Feeds

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

Your radio future

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

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

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Special pleading against mass surveillance won't help anyone
Protecting journalists alone won't protect their sources
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
Vodafone to buy 140 Phones 4u stores from stricken retailer
887 jobs 'preserved' in the process, says administrator PwC
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.