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Mid-size and small webcaster reaction to new CRB rates

While Pandora, iHeartMedia, and the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) are content with new CRB rates, the royalty ruling puts smaller streamers on shaky ground, we’ve heard from several sources.

The source of unhappiness is expiration of the Webcaster Settlement Act of 2009, which established a carve-out for small webcasters based on total revenue. They could pay a percentage of revenue rather than the per-stream rates. Yesterday’s ruling simplifies the structure in a few ways, eliminating the revenue option for one, and also erasing the difference between pureplay webcasters and radio station streams.

rusty hodge contributor logo 250wForcing small webcasters to pay a per-stream rate (17 cents per hundred streams) starting in a few weeks for 2016 presents a financial challenge. Rusty Hodge, founder and owner of SomaFM, explained the share-of-revenue plan to RAIN News:

“Under the small webcasters agreement, it’s for services that do under $1.25 million a year, and under 5 million listener hours. Ten percent of the first $250,000 in Gross Revenues, and 12% of any Gross Revenues in excess of $250,000, during the applicable year. Or 7% of Expenses during the applicable year.”

With that arrangement, small webcasters could opt in to the payment plan that maximized net earnings. Rusty Hodge calculated SomaFM’s payment numbers for November, then applied the new CRB rate, and found the increase to be 14 times what Soma actually paid. Looking at the prospect of his key expense jumping up by a multiple of 14, Hodge is contemplating blocking his streams in the U.S. “SomaFM and a lot of other small webcasters are going to be faced with some tough choices, including limiting or completely blocking their US-based listeners. Which may be the way to go, the majority of our listeners are outside the US anyway,” he told us.

kurt hanson about canvasKurt Hanson, founder and CEO of AccuRadio and Publisher of RAIN News, sympathized with the hard choices that small webcasters could face.

“For a webcaster like AccuRadio, which works hard to monetize its audience through banner ad networks and audio ad rep firms, but is just in the early days of building a direct sales force, this rate will eat up close to 100% of our total revenues,” Hanson said in an email. “But I’m more worried about smaller webcasters who are serving a niche audiences, like folk music or classical music or jazz — this rate could very well drive all out of them out of business.”

Hanson also predicted a strangling effect on new streaming entrants: “This rate will be an incredible barrier to entry for anyone new trying to enter the space. And a non-vibrant Internet radio industry is bad for webcasters, working musicians, and consumers alike.” How did this happen? “The fact that there is no accommodation for smaller webcasters in the decision is because none of them could afford the costs of participation in the CRB process,” Hanson noted, in an opinion echoed by our conversation with Rusty Hodge.

david porter 01 canvasDavid Porter, founder and head of 8tracks, a profitable playlisting and streaming platform, had a similar sobering recognition of a suddenly tough industry for newcomers to enter. “One thing that’s bad for competition (if that were intended by the DMCA) but good for *existing* internet radio services is that it effectively forecloses entry by new competitors,” Porter wrote in a Medium article. “There’s no longer an option for a Small Pureplay webcaster (% of revenue) so the table stakes for entering internet radio in the US are probably at least $10–15 million for an angel or seed round. Raising such a round is unlikely in a highly competitive, relatively low margin business.”

Even Pandora CEO Brian McAndrews recognized the potential anti-startup effect of the CRB’s simplification. “It would be a challenge for a new company to start up and pay these rates from the start.”

76 Comments

  1. Without an agreement similar to the Small Webcasters or Small Pureplay, our many hundreds of very small broadcasters are faced with either, closing down completely or spending more money than many can afford to spend in order to legally broadcast the music they love. The music industry will suffer as a result of losing these broadcasters who are so passionate about the music they play. On their behalf I am hopeful a Small Webcaster’s Agreement will be brought back before January 1.

  2. SoundExchange is still deliberating the SWA and will release a statement on Monday.

  3. Part of this is on the entire industry, RAIN has moved from a lot of focus on small webcasters in the early years, to a room chalk full of corporate players. Not one advocate for small webcasters? I certainly have felt that in the last 4-5 years as attention swings to Pandora and various start-ups. Kurt knows which side of his side of his bread is buttered, I see his weak reaction as part of the problem.

    • As a listener, I wonder if the Spotify type streams have become more popular than the Live365 type streams now.

      • @Music Lover – That’s what I think as well. Several of my friends have gotten hooked on interactive streaming. Being able to have more control of what artists and songs they want to hear is the perk that got them hooked.

  4. As Kurt noted, small webcasters were not represented because they cannot afford to be represented. If they could they wouldn’t need a SWA tp begin with. If one’s future were being decided in a court of law one would at least get a court appointed attorney. But there’s no such provision here in copyright court. That should be a eye opening concern – an entire segment of the industry is effectively denied representation in government hearings that decide their future. In my mind that ought to be grounds for a lawsuit. But of course if one could afford a lawsuit one could afford to have been represented.

    And what kind of insane,screwed up system is it where an organization does not have any way of knowing at all what their cost of doing business will be beyond two weeks into the future? How are any of these radio stations supposed to make any operational or business decisions when one doesn’t know what one’s expenses will be or even whether one will even be able to remain in business? Why isn’t there some law that requires advance notice? It isn’t like nobody knew that rates for 2016 would need to be set. What were these people doing? Why did sit on their butts and wait until the very last minute? Are they afraid that the small webcasters will go back to Congress before the decision takes effect as they did in years past?

