Feeds

RIAA agrees webcasting rates… with non-webcasting AOL, Microsoft

Your radio future

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

What's wrong with this headline? It's from an Associated Press wire story published on Friday:

Webcasters reach agreement on online music fees

"The [recording industry and Internet music broadcasters] agreed Thursday on how much big webcasters like Yahoo!, America Online, Microsoft and RealNetworks must pay to broadcast songs over the Internet during 2003 and 2004," according the story.

There's one slight glitch: AOL-Time Warner, Yahoo! and Microsoft are not webcasters. They don't do net radio - or at least, not yet. And Real Networks qualifies only in the loosest sense, as it's more aggregator than content provider.

What really happened on Thursday is that DiMA, the Digital Media Association - which includes AOL, Yahoo! and The Beast among its members - agreed with the RIAA on a royalty rate to be submitted to the Library of Congress.

So the "agreement" referred to in the AP story is tenuous, at best, and at worst, lacks a whole heap of context that renders it meaningless.

This is a proposal - in fact, what DiMA calls a temporary "band aid".

The parties which have created this sticking plaster, do not webcast, and the "deal" doesn't include the 25,000 or so webcasters currently facing crippling royalty payments. Now we've denuded it of the pernicious spin, let's find out what this really means. (Kudos to CNET's Jim Hu, who was the only reporter to distinguish these subtleties, although even Jim forgot that "webcaster" means someone who is actually webcasting.)

The rate for these phantom-webcasters is slightly higher than what the CARP procedure specified for the real webcasters: 0.0762 cents per performance. The RIAA also grabs 10.9 per cent of subscription revenues from the large, silent spectres.

The deal does nothing for the thousands of small, education or non-profit net casters that provide the amazing diversity of Internet radio. In the USA, net radio is handicapped by the burden of paying performance royalties from which the traditional, free-to-air stations are exempt.

Nevertheless, the path is clear for AOL and Microsoft to begin streaming as super-portals.

And before you mail us, yes - there is something creepy about AOL-TimeWarner stitching up a royalty agreement with the RIAA. AOL-TW owns the record labels Atlantic, Elektra, Rhino and related publishing companies.

The RIAA's membership page (catch it while you can) confirms Atlantic (including Atlantic Catalog Group, Atlantic Classics and Atlantic Nashville), Elektra (including Elektra Asylum, Elektra Catalog Group, Elektra Entertainment and Elektra Musician), and Rhino (including Rhino Exclusive, Rhino Handmade, Rhino Music Video, Rhino Records, Rhino/Slash and the temptingly recursive Rhino/Warner) as members.

We can only begin to imagine how tense these negotiations must have been - and how careful the RIAA must have been to avoid letting slip any potentially fatal indiscretions.

21st Century capitalism - at your service. ®

Related Stories

RIAA engineered the webcast split - former exec
Webcast relief defers Day of Judgement
New Alliance for webcasters
Civil disobedience promised after net radio royalty bill falls
'RIAA-written' Net radio bill served to Senate
RIAA-backed webcast bill 'a disaster for the US'
'96 pc of Net Radio' to close after backroom deal screws grassroots 'casters

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
DOUBLE BONK: Testy fanbois catch Apple Pay picking pockets
Users wail as tapcash transactions are duplicated
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
YARR! Pirates walk the plank: DMCA magnets sink in Google results
Spaffing copyrighted stuff over the web? No search ranking for you
In the next four weeks, 100 people will decide the future of the web
While America tucks into Thanksgiving turkey, the world will be taking over the net
Microsoft EU warns: If you have ties to the US, Feds can get your data
European corps can't afford to get complacent while American Big Biz battles Uncle Sam
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.