an artist, similar to Pandora. Bands, promoters, and record labels can pay $30 to get 1,000 plays of a song. “The team at Jango doesn’t back the idea that Jango Airplay is payola in the dubious sense of the word,” said Jango publicity rep Deana Graffeo. “They see this as means to support their young and growing business, emerging artists looking to break through a crowded landscape and possibly the industry as a whole.” TargetSpot CEO Doug Perlson speculated about webcasters charging money for airplay to pay off high royalties back in September (RAIN coverage here) Perlson’s idea sparked industry attorney David Oxenford to investigate the legal implications of Internet radio payola at his Broadcast Law Blog here.


The Rocket Surgeon blog took a detailed look at five iPhone Internet radio applications to see which one comes out on top. Last.fm, Pandora, Slacker, Deezer and FineTune all went head-to-head, with Last.fm winning “best of class” and Pandora scoring points for easy set-up and excellent programming. Rocket Surgeon’s bottom line is that each service offers slightly different features, and your favorite will probably be the one that matches your needs the best. To help in your decision, the blog has put together a helpfully-detailed chart of features. Find it here.


RAIN sources say the House Judiciary Committee hearing on the Performance Rights Act, originally scheduled for today, will be rescheduled to Tuesday, March 10. The original hearing was postponed because of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s address to Congress (RAIN coverage here). Meanwhile, nine more representatives signed on to the Anti-Performance Fee Resolution. 135 House members have signed on to the resolution so far.

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  1. Perhaps RAIN can comment on SoundExchange’s announced audit of Sirius/XM? The one which just happens to follow the CRB’s order denying SE a rehearing on XM and Sirius re: ‘definition of Gross Revenues’


    g · Mar 4, 08:17 AM · #

  2. You’ve muddied the waters a bit here. My two stations, operating under the Christmas Music 24/7 name, do not qualify as microcasters under this agreement. A microcaster is limited to 18,067 listener hours per year. I passed that amount in less than one day in early December. I agreed to this agreement as a “small webcaster” although you are right, I was not a part of the formal “Small Commercial Webcaster” group.

    Michael Clark - Christmas Music 24/7 · Mar 4, 08:58 AM · #

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