NAB seeks congressional streaming fix


Saying it is getting nowhere with attempts to negotiate with SoundExchange, NAB is renewing its effort to get Congress to overturn the streaming royalty rates set by a panel of three copyright judges.

NAB is back to a full-court press for legislation sponsored by Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA), known as the Internet Radio Equality Action. The Inslee bill, introduced in April, has garnered 140 co-sponsors and would reverse the controversial Copyright Royalty Board decision that dramatically increased rates for local radio stations that stream music over the Internet.

NAB said its renewed strong backing of the Inslee bill follows an offer made on behalf of NAB member radio stations to SoundExchange, an organization created by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) to establish and collect royalties for digital sound recordings. NAB said it has yet to receive a response from SoundExchange to the offer, which was made on June 6th.

"We are disappointed by SoundExchange's continued reluctance to respond to the good-faith, reasonable offer put forth by NAB nearly two months ago. NAB will now turn our attention to aggressively advocating in support of Rep. Inslee's legislation to ensure that local radio broadcasters who stream content online are treated fairly," said NAB Executive Vice President Dennis Wharton.

SmartMedia observation: We continue to be mystified by SoundExchange, which seems to be hell-bent on killing the goose that promises to lay it golden eggs. The AM and FM broadcasters will continue on, whether or not they can stream their programming as well. But if they can't make that work economically, they won't be streaming and they won't be writing checks to SoundExchange. And, of course, most streaming-only operators will simply close up shop – also paying zero in fees to SoundExchange.