    And of course this will kill niche formats and reduce opportunities for small and niche artists. The big corporate webcasters will just strike direct licensing deals with the major mass market labels. So new artists will not only have the usual struggle just to be noticed by programmers their music will be more expensive to play because they are too obscure to make it worth anybody’s while to cut a direct license deal. Most new and niche artists would gladly swap the pennies they get in SX royalties for wider exposure. It is the small and niche stations that provide such artists their best opportunity of getting airplay and exposure. And with small stations off the air those artists, even if they did prefer royalties over exposure, won’t likely get anything at all from SX. That will probably make SoundExchange’s bookkeeping easier not having to mess with tracking royalties for all those names that nobody ever heard of before except for freaks who listen to pesky small stations.

    The end result is that major label music has less competition from unsigned artists. Despite their posturing and professed concern about “artists” the only artists the major labels are concerned with are those they have under contract. All other artists are long tail competitors and thus a potential threat. If an emerging artist can build up an audience and following without signing with one of the major labels – then what are the labels good for in a digital world?

    The whole thing stinks from beginning to end from the lack of representation of small webcasters to waiting until the very last minute. Where is the oversight? Who holds these people accountable? It seems to me that maybe this needs to once again be brought ot the attention of Congress.

  5. It is a joke. In an era where traditional radio is (sooner or later) transitioning to internet delivery (after all DAB is less than popular with consumers), especially as analogue transmissions come to an end (which has been touted by the UK government over the years), this entire structure of payments is utter madness.

    They could’ve really opened up the market, and generated a lot more revenue in licencing if they had established proper tiers for small web casters, as we have in the U.K with PRS/PPL. Instead the incessant greed of the American Recording Industry strikes again.

    It’s hard enough to build a business as a small webcaster/internet radio, but this simply puts it out of reach.

    • Certainly all webcasters who are adversely impacted by this should immediately be running PSAs and taking to social media in order make their audiences aware of what has just happened.

      Because time is short it might be best to identify and get in touch with the Congress people who were helpful last time this came up. They are going to be most familiar with the issues involved and will likely be immediate advocates for the plight of small webcasters.

      Also, perhaps the small webcasters can find a sympathetic attorney who would be willing to approach a judge and request an emergency stay of execution on the new rates for all existing SWA broadcasters allowing time for Congress to sufficiently be made aware of the issue and have time to look at it. Given that small webcasters were financially locked out of and unrepresented in the CRB hearings why would a judge not be sympathetic to at least let Congress review the reappearance of the very same concerns it had to address in 2009? If Congress’s concerns were valid in 2009 then presumably those same concerns are valid in 2016. Such a stay would allow existing SWA broadcasters to continue paying 2015 rates until Congress says yeah or nay. Otherwise a lot of them would be forced out of business before Congress gets to take a look at it – which I suspect is what some of the big players want and might be why they waited to announce the rates at the very last minute.

      And while Congress is looking at the issue, they really need to look into why the CRB waited until two weeks before the new rates go into effect to make their announcement. Was it utter incompetence on the part of the CRB? If so, then shouldn’t the people responsible for it be subjected to some sort of censure? And if it turns out that it wasn’t incompetence but a dastardly effort on the part of the major labels and/or large broadcasters to kill off and shut out future emerging competition then there really needs to be some harsh sanctions against those who were complicit in this.

      If Congress was receptive in previous years I am sure they will still be now. The issue previously had bipartisan support – and politicians are always eager to show that they are bipartisan. Plus the public generally supports “small artists.” The demise of small webcasters seriously hurts small artists who will never get a chance to be heard if the only legal broadcasters are giant media companies.

      In previous years broadcasters coordinated and shared PSA calls to action. Perhaps someone could come up with some this time asking listeners to contact the specific representitives who were sympathetic in the past.

  6. So so tired of this. Let’s just call it what it is – small webcaster genocide. Webcasters lobbied for their lives in 2002, then again in 2007. Went to Washington twice on our own dimes, pleading for congress to see the reason. Showed them stats that proved that the per performance rates would raise our rates higher than our actual revenue intakes. We make pennies per 1,000 listeners with low cpms. We work, we bleed, we plead on deaf ears. We are kept in a “box” and can’t grow our business past a certain point or we are taxed to death. How can we even dream of growing successful businesses when every 5-6 years, we are at the mercy of Sound Exchange and the RIAA, (who by the way represent the few remaining majors and a tiny percent of the worlds emerging artists). So here we are again. I pray for a Christmas miracle.

    • Val:

      We’ve been friends for a long time and, I believe, agree on this: Most everyone who has been around since the beginning knows that effort has been placed into coordinating a solution. The problems remain because you can’t herd cats.

      There has never been a consensus on an approach from enough small webcasters. There hasn’t even been enough participation in a single concept from enough webcasters to matter.

      Until this large group of individual station owners unify nothing will change – and I don’t see that happening. Everyone wants to impact the world in their own way. They are not about to get behind anyone and follow their lead.

      • If one cares to recall, this is what trade unions were created for – collective representation. Small webcasters, small political parties, small businesses – they all are being crushed because they do not act as one, plain and simple.

