SoundExchange has posted on its website this afternoon four press releases announcing new settlements of amounts due for Internet radio music royalties. These settlements were negotiated under the provisions of the Webcaster Settlement Act of 2009. The announcement lists settlements with two noncommercial groups representing College Broadcasters and noncommercial religious broadcasters, as well as a deal with Sirius XM for their streaming of music. The fourth deal is with a group to be named later – a little mystery that sounds like something out of a trade of baseball players done right at the trading deadline. In effect, that is the case here, as yesterday was the final date for deals to be done under the terms of the WSA. These deals join the Pureplay Webcasters settlement announced earlier this month, as well as the deals with the Corporation for Public Broadcasting for NPR affiliates, the NAB for commercial broadcasters, and with microcasters done in February under the terms of the Webcasters Settlement Act of 2008 (links to our description of these deals can be found here).
The press releases do not release detailed terms. For Sirius, the release states that the parties agreed to a per performance rate which is not specified, covering webcasting royalties through 2015. These rates do not apply to Sirius performances that are done by satellite, which are covered by the Copyright Royalty Board rates recently upheld by the US Court of Appeals. Instead, these rates only cover the streaming of Sirius programming done over the Internet or to mobile devices using Internet technology. The Collegiate Broadcasters agreed to a rate that provided the flat $500 fee for the first 159,140 aggregate tuning hours a month set by the CRB decision, and then per performance fees at the NAB rates for all streaming above that amount. The religious broadcasters deal is less defined, discussing a per performance rate, but not providing any more details of the agreement. For both noncommercial groups, there are references to reduced recordkeeping requirements for some webcasters, but again, those have not yet been detailed.
We will provide more details about these agreements when they are available, and we’ll tell you about the fourth deal once that party is revealed. With these settlements, SoundExchange has announced deals with many, but not all, of the parties who were to participate in the proceeding to determine Internet radio royalty rates for 2011-2015. No deals have been announced with several large webcasters who are not "pureplays", i.e. they have substantial business outside of noninteractive webcasting. NPR also filed to participate in the new proceeding, as their announced deal only covers the period from 2006-2010. Whether any of these webcasters are the the "group to be named later" remains to be seen.