SoundExchange spent $50,000 lobbying

Sep. 14, 2007 (Thomson Financial delivered by Newstex) —

WASHINGTON (AP) – A music industry group that plans to collect new higher royalty rates from online broadcasters for artists and record labels is fighting legislation that would overturn the new rates.

SoundExchange spent $50,000 in the first half of 2007 to lobby against Senate and House bills that would nullify the new payment system set by a three-judge copyright panel in March, according to a disclosure form posted online Sept. 7 by the Senate’s public records office.

The copyright panel established specific per-song rates, but SoundExchange has been negotiating a compromise with Internet radio stations, or Webcasters, and companies that stream music online.

Small Webcasters have said the new higher rates and fees would put many of them out of business, while larger companies, such as Yahoo Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) and Time Warner Inc.’s (NYSE:TWX) AOL, said their revenues would be significantly lowered.

In the meantime, lawmakers sympathetic to Webcasters introduced legislation — called the Internet Radio Equality Act — that would replace the new royalty system with one that they say is fairer to Webcasters.

The House measure, introduced by Reps. Jay Inslee, D-Wash., and Don Manzullo, R-Ill., has 142 co-sponsors. The Senate bill was introduced by Sens. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Sam Brownback, R-Kansas.

But Richard Ades, a SoundExchange spokesman, said the proposed legislation wouldn’t just set aside the new royalty system, it would cut royalties to artists by 75 percent.

‘What it would amount to is about a $100 million windfall for the 20 largest Webcasters,’ he said.

The new royalty system replaces a previous set of agreements that expired at the end of 2005. It affects anyone that streams music online, including National Public Radio and college radio stations.

The music industry and record labels, which have been hurt by lower sales of CDs, are seeking new revenue sources as they adapt to consumers’ changing listening habits.

SoundExchange distributes royalties to more than 20,000 recording artists and 3,500 record labels, including all the major recording companies.

Under a federal law enacted in 1995, lobbyists are required to disclose activities that could influence members of the executive and legislative branches. They must register with Congress within 45 days of being hired or engaging in lobbying.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: