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.
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Mechanical Licensing Collective hires three execs

The Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC), the government-appointed and regulated agency for collecting and distributing blanket compulsory mechanical license for digital music services, has hired three new executives. The MLC was formed from the Music Modernaization Act of 2018. Last month the unit received a first stash of $424-million in royalty payments from Apple, Spotify, Google, Pandora, and 15 other streaming entites for distribution.  Continue Reading

ASCAP and BMI jointly comment on DOJ review of consent decrees in a middle-road acceptance of no change

ASCAP sent us an open letter written jointly with BMI to Makan Delrahim, the Assistant Attorney General for the Antitrust Division of the United States Department of Justice. The subject is a recently concluded DoJ review of consent decrees, the government regulated law which compels ASCAP and BMI to license creative musical works at a set royalty structure. ASCAP and BMI don’t like being compelled. Congress doesn’t like choking a pipeline of content availability to distributors. The latest result is that the 80-year-old law will continue without change for now … and there was an unexpected twist in the proceedings. Continue Reading

Local Radio Freedom Act resolution reaches majority support; musicFIRST replies

It’s not binding legislation. The Local Radio Freedom Act is a resolution bill which declares support among House Representatives in D.C. for opposing a performance royalty levied on American radio. As of this week, with the addition of 12 new signatures, the current House of  Representatives is not majority aligned against a royalty … which the NAB calls a “tax.” Advocacy group musicFIRST sent us an opposition statement. Continue Reading


Michael Robertson: Is the Spotify Deal With Joe Rogan Illegal?

by Michael Robertson

This guest contribution by iconic digital audio entrepreneur Michael Robertson digs into the U.S. copyright code and finds a statute which might relate to, and potentially invalidate, Spotify’s exclusive distribution deal with Joe Rogan. Continue Reading


Artist and consumer rights organizations petition Justice Department to block Liberty Media/iHeart deal

Liberty Media is a powerful force in music, with holdings in Sirius XM, Pandora, and Live Nation/Ticketmaster. After the Sirius XM and Pandora deal closed, the rumors turned next to Liberty having an interest in iHeartMedia. A group of consumer rights advocates and an artists’ rights organization have teamed up to send a letter to the Justice Department to oppose that possible acquisition. Continue Reading


ASCAP delays April payments as coronavirus creates ripple effect through music industry finances

The coronavirus pandemic has already had an impact on music consumption and performance around the world. Performing rights organization ASCAP is the latest company to share changes as a result of the disease. President and Chairman Paul Williams told members in an email that the organization is postponing its scheduled April 6 payments to April 28. Continue Reading