Seattle Office of Film + Music

October 19, 2009, 11:07 am
Filed under: Digital Media, Music | Tags: , ,

Hollywood Reporter
Legislation to make radio stations pay royalties to performers when they broadcast their music won the Senate Judiciary Committee’s approval Thursday. Satellite radio, Internet radio and cable TV music channels already pay fees to performers and musicians, along with songwriter royalties. AM and FM radio stations just pay songwriters, not performers. Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said the bill corrects a glaring inequity. “When we listen to music, we are enjoying the intellectual property of two creative artists — the songwriter and the performer,” he said.

September 1, 2009, 10:55 am
Filed under: Digital Media, Music | Tags: ,
Internet radio provider Live365, one of the few webcasters to turn down the recent SoundExchange compromise agreement for streaming royalty rates, is taking a decidedly different approach to the ongoing dispute – by challenging the constitutionality of the Copyright Royalty Board. The basis for this challenge is a recent U.S. Court of Appeals opinion in the District of Columbia. “Billions of dollars and the fates of entire industries can ride on the Copyright Royalty Board’s decisions,” the opinion reads. “(The CRB) exercises expansive executive authority … unsupervised by the Librarian of Congress or by any other Executive Branch official.” Building off that statement, Live365 filed a federal lawsuit the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia seeking an injunction against all further CRB proceedings until the constitutionality of the entity can be resolved. The suit comes on the cusp of the start of new royalty setting proceedings.


Artists and record labels have reached agreement with Internet radio companies over royalty rates, resolving a dispute that dates back more than two years over how to divvy up revenue from streaming music on the Web. The deal establishes a two-tier royalty payment system for companies — such as the popular service offered by Pandora — that broadcast music over the Internet. The agreement calls for large webcasters to pay artists and copyright owners a percentage of all U.S. revenue up to 25 percent or on a per-song basis, which ever is greater. Smaller webcasters — with revenue of less than $1.25 million — will pay a smaller percentage under a different formula. The agreement was announced Tuesday by SoundExchange, a nonprofit group designated by the U.S. Copyright Office to collect and distribute digital music royalties. The group’s members include large record companies such as Sony BMG and Warner Music Group, as well as more than 2,500 independent labels.

July 6, 2009, 1:03 pm
Filed under: Digital Media | Tags: , ,
Michael Jackson’s death continues to resonate in the world of online music as fans flock to the Web to purchase his music-and stream tons of it for free, often without many ads. That surge is seen as a boost to the fast-growing Web music sector (95 million unique users, per comScore). But it has also cast light on the segment’s nascent business model. On one end of the spectrum is the more established Internet radio format-which is built on radio-like audio ads. At the other end are the growing number of on-demand music sites, such as MySpace and Imeem, which offer users the ability to stream free playlists. That often happens while their eyes are focused on something other than a Web page-a potential problem for businesses built on visual display ads. But this downside for visual ads might be offset by branding potential. “Being associated with free Web music is attractive to a lot of brands”, said James Kiernan senior VP, group director, MediaVest USA. “Playlists have become currency in social networks,” he said. “Certain advertisers are drawn to that influencer equity.”
That more often means custom sponsorships, like brand-sponsored playlists, rather than radio-like audio ads. Kiernan believes that is the right approach. “This medium needs to be approached a little differently than radio.”