In a decision that does little more than provide a large chunk of breathing room for small Internet radio stations, SoundExchange has decided to delay royalty increases for Internet radio in the short term. Originally set to go in effect several times this year, the fee increase faced strong opposition from many arenas and sounds of protest.
Now, at least in part, SoundExchange is offering to delay increases for different types of businesses. Different pay structures will apply to a station based on its size and whether it is commercial or non-commercial:
"That is why SoundExchange has offered to extend 1998-era below market rates to small commercial Webcasters, and to keep rates at 2003 levels for thousands of non-commercial Webcasters. This would mean that the vast majority of Internet services would have no rate increase of any kind from 1998-2010.
In the short term, this is probably a good thing. Over the course of several years, however, the topic will creep up again – and SoundExchange is still committed to enforcing the higher rates in the future:
"We are pleased by this decision, which vividly demonstrates that the Copyright Royalty Judges got it right when they set royalty rates and terms for the use of music on Internet radio," John Simson, executive director of SoundExchange,
Certain other stipulations were provided too, such as waiving the $6,000 per-channel fee, temporarily, that would easily put smaller stations out of business instantly. Now, there will be much more time to head back to the courts or to work other deals. Unfortunately this is still only a temporary solution. As one article mentions, a station that can't afford to pay millions of dollars in fees now is likely not going to be able to three years down the road.