The Future of Internet Radio in the USA Looking Brighter

27 08 2007

In an announcement that will allow Internet radio to thrive in the USA for the foreseeable future, Internet music broadcasters have won a huge battle in the ongoing war with Sound Exchange, an independent, nonprofit organization designated by the U.S. Copyright Office to collect royalty fees for music played digital cable and satellite television music, internet and satellite radio.

This summer the Copyright Board pushed for rate hikes that would have put many large webcasters out of business due to royalty fees that far exceeded webcasting revenue, but the newly agreed upon rates have both a floor and a ceiling of $500 and $50,000, respectively — numbers far more manageable for most webcasters. To give you an example, popular online music services such as Yahoo! Music, Live 365 and Last.FM could have owed hundreds of thousands of dollars a year if the rate hikes went into effect. While this announcement doesn’t directly affect the podcast industry, this compromise is a positive step toward the U.S. government recognizing the benefits of audio (and video) delivered to people over the Internet, and that is certainly a good thing.

Here’s the press release [PDF] about this announcement.

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