For nearly two years now, the battle has raged on between SoundExchange and webcasters. Following close on the heels of another agreement recently hammered out with the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, this agreement does not cover webcasting in general, only simulcast shows.
Via Jon Healy of The Los Angeles Times:
Under the deal announced today, local radio stations will pay a per-song rate of $1.50 per thousand listeners in 2009 and 2010, compared with the [Copyright Royalty Board] CRB’s $1.80 and $1.90, respectively. But the deal also calls for rates to rise to $2.50 by 2015. It’s worth noting that commercial radio simulcasts (simultaneous online transmissions of over-the-air feeds) can be more lucrative than made-for-the-Internet webcasts because they cost little to produce and include far more commercials per hour.
Thirty to forty cents per thousand is an important reduction. When you consider the formidable reach that radio has, these pennies mount up at an amazing rate. In my local area, I can think of very few radio stations that do not stream a simulcast. As a matter of fact, I tend to listen to my local stations just as much on the net as I do over the air. I also know that I am far from alone in this. After all, broadcast can reach places the Net cannot and the Net can reach some places broadcast cannot. In the modern age, it is positively vital to have both.
As Mr. Healy points out, commercial webcasters, religious broadcasters, college radio and hobby webcasters are still waiting for an agreement that will determine their fate as pertains to royalties. With two agreements reached in the past month, we can only hope for the trend to continue.