CPB Media Room

Public Broadcasters, SoundExchange Agree to Webcasting Rates Through 2015

  • August 11, 2009

WASHINGTON, D.C. - SoundExchange, the non-profit performance rights organization, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) are proud to announce an agreement to govern royalty rates for webcasting through 2015. The agreement would allow CPB qualified stations, NPR member stations and NFCB participant member stations (along with NPR, American Public Media, Public Radio International and the Public Radio Exchange) to pay an alternate rate of royalties to artists and copyright owners whose recordings they stream over the Internet.

This agreement - completed in late July but publicly announced today - is one of several similar agreements made under the Webcaster Settlement Act of 2009, which gave SoundExchange the authority to negotiate alternative rates and terms to the prevailing royalty rates set by the Copyright Royalty Board in 2007. These modified rates, for qualified public radio stations, are intended to accommodate the special circumstances faced by this group of stations, SoundExchange said, and do not reflect a market value for music.

"We're glad to have reached another milestone in our relationship with CPB," said John Simson, Executive Director of SoundExchange. "This continuing partnership allows music fans to experience a greater diversity of music, while allowing artists and rights holders the ability to share in revenues generated from music lovers who tune in to hear great recordings."

Under the agreement, CPB will pay SoundExchange a total of $2.4 million for the term 2011-2015, based upon anticipated system-wide usage and centralized administration. If usage exceeds expectations, additional payments will be made, which SoundExchange will distribute (along with the original lump sum) to the artists and rights owners who helped to create the music.

"CPB is pleased to have reached this agreement with SoundExchange, which recognizes public radio's special public service mission and non-commercial nature," said Pat Harrison, president and CEO of CPB. "It also maintains public radio's commitment to ensuring artists and labels receive the compensation to which they are entitled."

"I commend SoundExchange and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting for working hard to reach this agreement on royalty rates for sound recordings streamed over the Internet," said Representative John Conyers (D-MI), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.

SoundExchange announced last week that it had also made agreements with College Broadcasters, Inc; with SIRIUS-XM; and with the National Religious Broadcasters Music License Committee. Terms and rates for each will be published in the Federal Register.

About SoundExchange

SoundExchange is an independent, nonprofit performance rights organization designated by the U.S. Copyright Office to collect and distribute digital performance royalties for recording artists and sound recording copyright owners when their sound recordings are performed on Internet radio and satellite radio, as well as other services. SoundExchange currently represents nearly 5,000 record labels, over 40,000 artists and performers. SoundExchange members include both signed and unsigned recording artists; small, medium and large independent record companies; and major label groups and artist-owned labels. (www.soundexchange.com)

About CPB

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967, is the steward of the federal government's investment in public broadcasting. It helps support the operations of more than 1,400 locally-owned and -operated public television and radio stations nationwide, and is the largest single source of funding for research, technology, and program development for public radio, television and related online services.

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