Podcasters now have a large catalog of (very old) music to legally use

Before this year, no music recording has ever resided in the public domain under U.S. federal copyright law. As of January 1 the situation has changed: Any recording made before 1923 is in the public domain now, and can be freely used. Not much practical application for podcasters, admittedly. But 400,000 records released to free use is a blockbuster milestone in music copyright, and a fascinating trove. Click through for collections that anyone can explore. Continue Reading

2021 U.S. music revenue, driven by streaming, on pace to set new record (RAIN projection)

The U.S. recorded music industry is projected to exceed a 48-year revenue record set in 1999, according to RAIN’s examination of reports from the RIAA. The historical revenue high point was set in 1999 at $14.6-billion in recorded music revenue. Based on a persistent trend of H2 revenue exceeding H1 revenue, we project a new high water mark driven by streaming, the most lucrative channel for music labels. Click through for details and infographics. Continue Reading

Jokes are lyrics: Royalty activism on behalf of comedians raised to new pitch

Copyright activists, comedians, and streaming services have roiled during the last week over new efforts to pay comedians for their ownership of written material in addition to royalties for recordings of comedy albums. Right administrator Spoken Giants is in the middle of it. Some comedy albums have been removed from some streaming services. Click to untangle the controversy. Continue Reading


“We were not surprised.” Jon Stephenson, head of Live365, on the new CRB royalty rates

In a continuing follow-up to Friday’s CRB (Copyright Royalty Board) ruling on non-interactive music streaming royalty rates (called Web V), we spoke to Jon Stephenson, CEO of Media Creek, the parent company of webcasting platform Live365. Good planning and a big platform are easing the transition into a new royalty-rate period. Continue Reading

“A higher barrier to entry.” “Will they double again in 5 years?” Two renowned webcasters share CRB reactions.

As the CRB unleashes higher music licensing fees for webcasters, we ask two pioneering and enduring webcasters for their reactions. Rusty Hodge (SomaFM) and Bill Goldsmith (Radio Paradise) gave us insights and wishes for the industry. Should there be a zero-royalty zone? And how will YouTube play in this field? Continue Reading


Copyright Royalty Board unleashes new royalty rates for internet radio and streaming music

Delayed five months by Covid, the U.S. Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) released its new government-regulated royalty rates for the use of recordings on non-interactive streaming. This every-five-year exercise is a crucial business factor for commercial and non-commercial companies which stream music to American audiences. The rate goes up, and minimum payments per channel double. Click for details. Continue Reading

Spotify’s Discovery Mode under query by Congress: The issues and actions

Spotify CEO and Chairman Daniel Ek has received a letter from the Judiciary Committee of the U.S. Congress. The letter questions the working and purpose of Spotify’s relatively new “Discovery Mode,” a promotional tool offered to recording artists and record labels which influences which songs get onto listener playlists in exchange for lower royalty rates when those placements are streamed — a potential payola issue. Click for an explanation of Discovery Mode and the complete letter. Continue Reading

David Oxenford: Copyright Royalty Board Decision on Webcasting Royalties Expected by June 14 – What Will the Streaming Rates for 2021-2025 Be?

by David Oxenford

This vital guest column by David Oxenford summarizes the royalty rate arguments put before the U.S. Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) for a ruling expected by mid-June. In normal times that ruling would have been delivered before January 1, but this every-five-year cycle has been delayed by Covid. The outcome will chart the financial course for webcasters of all sizes in the 2021-2025 period.
Continue Reading