  7. So beginning in 2016 webcasters running a simple, “true-radio-style” online station have to somehow squeeze over $21,000 from every 100-average-listeners just to cover SoundExchange royalties alone? Could you imagine if an FM station had to pay over $2 Million in annual performance royalties for every 10,000 listeners in their market? The airwaves would be silent! The only difference is how the audio is delivered. I don’t care how you monetize, a small webcaster can’t come close to breaking even under these rates. We’d be better off sending our listeners each a check for $200 and telling them to go out and buy some CDs.

    Webcasting is the only broadcasting businesses I know of where a large audience is far more likely to be a liability than an asset.

    Pandora reportedly lost upwards of $20 Million in Q1 2015 and only seems to exist today thanks to investors. if they can’t make money, what chance do we have? There’s a whole industry that surrounds the small webcaster community including lesser-known artists looking for exposure, stream hosting companies, voice-over companies, aggregators, broadcasting software companies and on-air talent. I hope a way can be found to quickly bring back plans available under the SWA, or all those groups and companies are in big trouble.

    Right now, this appears to be another corporate-funded, congressional-approved middle finger to small business owners and independent artists all across the country.

  8. Consumers are leaving traditional broadcast, this is a fact that is indisputable and it is going to accelerate over the next few years as people that have known the internet their entire lives become adults. With rates as high as they are, this is just going to push consultation and piracy. It is as simple as that.

  9. Well this new rate will make RAIN’s daily reporting extremely easy. They’ll only have to run stories on Pandora and Spotify. Where is the outrage? Why is everyone so content to go quietly into the night without a fight? I hate that this publication is just brushing over this. Their lead article is “As Online Marketing Grows, So Does Opportunity for Radio Stations” What opportunity are they talking about if there are no online radio stations left? My old friend and colleague David Oxenford does a seminar on understanding the new rates – Hey David!!….WE UNDERSTAND! Unless they reinstate the SWSA rates we’re out of business! I repeat – small webcaster GENOCIDE!

    • I am shocked how few reactions we have seen so far. Live365 has yet to make any remarks. I am not seeing much of anything from medium-large streamers (Radiotunes, DI, 181.fm, .977, Idobi, Jango, etc.) And most small streamers are equally as silent. Apparently we are just going to ignore it and everything will be fine.

        • Can someone really confirm this? I have visited the Live365 website and it looks to be business as usual.

      • DI sent an email to its listeners where it pleads to subscribe to Premium. Paying subscribers or die.

      • It is really hard to motivate your listeners to take a political stance a few days before the holidays. It’s not like there is going to be anyone in congressional offices listening. Releasing the new rates a week before Christmas was is like issuing a press release 7pm on a Friday.

        But what are we going to do? Interrupting the music and making our stations annoying to listeners is just going to drive them to Spotify or Pandora. If you do irreversible damage to your station trying to save it, have you actually accomplished anything?

  10. I’m not an attorney but the SWSA (I didn’t apparently type it wrong) states that the Sound Exchange can negotiate on behalf of the copyright holders entirety for a rate for Small Webcasters. This is apparently good from 2005-2016. What is unclear is whether or not the SX can extend this Act or whether or not it completely expires. I’m not sure if Congress has to reinstate the Act.

  11. Food for thought: Obviously a main reason that Pandora and iHeart can survive this is because they have tons of investment money. But, from looking at their business operations, they have a much bigger advantage over a lot of the small webcasters because they control 100% of their own player. With this, they can charge significantly higher CPMs (more targeting, display companion, etc), so perhaps the judges assume everyone is able to get the same rates for digital audio ads. Most, if not all of the small webcasters rely heavily on third party directories, and sub $2 CPMs, which in turn the math simply does not work out with the same per-performance rates.

  12. ALL — it is correct that SoundExchange negotiated the settlement acts which defined small webcasters and established a percentage of revenue calculation. A SoundExchange spokesperson told me today that there would be information coming “soon.” That could mean anything. Worth remembering that SoundExchange (probably) knew nothing of the ruling details before last Wednesday night. There might be language in the CRB’s full ruling (which is still private but will be released eventually) pertaining to this issue. If SoundExchange is motivated to create breathing room for small webcasters, the delay is understandable. But, it must be difficult for a small webcaster to see the days tick down to January 1.

  13. This is why American businesses are suffering. This country is so greedy and continues to get greedier every year.
    To begin with, this news shouldn’t just be covered on sites for the industry. This should be national business news. If this story was covered on national news casts, it would make everyone much more aware. Awareness is critical.
    This story is being passed over by constant news about i-Heart radio, Pandora and other very large corporations with deep pockets. Let’s just call it what it is. These large establishments want to eliminate every possible source of competition. They can afford to send lobbyists to Washington DC. They have pushing the death of small and medium sized webcasters since the beginning. In my opinion, the tactics they use are unorthodox and wrong. It seems just too neat to have all this taking place during the holiday season at the end of the year. It’s by design to maximize their effectiveness in getting what they want.

    This destroys American businesses. It’s not just the Small Webcasting business in the USA being destroyed. Audio advertising networks, Banner ad networks, bandwidth, hosting and technology companies, web developers, etc. are all also impacted adversely by having thousands of webcasters going under.

