As 2021 wound down, there were significant developments on SoundExchange royalties for webcasters – including broadcasters who simulcast their on-air programming through IP channels (such as on their websites and on mobile apps). While we covered many of these matters in our weekly Sunday updates on regulatory matters of importance to broadcasters, we thought that it would be worth summarizing all of the action in one place. Most, but not all, of these developments follow from last year’s Copyright Royalty Board decision raising webcasting rates for 2021-2025 (see our article here summarizing that decision).
The CRB’s decision was published in the Federal Register in October 2021. As of that date, all webcasters, if they had not already been doing so, should be paying the higher royalties ($.0021 per song per listener in 2021 for nonsubscription streams). SoundExchange has appealed the CRB’s decision (presumably to argue the rates should have been set even higher), as have the NAB and the National Religious Broadcasters Noncommercial Music License Committee. These appeals are pending and likely will be briefed and argued sometime in 2022. If you have not trued up your payments (the increase in royalties was retroactive to January 1, 2021), consult your legal advisor as to the effect that these appeals may have on your responsibility for that true-up.
Continue Reading A Look at Developments in SoundExchange Webcasting Royalties (Including for Broadcast Simulcasts) From the End of 2021