The recent settlement on Internet radio royalties between Sirius XM Radio and SoundExchange provides yet another option for commercial webcasters trying to determine the royalties to be paid for the public performance of sound recordings. While the settlement is signed by just these two parties, it will be published in the Federal Register and be available for all commercial webcasters who comply with its terms – which will essentially be any webcaster who is not a "Broadcaster" as defined in the NAB Settlement, about which we wrote here. As set forth below, the royalty rates available under this settlement are slightly lower for 2009 and 2010 than those set by the Copyright Royalty Board back in 2007, but slightly higher than those available under the NAB settlement. However, in 2013-2015, the rates available under this deal are actually lower than those agreed to by the NAB, meaning that they present a better deal for webcaster expecting their audiences to grow in the next few years.
First, the most important issue – how much will it cost? As with the CRB decision, the NAB deal, and the Pureplay deal (about which we wrote here) as it applies to large pureplay webcasters, the rates established by the deal are based on a "per performance" charge. A performance is one song as listened to by one listener. So if a song is played on an Internet radio station subject to the deal and 100 people are listening at the time the song is played, there are 100 performances. The rates established by the deal are as follows:
Year Rate per Performance