    Aside from it being bad for US business/economy, it of course, takes away from the diversity of music outlets on the Internet.

    Now, what can Small Webcasters do? We need to draw from history. This has occurred in the past and we need to unite. We need a site similar to saveinternetradio.com once again. I believe many are still completely unaware of what is happening. Create awareness, uniting and being heard is what needs to happen. This is what cause the creation of the Small Webcaster’s Agreement. It didn’t just manifest on its own!

    Everybody is so quick to just want to give up! People’s livelihoods are at stake here. What happened to the concept of being able to live the American dream of having a viable business? Of course, every business has its regulations and government red-tape. However, this is just outrageous. How can anyone grow a business without fairness in size? To lump Pandora and i-Heart Media into the same category with small and medium sized outlets is beyond unfair. An alliance is need to prevent this from happening and it needs to happen now.

  14. I advise small webcasters DO NOT SHUTDOWN immediately on Jan 1st. Wait to see what the outcome is, and what chances of appeal there are. If nothing happens by the end of January, then close your business down.

    By shutting your stations down too soon, you lose your voice. And you need that voice if you’re going to have any effect on change.

    Also, if you really feel you need to shut down, simply block streams to US listeners. SoundExchange ONLY can collect royalties for transmissions to recipients in the US.

    • Rusty: Are you sure? According to their latest newsletter, it indicates otherwise. They created a way to even close that loophole on us.
      >> “Geofencing and the 150 Mile Rule:

      Occasionally SoundExchange receives questions about a technique known as “geofencing.” Geofencing technology is intended to make internet transmissions inaccessible to users outside a certain geographic area. One reason we are asked about this technology is that the Copyright Act includes an exemption for certain digital retransmissions of radio broadcasts over cable systems when those retransmissions are limited to audiences within a 150-mile radius of the radio transmitter making the initial transmission. Broadcasters who also webcast are sometimes under the mistaken belief that if they geofence their internet transmissions (to within a 150 mile radius), they do not have to pay royalties.

      However, the United States Copyright Office (the agency that interprets and applies the Copyright Act) has ruled that this exemption does not apply to transmissions made over the internet. Therefore, any radio station webcasts must still be paid for via the statutory licenses SoundExchange administers or through direct licenses. For more information, please refer to our FAQ on this issue.”

  15. It is with a deep sadness and a heavy heart that I must inform our wonderful, loyal listeners that have been so good to us , that the time has come for us to close our doors. Not something I wanted to do , but was put in a choke hold and forced to do by the Copyright Royalty Board.
    There would have been music behind this but I’m afraid they will come knocking at my door threatening me for thousands of dollars for playing it being the thugs that they are !

    Explanation :
    The copyright Royalty board along with many other members of the music industry’s thug patrol who we refer to as the Music Mafia, along with The FCC and FM Radio, The internet radio giants, Pandora and congress have passed a bill called HR-1733 which basically cripples all small broadcasters all across the USA. This is a tragedy for many many reasons but most importantly, people in congress really dropped the ball bigtime on this one ! It puts the licensing rates SO HIGH that any small broadcaster anywhere cannot afford to pay the fee. Thus, once again , congress & their henchmen, paving the way for the rich and kicking us poor folk in the balls once again !

    They allowed FM radio to Never pay royalties until this bill came along. FM Radio has never given ONE dime to the artists for playing their wonderful music we so have enjoyed here on BullsEye Radio for the last 8 years ! And they never got fined , sued, jailed , nothing !
    If that had been a small broadcaster like me, i would have been threatned by the music mafia to pay or go to jail ! But FM . . . . .Nothing !
    They rip off the artist for years and get rewarded with total control with the internets airwaves , we pay licensing fee’s for years and we get told pay our outlandish prices or shut down . . . . .and the fairness in this is where ?
    They call it the fair play fair pay bill . . . . . .bullshit ! It’s just another way to scam money from people !

    For years we small broadcasters have been paying licensing fee’s to stay legal on the internet, paying our dues in appreciation for the hobby we so love. We all had a dream of one day climbing that ladder to make a name for ourselves, to achieve success. Some didnt have that dream , they just wanted to enjoy what they loved to do. Now that dream has been stomped on, spat on, and kicked to the curb by the very people we entrust to treat us fairly. It’s shameful !

    They really dont realize that this bill doesnt just cripple the broadcasters, it also hurts MANY other businesses as well !
    Every small internet radio station that wants to look presentable gets other amenities to appear appealing to attract their guests.
    * Streaming Servers
    * Chatrooms and servers
    * Messengers
    * communities and servers
    * Games
    * Webhosting and servers
    and many other services that they PAY for ! Well guess what ? Now those businesses are going to lose too, because with unaffordable rates, why do you need those ammenities ? If you think we are talking small money , think again. This bill put literally THOUSANDS of small internet stations out of business, my costs alone were in the nighborhood of $350.00 per month to keep BullsEye Radio going with all the wonderful things we had.
    Times that by just 1000 stations ! It’s mind boggling how many businesses will suffer with one swipe of a pen ! Your talking literally Millions of dollars in revenue for businesses. Now they get squat !

