Net Radio Wins Temporary Reprieve

Webcasters and the music industry worked out a deal on Thursday of last week that will temporarily delay draconian new royalties that many predict would kill many net radio broadcasters.

SoundExchange, the record labels' royalty-collecting cartel, agreed to postpone much of the new royalty structure, which would have taken effect July 15, while the parties continue negotiating.

The storm started when the Copyright Royalty Board, a federal agency, decided on a new royalty structure for net radio at the behest of the recording industry. Though the CRB agreed to delay the new royalties till July 15, it otherwise rebuffed an appeal. Legislation has been introduced to spare webcasters from extinction but Congress has not acted on it.

The SoundExchange-webcaster deal suggests that the music industry may finally be relenting in its attitude toward net radio, which after all does a lot to promote product for the ailing record labels. Promising new products like the new line of Tivoli web radios (pictured, due in the fall) also hang in the balance.

See additional coverage in Stereophile and ArsTechnica.

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