NAB Backs Internet Broadcast Bill, Strikes Against SoundExchange

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The influential National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has now thrown its weight behind the Internet Radio Equality Act, a measure that would preserve lowered royalty rates for webcasters.

The move complicates ongoing royalty negotiations, which are now spilling past the initially-mandated, July 15th deadline.  The bill, initiated by Representative Jay Inslee (D-Wisconsin) in April, has now garnered 140 sponsors across both chambers.  Meanwhile, larger broadcasters and terrestrial conglomerates – many of whom are NAB members – are reportedly finalizing online rate packages, despite comments to the contrary by SoundExchange.

The NAB move follows an overture by the organization to
SoundExchange in June, one that was not entertained.  The exact details of that offer were not disclosed, though a reasonable guess suggests that the proposal contained significantly lowered royalty requirements.  “We are disappointed by SoundExchange’s continued reluctance to respond to the good faith, reasonable offer put forth by NAB nearly two months ago,” said NAB executive vice president Dennis Wharton.  “NAB will now turn our attention to aggressively advocating in support of Representative Inslee’s legislation to ensure that local radio broadcasters who stream content online are treated fairly.”