    As you all know I have had dealings with some major celebrities and I can tell you first hand , the royalties they get, do not match up to what the music mafia is taking ! They are lining their pockets ! They are getting their homes, cars, vacations, expensive restaurant meals, and more all paid for by you and I ! It’s not right that I have done this for 8 years and they dont give one shit about us small people ! They are too busy kissing FM radio’s ass ! Shame on you ! Shame on the people in power that let this happen ! Shame on FM radio for being thieves for 40+ Years !
    If I was an artist, I wouldnt be happy in the least about this ! Now thousands of stations go down , thousands of people will not hear the oldies, the songs of the past, the memories they loved. FM radio is phasing them out and making way for the new music which in my opinion, 50% is nothing but garbage !

    So good for you Congress ! You screwed your constituents once again ! I hope your proud of yourself ! You just made thousands of broadcasters all across the USA hate your guts ! And I am one of them !

    To our listeners :
    I am so sorry ! I will miss you all ! We have so enjoyed the laughs , the fun the good times with you all. I tried so hard to just have a place where we could all go and have fun and if for only a moment, forget about the tragedies going on in the world. I tried to make a place where one could go and hear a song that may trigger a memory of a happier time. I hope I succeeded in doing that in the time we had to enjoy this new technology that was seized by greedy corporate pigs.
    Those of you that have my ID on messenger, stay in touch with me as we will follow the proceedings on this and maybe, just maybe, by some odd miracle, maybe someone whose head ISN’T up his ass or up the ass of FM radio will come to his senses and do whats right !
    who knows . . . . .Until that day know that I love you all and have enjoyed each and everyone of you.

    To My staff :
    My heart is breaking knowing how hard you all worked, how much you loved BullsEye Radio. There are no words to express my deep grattitude for your loyalty, your hard work, your dedication in helping us to become the such loved station and community we have been.
    I love each and everyone of you and will never forget the kindness I have been shown through knowing you all.

    God Bless and let’s hope one day our paths will cross again !

    Forever a Broadcaster at heart,
    John Michaels
    Owner and Proud former licensed internet radio station broadcaster
    BullsEye Radio Broadcasting
    One day we’ll hit that BullsEye Again !

    • >> The internet radio giants, Pandora and congress have passed a bill called HR-1733 which basically cripples all small broadcasters all across the USA. << John, HR-1733 is NOT a passed bill. Are you confusing it with the CRB ruling last week? HR-1733 ("Fair Play Fair Pay Act") applies to terrestrial radio, not Internet radio. Bullseye Radio is an Internet pureplay, isn't it? One other point -- Bullseye is an oldies station, so you might want to investigate the pre-1972 regulations.

      • isnt the pre-1972 reulations out the window with this bill ? If I am not mistaken, I think it is ALL now.

  16. In addition to small webcasters, Sound Exchange has also plunged a dagger into the hundreds/thousands of people who’ve spent substantial sums for Internet radio technology. Now their radios will be useless. Their investment is a ‘so sorry’ you’ve been screwed.

  17. They have really and literally just killed so many businesses. I cannot for the life of me see how they think this is fair. They are allowing thieves ( terrestrial radio ) to go free and even rewarding them, they are letting large corporations corner the market, pushing mom & pop shops to the curb with not so much as a thank you for paying all your licensing fee’s and staying legal when terrestrial radio was breaking the law by finding every loophole they possibly could not to give ONE DIME to artists anywhere since the beginning of internet broadcasting !
    It is unjust, it is criminal, and the people of the United States of America should be OUTRAGED about this completley and totally lopsided decision !
    And as for Pandora, they are breaking out the champagne , celebrating because THEY DO have the money to pay these outlandish and completley price gauging fee’s !
    They withiHeart radio will now rule the airwaves across the internet while the stations that WERE broadcasting are closing down one after the other , left & right, telling all the people they did business with, our dealings are now done, and people all over the WORLD, not just USA , are going to be watching their customers walk away !
    All this in one decision that was made without really looking at the reprocussions of what they are doing !
    This tells me, we have really stupid people in power making decisions in our country and now you can see why the country is in the shape it is in.
    It is time to bring back a organization once again like SAVEINTERNETRADIO , you are correct !
    It is time to make people in power open their eyes and see that they just rewarded a corporation that is not any better than Napster was, with control over what USED to be called the free internet !
    It is far from free ! It is another government screwing is what it is.
    I consider this to be a violation of free enterprise in the highest form ! It is basically saying if your not rich , you cant do nothing , and we don’t care whether you like it or not so just shutup litte webcaster and go sit down and let us big corporate , pocket lining Music Mafia thugs run things while you watch us take over what USED to be yours !
    Jerrold Nadler should run and hide his face in shame for sponsoring such a disgusting violation of rights piece of garbage legislation. I can guarantee you there are many people across the USA calling him every name in the book today !
    It’s really a putrid disgusting situation, makes me sick to my stomach !

    • Again — Nadler is the sponsor of HR-1733 (“Fair Play Fair Pay”), the purpose of which is to make terrestrial radio pay performance royalties, and enlist the CRB to establish rates. (Which is what you want, I believe.) I think you are mixing up HR-1733 with the CRB decision, aren’t you?

  18. Yes but in that legislation was NO provision for “small hobbyist webcasters”.
    They put us all in one arena , so to speak , and if I mis-spoke , and it was CRB who decided the provision for small webcasters SHOULDNT be in there ,then I man up and apologize , but If I am to understand the language of this bill, that provision should HAVE BEEN listed in it.

    • To be clear about things as the discussion goes forward:

      HR-1733: has nothing to do with webcasting.
      —–
      CRB: Copyright Royalty Board which sets webcaster royalty rates to labels (not songwriters/publishers)
      —–
      SWSA: Small Webcaster Settlement Act of 2002, authorized SoundExchange to negotiate with labels for terms applied to small webcasters. (Also other webcast groups.)
      —–
      Webcaster Settlement Act of 2009: A national law which incorporates the revenue threshold which defines “small webcasters,” and the special calculation which determines rates. The WSA expires next Thursday at midnight, ending a ten-year period (2006-2015) in which small webcasters paid music royalties pro-rated according to revenue, escaping the per-stream rate paid by big services. That expiration, and lack of information (so far) from SoundExchange, is the subject of this page.

  19. Thank you Brad , for clarifying for us. Appreciated and noted.
    So the powers to be really need to get their hands dirty again , get BACK in the kitchen and re-negotiate this to make sure that ” SMALL WEBCASTERS ” are protected and have the ability to continue on as they have been.
    Even if the rates are raised some , I have no issue with that . Thats fine. But Don’t raise to the point where NO ONE can continue on . Thats just unfair and really deplorable actions to take.

  20. I think it’s a crying shame that you would discontinue a radio station that brings such enjoyment to its viewers and members. Small Radio stations Should not be pushed out. Small Radio stations give more job opportunities than the large ones and they care more about there employees for they know them well and by name. You don’t see a big ones like this.This is so unfair and wrong to do. You need to change this and be for the people and for the owners of the small radio stations they have more to offer its employees.You should be helping them and standing by them not trying to do away with them.This Bill HR-1733 no way, should even be thought about.I am a listener and viewer of the Bulls Eyes Radio station. This station has given me such enjoyment and brought back many good memories for me. …BUT YOUR WRONG IN YOUR ACTIONS FOR ALL SMALL RADIO STATIONS. THIS IS ONLY MY OPINION HERE. THANK YOU

  21. Please don’t shut down small radio stations make it affordable for us to listen to good music and converse. Don’t let the big stations take over and don’t care about the people who listen. Please help bullseye radio stay operating

  22. As Rusty said above, it would be way premature for anyone to shut their streams down at this point. In my opinion SoundExchange is quite likely to offer a payment structure similar to what we paid under the SWSA. They’re not evil, and they’re scrambling too at this point.

    Seems like a good time to relax, enjoy some holiday cheer, & see what the new year brings.

  23. [EDITOR’S NOTE]: A comment invoking Hitler has been removed from the conversation. Passionate feelings, activism, and information-sharing are welcome on this page. The comments remain open, but no more references to Hitler or other institutionalized figures of evil. Thanks.

  24. Reminder:

    Annual minimum fees for 2016 are due on Monday, February 1, 2016. If you are a webcaster or business establishment service, and haven’t already done so, why not do it today? Please log into SoundExchange Licensee Direct and confirm, certify and (yes) electronically pay for your 2016 minimum fee online! Webcasters can pay their 2016 minimum fee online starting today: Wednesday, December 23. (Some users may need to visit the “Update your users” section to renew their profile and/or permissions before having full 2016 access. If you need further assistance, please contact the admin user for your service or email Licensee Relations.)

    2016-2020 Webcasting Rates

    The Copyright Royalty Board announced on December 16 the 2016-2020 rates and terms for Commercial Webcasters, Broadcasters, and Noncommercial Webcasters. The annual minimum fees for these three categories generally remain the same as in previous years: $500 per station/channel, with commercial services having a $50,000 cap on their annual minimum fee. As in the past, the annual minimum fee will be credited toward the services’ additional royalty fees.

    For services that exceed the usage covered by the minimum fee, the services will pay for the additional usage at the following per-performance rates: in 2016, nonsubscription Commercial Webcasters and Broadcasters will pay $0.0017 per performance, and subscription Commercial Webcasters and Broadcasters will pay $0.0022 per performance. Noncommercial Webcasters will only make additional payments (at a rate of $0.0017 per performance ) beyond their annual minimum fee if they exceed a monthly threshold of 159,140 aggregate tuning hours (ATH). (This threshold is the same as in previous years.) The rates for each subsequent year will be based on the previous year’s rates and will be adjusted upward or downward according to the Consumer Price Index for each year.

    Also going into effect on January 1, 2016 are the 2016-2020 rates and terms for Noncommercial Educational Webcasters and public radio stations, which resulted from settlements that SoundExchange reached with College Broadcasters, Inc. and NPR/Corporation for Public Broadcasting, respectively. As in previous years, Noncommercial Educational Webcasters will pay a $500 annual minimum fee per station/channel, which covers up to 159,140 ATH each month. If a Noncommercial Educational Webcaster exceeds that threshold, it will pay for the additional performances at the same rate of $0.0017 that applies to Noncommercial Webcasters. Noncommercial Educational Webcasters will remain eligible for the reporting waiver if they pay the additional $100 reporting waiver fee and limit their usage to 80,000 ATH per month (a threshold that has increased from 55,000 ATH per month in previous years). For public radio stations, their royalties are covered by a flat fee paid on their behalf by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

    For more information, please visit our Services information page or log into SoundExchange Licensee Direct.

