Web Radio: In Trouble Still

It looks like the talks between music industry rep SoundExchange and Webcasters have broken down once again. I would be surprised to see the two parties returning to the negotiating table this week.

It’s getting kind of old, this going back and forth between the music industry and Webcasters. Last week, music industry rep SoundExchange agreed to a concession on certain royalties radio stations would have to pay for playing songs. The two parties were set to continue their talks early this week. Then, today, Webcasters’ rep, the Digital Media Association (DiMA), announced that SoundExchange had since rescinded its offer. While the two parties are still expected to meet this week, I wouldn’t hold my breath.

After all, Webcasters, which claim current royalty rates would drive them out of business, are adamant about the so-called minimum cap stipulation, the offer that SoundExchange has just taken back. It involves a minimum fee Webcasters have to pay per “stream” of music (with today’s technology, Web users can create their own, customized streams, or Internet radio stations). Most Webcasters I’ve talked to don’t even want to sit down to the negotiating table without that offer back on. Looks like the two parties are deadlocked once again.

I wonder why SoundExchange has changed its mind, and what it wants. DiMA says that SoundExchange is now asking for “unrelated technology mandates that have previously been rejected several times.”

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