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RAIN 7/1: Obama approves Webcaster Settlement Act of 2009
·Jul 1, 06:59 AM
Posted by: Michael Schmitt

LAW GIVES WEBCASTERS AND SX 30 DAYS TO REACH ROYALTY AGREEMENTS

President Obama signed the Webcaster Settlement Act of 2009 into law yesterday, giving the weight of law to any royalty agreements reached by SoundExchange and webcasters within the next 30 days. GovTrack notes however (here) that the legislation, H.R. 2344, “will become law once administrative actions are complete.”

The bill was sponsored by Representatives Jay Inslee (D-WA), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Frederick Boucher (D-VA), John Conyers (D-MI) and Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) in the House, and Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Sam Brownback (R-KS) in the Senate. RAIN thanks and congratulates these members of Congress for their efforts in passing the Settlement Act.

As previously reported in RAIN (here), the Webcaster Settlement Act of 2009 amends the Webcaster Settlement Act of 2008, which was passed last year under the Bush Administration (RAIN coverage here). The original bill gave Congressional approval to any royalty deal reached before February 15, 2009. However, SoundExchange was not able to reach deals with all webcasters by that date, including “pureplay” webcasters, small commercial webcasters, and religious broadcasters. The updated bill, just enacted by President Obama, will give these groups additional time to agree on royalty deals.

PANDORA’S WESTERGREN RESPONDS TO CRITICISM OVER NEW MUSIC SUBMISSION POLICY

Pandora recently announced they would now only accept music submissions from artists selling their work as physical CDs on Amazon (RAIN coverage here). The change sparked some criticism, which prompted Pandora’s founder Tim Westergren to explain the move. “Just to be clear, it’s not about making money from Amazon…There are really three principal reasons – user experience, improving the meta data, and managing submissions.”

He explains that it’s important to Pandora, and to users, to have reliable links to Amazon where listeners can purchase music. Additionally, requiring Amazon-listed music helps keep metadata and album art clean and ensures that only serious, dedicated musicians are considered for airplay. “All we’re asking of artists is to make great music, and have it available for easy purchase for Pandora’s audience,” he writes. Read Westergren’s full response here.

SOMAFM UPDATES MOBILE WEBAPP” TO INCLUDE AAC+ STREAMING

Webcaster SomaFM offers both a downloadable application for iPhone and iPod Touch devices and a “webapp,” that is, a webpage specifically tailored to those devices’ browsers. SomaFM recently updated this webapp to support AAC+ streaming. iPhone users can use the “webapp” by navigating their Safari web browsers to somafm.com. The webcaster’s downloadable iPhone app is available from Apple’s App Store for $4.

SONY MUSIC SYSTEM REMOTELY PLAYS NET RADIO, iPOD CONTENT

Sony’s new Wi-Fi music system and iPod dock, the NAS-7200iR, features a sleek remote to control playback from Net radio, a connected iPod, AM/FM radio, CDs or other connected media. The rechargeable remote features an LCD display and iPod-like controls, leading the ElectricPig to proclaim that it “puts the Sonos click wheel to shame!” The NAS-7200iR will land in the UK in September, and should be arriving in the US soon. No word yet on pricing or date of availability. Find out more from ElectricPig here.

iPHONE APP DEVELOPMENT ATTRACTED $100M OF VC INVESTMENT

As the mobile platform becomes ever more important to the future of radio, new data compiled by the Chubbybrain blog reveals that venture capitalists invested $100 million in startups developing applications for the iPhone over the past 2 years. That figure leaves out funding for companies that create applications for multiple smartphone platforms (Blackberry, Windows Mobile, Android, etc.) or “for whom iPhone app development is small and/or incidental — like media companies who create an app to extend their reach,” notes Wired (here). Investments range from $15,000 to $15 million. With over 40 million iPhones and iPod Touch devices in the market, and an additional 1 million new iPhone 3GS models sold earlier this month, Wired asks, “is this only the beginning?”



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