    Announcement – ROU Augmentation:

    International Standard Recording Codes (ISRCs) are the “gold standard” of metadata when it comes to identifying sound recordings. SoundExchange is pleased to announce that our Reports of Use (ROU) Augmentation process for licensees is now live. Services logging into SoundExchange Licensee Direct are able to access their submitted ROUs that we have augmented (where possible) with ISRCs, populated from our vast repertoire database. We encourage services to download these augmented files and populate your own databases with matched ISRCs, so that your future submissions can include them. This improves the efficiency for the entire royalty distribution process, for both SoundExchange and you. Please visit SoundExchange Licensee Direct today to see how much of your submitted ROUs now contain ISRCs.

    Geofencing and the 150 Mile Rule:

    Occasionally SoundExchange receives questions about a technique known as “geofencing.” Geofencing technology is intended to make internet transmissions inaccessible to users outside a certain geographic area. One reason we are asked about this technology is that the Copyright Act includes an exemption for certain digital retransmissions of radio broadcasts over cable systems when those retransmissions are limited to audiences within a 150-mile radius of the radio transmitter making the initial transmission. Broadcasters who also webcast are sometimes under the mistaken belief that if they geofence their internet transmissions (to within a 150 mile radius), they do not have to pay royalties.

    However, the United States Copyright Office (the agency that interprets and applies the Copyright Act) has ruled that this exemption does not apply to transmissions made over the internet. Therefore, any radio station webcasts must still be paid for via the statutory licenses SoundExchange administers or through direct licenses. For more information, please refer to our FAQ on this issue.

    Check us out on the road:

    College Media Association Spring National College Media Convention 2016
    March 12-15, 2016 | New York, NY

    Remaining due dates for most services through
    March 31, 2016*:

    Thursday, January 14: November 2015 royalties and ROUs
    Monday, February 1: 2016 minimum fees
    Monday, February 15: December 2015 royalties and ROUs (and 2015 Q4 ROUs for many noncommercial webcasters)
    Wednesday, March 16: January 2016 royalties and ROUs

  25. According the Newsletter from SoundExchange…even if you turn off your USA traffic, you still have to pay for it. What a joke! These people are just pure EVIL!

    • “The United States Copyright Office (the agency that interprets and applies the Copyright Act) has ruled that this exemption does not apply to transmissions made over the internet. Therefore, any radio station webcasts must still be paid for via the statutory licenses”

      THEY MUST BE STOPPED!!!!

    • Actually, if you take a closer look at the information you posted you will see that it does not say that at all.

      The “geofencing” describes blocking listeners OUTSIDE of a 150 mile radius of an AM/FM radio station. What Rusty was talking about blocking listeners WITHIN the US. And he is correct in that SoundExchange has no jurisdiction outside of the US.

      My suggestion is to pay attention to the advice of both Rusty and Bill and wait to see what they eventually do. They have both been webcasting for a long time and have been through these battles before. They have a lot invested and a lot at stake. My guess is they have no desire to go down without a fight – and Rusty’s comments suggest that he does not plan to.

      And they are both correct – it is the holidays and nobody outside of those immediately impacted are paying much attention. People are busy with holiday plans and many are out of town. Any fight now will not get much notice. In January people will be more able and likely to pay attention.

      It is perfectly understandable to be angry (I am so angry I am “Disgusted”) – and there may come a time when the fire and anger will come in handy. But it needs to be targeted to the right place and at the appropriate time. Otherwise it becomes nothing more than emotionalistic venting – which may help one feel better temporarily but which really does not accomplish much in the long run.

      Also note the first sentence of the information you posted: “Annual minimum fees for 2016 are due on Monday, February 1, 2016” That might perhaps explain the logic of Rusty’s advice to hold off on shutting down your stations until the end of January. If a SWA is offered before then it will still be possible to submit the 2016 minimum in time. And if there is no SWA before February 1 and you go out of business on January 31……well, it is pretty hard to collect money from a business that is out of business and most small webcasting businesses are not going to enough cash left over to cover .0017 per song per listener use from January. If you go out of business on January 1 SoundExchange collects $0. If SoundExchange does not offer a viable alternative and you are forced out of business on January 31, SoundExchange still collects $0. It is not possible to get blood from a turnip, especially if the turnip is defunct.

  26. Believe me, I understand the frustration, but may I suggest that any harsh venting be postponed until we’re sure there’s no chance of a negotiated deal for small webcasters. I don’t want to sound preachy, just practical – verbal attacks won’t help the real cause here.

  27. The Copyright Royalty Board posted an amended version of the ruling on Wednesday and it is visible at http://www.loc.gov/crb/web-iv/amended-web-iv-terms.pdf

    Looking through to see if there was anything that might allow for a settlement for small and medium sized webcasters the only thing I could find was this from the Forward section:

    “To the extent there is a conflict between the terms finalized by the Judges’ determination and the terms adopted earlier based on the agreements of parties, the agreed terms shall control.”

    Does that wording give SoundExchange the ability to extend the terms of the SWAs from the previous period into 2016-2020? Do the SWAs count as “terms adopted earlier based on the agreements of parties,”? I’m not a lawyer so I have no idea. But maybe there is a glimmer of hope for webcasters here?????,,,,,

    There is also this from subpart A:

    “(d) Voluntary agreements. Notwithstanding the royalty rates and terms established in any Subparts of this Part 380, the rates and terms of any license agreements entered into by Copyright Owners and Licensees may apply in lieu of these rates and terms.”

