Seldom has so much money been riding on a single ruling by a copyright board. Yes, these are American numbers, but invested parties around the world will be watching these developments very closely. That includes Canada, of course. From Music Business Worldwide:
The US Copyright Royalty Board is set to decide the new webcasting rates this week – a moment which will cost Pandora, or the music business, hundreds of millions of dollars.
To understand why, we need to worth through some rather bamboozling maths. MBW will do our best.
But first, the background: unlike the world of publishing, the rates paid by digital ‘radio’ services to labels in the US are set by the Copyright Royalty Board, made up of three judges.
For the past year, they have been hearing evidence from both sides of this debate: the record labels and their rep/collection society SoundExchange, and the broadcasters, including Pandora and IHeartRadio.
Their decision, due any day, will set in stone the per-stream rate paid by these services to recorded music rightsholders.
The most important party here for the music business is Pandora.
The current rate paid by the service to labels and artists is $0.0014 per ad-funded (free) stream – up from $0.0013 in 2014.
Pandora told the CRB last year that it wants to bring down this rate to $0.0011 per stream.
However, SoundExchange wants to almost double it to $0.0025.
There are a lot of decimals involved here, so bear with us, but it all adds up to big money – and a big decision – for the music business.