Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Sound Exchange Backs Down on High Royalty Rates ( sorta)

In a decision that will benefit small webcasters with less than 1.25 million in revenues, Sound Exchange, the recording industry's royalty collection service for satellite and web radio, has announced "lower" rates for certain audio streaming websites. Instead they want 10%-12% of your business.

Dubbed the "Small Webcaster Settlement Act", the latest revision extends the offer to keep providing reduced music use rates for the smaller affiliates of the fledgling web broadcasting industry, although only until 2010. Successful corporate owned websites with larger revenue bases above 1.25 million annually will be required to pony up, including retroactive payments dating back to Jan 2006.

Sound Exchange points out that federal judges set the new royalty rates only after looking at over 13,000 pages of transcripted evidence and various factors presented by both sides, with judges attempting to make a fair compromise that insures music producers and copyright holders are not left out of the compensation game.

In the Small Webcaster Settlement Act", Sound Exchange is asking for 10% of all gross revenues from music streaming websites up to $250,000, and 12% of gross if the website exceeds a quarter million in revenue, basically guaranteeing webcasters no increase in royalty rates until 2010, freezing them at 1998 levels.

Of course this still does not make people happy, including the SaveNetRadio coalition whose spokesman Jake Ward fumed, then opined companies he represents will just work the system anyway " There's no question that Webcasters with government-set revenue caps would invest less, innovate less and promote less."

SaveNetRadio, purports to represent small websites and even represent some artists, but is actually largely funded by corporate money from AOL, Microsoft, Clear Channel etc who are hoping to roll back artist compensation and avoid paying $100's of millions in potential web royalties.

Artists who could benefit from the ruling are strangely silent, while their fans , Podcasters, Web Streamers and other users of music on the web have circled the wagons against Sound Exchange. One of the more interesting things to surface when looking into Sound Exchange is that around half of the millions in money they've collected for artists has never been paid out.

Here's a list of some of the acts they say they can't locate a list, and if after three years your money goes unclaimed, Sound Exchange can keep your royalties...

It's not just obscure artists either, check out this recent clip from WFMU's blog posted by Station Manager Ken

"...If they can't find them, they have no choice other than to pocket these artist's cash. And it's all legal.

Sound Exchange's "Unpaid Artist List" includes such recluses as Ted Nugent (for the Amboy Dukes), Kraftwerk, Kruder and Dorfmeister, Pizzicatto Five and The Dust Brothers, to name but a few.

If only these artists could be located, then Sound Exchange could pay them their
hard earned royalties! After all, this is exactly what Sound Exchange exists to
do. What a shame that artists like Lene Lovich, X-Ray Spex and Rita Lee can't be found.

As the Sound Exchange website states: "If you know any of the featured
artists contained on this list or have contact information for them, we would
greatly appreciate it if you would notify them that SoundExchange is looking to
pay them the royalties they are due."

I called a buddy of mine who had 62 copyrights listed as administered by Sound Exchange, he found their website to be daunting if not intimidating , and looks like he'll have to file possibly 62 times to get the possible 62 cents he could be earning off those tracks... I hope he can get all the filing done within three years... or he forefits the money apparently.

In federal judicial hearings over the royalty rates issue Sound Exchange was supported by witnesses including companies like Atlantic & Sony records, Alligator Records, and opposed by companies like Yahoo!, Susquehanna Broadcasting, and Live 365.

At stake were digital performance rates, broadcast or transmission fees or whatever ya wanna call em, and basically if someone owns the song, or the rights to the performance, in order to legally transmit that, you gotta pay and be in compliance with federal statutes.

see 6 Second False Start
Charles Mingus In Paris - The Complete America Session

Download "Reincarnation Of A Lovebird [third false start]" (mp3)
from "Charles Mingus In Paris - The Complete America Session"
by Charles Mingus

    More On This Album

    or how about the royalty free Birthday Song from Jason Bentley's band the Ice Weasels...

    Ice Weasels - Royalty Free Birthday song

    Ice Weasels - Royalty Free Birthday Song ( Mobfront Adagio Remix)

    what, I linked ya up two versions fer god sakes and it's still not good enough for ya?

    damn heathen interweb users...

    here... a couple last stabs at pleasing y'all...

    here's a track from the forthcoming new release from Ray's Vast Basement... a band that I only ever knew from a dusty, faded but intriguing flyer I would pass by for years in a window in a 24th St storefront...

    Apparently the album is ready...and it's all music based on Steinbeck... this song here is based on the Grapes of Wrath. I 'd say it's a safe sonic excursion for fans of Kelley Stoltz, California's Gone

    Starvation Under Orange Trees

    Download "California's Gone" (mp3)
    from "Starvation Under Orange Trees"
    by Ray's Vast Basement
    Howells Transmitter

      More On This Album

      and for those that care, what do we do with the recordings that were never authorized in the first place, the remixed & rehashed...the mash ups...

      Can we really sink those sick rotted legal teeth into...this stuff

      DJ John vs AC/DC vs Michael Jackson - For Those About To Don't Stop

      Hank Handy - Beatles Mash up Medley

      Dj Lobsterdust - Rod Stewart vs Justin Timberlake vs Le Tigre vs DFA - Deceptiback

      Bobby Martini vs Genesis vs Coldplay etc - Mama In The Tomb
      Matisyahu vs Rolling Stone - Chop Em Down Miss You Mash

      howz about some Pomatic Mixes...

      Ne-Yo vs Craig David ft Nate Dogg & Mos Def - 7 Sick Days

      Mylo vs Twista ft Kanye - Drop The Overnite Pressure

      or these smartly undressed tunes...

      Creepsville - Peaches vs Pete's Record Collection

      The Who Boys - Revolution Uber Alles DKs vs Gil Scott

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