American Music Fairness Act reenters Congress, probably bound for stalemate

It has been in circulation since 2021, when the American Music Fairness Act was introduced to Congress.The proposed bill intends to rectify what musicians and their chief lobbying organization, SoundExchange, call a “decades-long injustice.” The argument is over a historical anamoly which has always exempted broadcast radio stations from paying creator royalties — songwriters for the most part. 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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NAB’s post-Norway promise to FM in the U.S.: “A thousand times No”

As we reported, Norway has started turning off its nationally operated FM transmitters and switching radio stations across the country over to DAB digital. In an era when first-movers signal future mainstream, it’s natural for U.S. broadcasters to get the shivers. The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) addressed the matter head on. Continue Reading


Copyright Royalty Board to NAB: Well done, but no dice

One of the most interesting aspects of the full determination just released by the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) is the detailed argument put forward by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) that radio simulcasts should pay a lower music royalty rate than pureplay webcasting (e.g. Pandora). The copyright judges praised the NAB witness presentations, but ultimately rejected the attempt. Continue Reading

Local Radio Freedom Act arrives in Congress

One of the most intractable issues in music licensing is broadcast radio’s exemption from performance royalties to artists and labels for the use of recorded music. The exemption has the weight of history: It has always been so in the U.S., though not in most other countries with government-regulated music licensing. The situation’s rarity is not of concern to advocates of radio’s licensing privilege, who assert that radio’s traditional role in driving awareness, success, and sales of music performers is as vital today as ever. Continue Reading

Webcast parties file arguments with Copyright Royalty Board; we look at NAB and SoundExchange

Webcast companies have filed written arguments with the Copyright Royalty Board, as the streaming industry moves inexorably toward a new licensing period for the use of music recordings starting in 2016. The filing deadline was last night at midnight.

The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and SoundExchange have both filed their documents. The two petitions use some of the same language, but to opposite purposes. We examine both arguments. Continue Reading