In a recent press release, Clear Channel Communications announced an agreement with mSpot Radio to provide the programming of over 100 Clear Channel radio stations to mobile phone users. Interestingly, this announcement comes in he thick of the battle over the new royalty rates for the streaming of music on the Internet. In recent pleadings seeking rehearing of the decision of the Copyright Royalty Board setting those rates, SoundExchange (the collective that collects the royalties on behalf of Copyright owners and musicians) raised only one issue. The sole issue on which SoundExchange requested clarification was whether the royalties that were recently adopted would apply to mobile phone transmissions of programming containing music.
A brave move in light of the current royalty decision – one perhaps reflecting the desire to have radio programming everywhere a listener wants it, or one that foresees revenues from the wireless phone companies compensating the parties for the costs involved. It will be interesting to see how this roll out of radio stations on mobile phones progresses.