    I am pretty sure that this passage only refers to direct license agreements and does not refer to previous SWAs.

    • Upon closer examination, I now think that “the agreements of parties” in the CRB document probably refers to just the agreements SoundExchange made with non-commercial educational webcasters and public broadcasters mentioned in subparts C and D of the document and not the previous SWAs. But perhaps if SoundExchange has the authority to enter into such agreements with the non-educational webcasters and public broadcasters without going to Congress mayby they have the same authority to do so with small and medium sized webcasters.

  28. This is such a travesty of justice.. and against everything America stands for.. I pray, and I did on my radio show last week.. that God shows them the gravity of what are doing..and what ever the outcome may be, that we find peace with it.. Does not mean I am sitting still my any means for this.. I will fight , as is my right.. to the bitter end to have this reversed.. We (small broadcasters) are David , among the Giants.. and they fell so very hard.. Please write.. scream.. holler.. kick until they listen.. I certainly am..

  29. When commercial radio wasn’t allowed in many European countries the radio entrepeneurs got offshore to international waters. Now there is the Darknet and the TOR network. If I may suggest …

  30. As Rusty and Bill mentioned above, hanging on at least through January to see if something positive will emerge for small webcasters is probably a good idea. I spoke with a Soundexchange rep right before Christmas who told me the only option at that point was paying under the Commercial Broadcaster rate, and he didn’t know if or when Soundexchange would announce anything further regarding this insanity.

    Live365, who I’ve been with since 2001 as a broadcaster, sent an email stating that if we didn’t select the PRO package under their new options, that our stations would be switched to VIP (subscribed) listeners only on Jan 1st. No word on whether or not we would still have control of our stations at that point, or if Live365 will just continue to broadcast them for their own benefit, shutting us out completely. But for now I’m going to do all I can to make our listeners aware of what’s going on, and try to hang on through the new year…

  31. i have read a lot of opinion’s on here tonight or i should say 4:15 am, trying to read them all ! i do agree with all that has been said to the extent of saying i and my wife listen to chilltrax radio radio and have listened and liked to live 365 chill music we very much enjoy these chill music genre’s however lately we have had discussions on this subject the decision by the crb there are so many way’s to take this problem my way is this was planned the crb and they conspired to get this idea off the ground and lied there teeth off even in court and to the public how eles could you look at it ? they used legal means to do it as in a court which no one from online radio was present for and they knew it there was no one to contest this or to fight this decision for a review of the future’s of the radio station’s online in other word’s the judge really did not take the time to understand what his decision was really doing to online radio station’s ! this is only my opinion i believe that this whole thing should not only be the attention of congress but the ftc federal trade commission they need to investigate the whole deal as for amount they want online station’s to pay and that it was a intentional move toward’s running out the small online station common sense would show them how many stations it would force into shutting down ! i read where the judge had a hard time making the decision well if that is the case it seems he did not fully understand what his decision would do for smaller online radio station’s and that leaves me wondering about an federal injunction to suspend this crb decision pending a review of the judges decision and side effect’s of the future for thing like new artist promotion which would not be possible without stations to play them and you know as god made little green apples you are never going to hear chill music on fm radio and so it just gets worse for music artist who want their music to be on the air and played that is what tells me the judge did not know what he was fully doing in this case other wise he might have taken more time to think about what his decision and made a different decision ! the online station’s need to band together and appoint a advocate for all the station’s to represent the station’s file legal action for appeal on this decision if not a federal stop injunction on this decision let congress know as well ! work them as the crb worked you the stations we as listener’s support you however this is something you as station owners need to have a meeting online or in person or phone and get everyone you can together for and all out legal offensive elect a advocate from the group at the meeting combined resources and go on the offensive !

    • Thanks for the comment Vince, and for your passion. A few important corrections:
      1. The CRB process is not corrupt. There is no conspiracy. It is a 3-judge panel. The process is long, meticulous, and mostly exposed to the public.
      2. The CRB has nothing to do with the small webcaster issue. The CRB’s only job is to set a single royalty rate for commercial webcasters, which it did. All variants in the past, including the small webcaster rates, have been created by SoundExchange and its label clients. That agreement is expiring, which is not a matter for CRB judgment.
      3. If small webcasters organize to petition for a new special rate provision, as you suggest, it is SoundExchange they must approach.

  32. Once again, in spite of its phony rhetoric, government shows its true purpose: the protection of the interests of the incumbent elite. You’d think people would have figured it out by now.

    “The sole invariable characteristic of the State is the economic exploitation of one class by another.” -Albert Jay Nock

  33. May 2016 and still . . . . .5 months . . . . . .and no noe doing nothing about this . . . . . .really pathetic !
    I think every leader we have should be fired !
    I wanna see trump in so bad ! I hope he kicks ass and tells em all to F*** Off !

  34. Hands off the Internet Radio Station we depending on Internet Radio as Listener. Government has no business in the Broadcasting Business rather internet radio state internet Television Station. It belongs in the Free Markets…Not the Federal Governments

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