Internet Radio Broadcasters Rally Lawmakers Once Again

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Ahead of a fast-approaching deadline, US-based internet radio broadcasters continued their push against upcoming royalty increases this week.

The refreshed protest included another visit to Capitol Hill, and the announcement of a coordinated day of silence on Tuesday, June 26th.  The consortium of broadcasters has been battling a recent decision by the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) to elevate non-interactive payment requirements on recorded music, a shift that goes into effect July 15th.  Just recently, the broadcast group sparked a bipartisan bill that would reverse the CRB-imposed rates, though passage seems unlikely ahead of the upcoming deadline.  The lobbying group, rallied by ad-hoc coalition SaveNetRadio, visited approximately fifty lawmakers andalso staged an open-air concert.

The bill, known as the Internet Radio Equality Act (HR 2060 / S 1353), was introduced by Jay Inslee (D-WA) and Donald Manzullo (R-IL) in the House, and Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Sam Brownback (R-KS) in the Senate.  The Act would replace CRB-approved rates, which involve per-song payments, with a royalty calculation based on overall revenue levels.  “The only viable solution is to establish a fair system that supports well-earned compensation for artists who create music and a sustainable business model for webcasters playing that music,” said SaveNetRadio spokesperson Jake Ward.  Earlier, label representative SoundExchange softened its stance by extending lowered rates to smaller broadcasters, though the proposal drew mixed reviews.