The new iPhone, connecting as it does to ATT’s high speed wireless network, has allowed Internet radio to go wireless. While this has been possible on many platforms in the past, it has never been as easy, seamless, ubiquitous and as promoted as with the new iPhone. The CBS radio stations on AOL Radio, Pandora and Soma FM are all available, as are add-on applications that open the door to streaming many other Internet radio stations. Tim Westergrin of Pandora was quoted as stating that the iPhone would change people’s expectations of Internet radio, making it "a 360-degree solution – in the car, in the home, on the go." But, as with any application that increases the audience of Internet radio, it comes with a cost, as the delivery of Internet radio by a mobile device, like a wireless phone, is subject to the same royalties established by the Copyright Royalty Board last year and currently in effect while on appeal – rates that are computed by the "performance," i.e. one song streamed to one listener (see our reminder on the per performance payment, here).
In the requests for reconsideration of last year’s CRB decision, SoundExchange had asked that the Board make clear that its decision applied to noninteractive streams (i.e. Internet radio) delivered to wireless devices like mobile phones. In one of the few actions taken on reconsideration, the Board granted that request (see our summary of the reconsideration, here, and the CRB decision here). Thus, services making their streams available to the iPhone (except for those covered under the special percentage of revenue offer that SoundExchange made to a limited class of small webcasters, and noncommercial webcasters under 159,140 aggregate tuning hours a month), must count performances and pay the per-performance royalties due to SoundExchange.