Washington, D.C. (September 20, 2007)–SoundExchange announced that two dozen small webcasters have signed up to extend the rates they have received since 1998 through the end of 2010, when new rates will be set either through negotiation or by the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB). The agreements, retroactive to January 1, 2006, extend essentially the same terms they have had under the Small Webcaster Settlement Act (SWSA).
“Giving small webcasters more time to build their businesses with below-market rates is something Members of Congress wanted us to get done, and we have,” said John Simson, executive director of SoundExchange. “We hope that these small webcasters will continue to provide innovative kinds of programming and a rich diversity of music.”
Twenty-four small webcasters have already signed the agreements with others indicating they are in the process of signing. Some opted not to sign the agreements because their business models benefit more from the regular commercial rates (due to their size and the difference in minimum payments). Others did not sign because they operate via webcast aggregators who handle payments on their behalf.
Qualified small commercial webcasters who accepted the offer are now able to stream sound recordings of any and all SoundExchange members at subsidized rates. SoundExchange represents more than 28,000 recording artists and 3,500 record labels, including all the major recording companies. As part of the agreement, small webcasters–defined as those earning $1.25 million or less in total revenues–would pay royalty fees of 10 or 12 percent of revenue. The agreement also includes a usage cap to ensure that this subsidy is used only by webcasters of a certain size who are forming or strengthening their businesses.