Web VI streaming royalty rate-setting process begins; participants revealed

The U.S. Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) has released a participant list in “Web VI” — the petitioning and rate-setting process which will determine what streaming outlets must pay music owners in the 2026-2030 royalty period. This every-five-year exercise is conducted by the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB), which sets the rates.

The process pits the two sides of streaming music royalties in an arbitration process that will take place next year. On the publishing side are major streaming outlets which argue for low rates. On the recipient side is SoundExchange, the government-appointed agency which collects and distributes royalties on behalf of artists and labels. The result is usually a compromise which sits between the argued rate requests.

[The following paragraph contains a correction. We originally stated the cost of entry was $150,000. The actual filing fee is $150 before before the expenses of meaningful participation. See below.]

The participant list (“Party list“) itemizes the streaming organizations which are participating. (See below.) Any streaming entity may file for participation, with a $150 filing fee. But in speaking with one paticipant, an ex-participant, and a participating attorney, our understanding is that the real and total cost of participation runs to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“It is a process not designed for small participants.” David D. Oxenford (Partner, Wilkinson Barker Knauer)

Acordingly, the participant list is short: There are twelve entities for Web VI. They are:

  • AccuRadio (whose founder and CEO, Kurt Hanson, also founded RAIN News)
  • Educational Media Foundation
  • George Johnson (known as GEO)
  • Google LLC
  • National Religious Broadcasters Music License Committee
  • Public Broadcasting Entities
  • Sirius XM Radio Inc. / Pandora Media, LLC
  • SoundExchange Joint Petitioners (see below)
  • Stingray Music USA Inc.
  • The National Association of Broadcasters (representing the streaming side of commercial radio)
  • TuneSat, LLC
  • Word Collections, Inc.

In the list above, “SoundExchange Joint Petitioners” is a coordinated group of participants on the receiving end of royalty payments. They argue for higher rates. The major labels participate through this entity. Individual organizations represented here are:

  • American Association of Independent Music
  • American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada
  • Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists
  • Secretly Group
  • Sony Music Entertainment
  • SoundExchange, Inc.
  • UMG Recordings, Inc.
  • Warner Music Group Corp.

Much more detail for the above participant list HERE.

Brad Hill