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College radio webcasting gets quick settlement for 2016-2020 royalty period

princeton university

Holder Hall, Princeton University, where the WPRB tower is located

College radio stations, represented by College Broadcasters, Inc. (CBI), will see their webcast royalty rates for the use of music recordings unchanged in the looming 2016-2020 royalty period. Most stations will use a simplified “proxy” reporting method to SoundExchange, an easier administrative process than the fastidious reporting that commercial stations must supply.

The agreement is a settlement of a litigation process between CBI and SoundExchange, and must be approved by the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB). “We have asked the CRB to determine a specific timeline to finalize approval of the settlement, which would allow us to cease litigation in this matter as soon as possible,” said CBI Will Executive Director Robedee, who also noted, “The previous settlement we reached with SoundExchange took many months to be approved” — clearly a request that the CRB not keep them waiting so long this time.

The three-judge CRB panel is entering its busy season this week, having just collected argument briefs from participating webcasters for the year-long process of deciding on music licensing rates for the upcoming five-year period.

The CBI expects 96% compliance with the settlement terms throughout the college radio realm. The threshold of eligibility for the easier “proxy” reporting method rises in this agreement from 55,000 listener hours to 80,000.

The upshot — college radio generally can look forward to status-quo music licensing through 2020, with many stations getting relief from laborious and costly SoundExchange reporting.

Brad Hill

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