Roots Music Association Memo: Webcast Royalty Fee Decision
RMA Membership Memo - March 8th 2007
Dear RMA Members,
The mission of the RMA states that we are committed to advocating and educating our membership with respect to current events and decisions that could and/or would directly have an impact on the global viability of the independent roots music industry.
As always, our primary goal is to help create a level playing field for independent music on an international level and we believe the most productive way to do that is through information and education. At the RMA we believe that not only is a voice is a valuable thing, but that voices raised together hold incomparable power. With that said there is a current issue that has the strong potential to adversely affect the level playing field that we strive for, and we would like to bring it to your attention.
As you may be aware the US Copyright Office Copyright Review Board announced a decision late last week that released a ruling on performance royalty fees that are based exclusively on the number of people tuned into an Internet radio station with no consideration given to what, if any, revenue is generated by the broadcaster.
This decision has the very real potential to force the closure of a wide realm of online webcasting sources that have significantly impacted the growth and development of independent roots music across all genres. To lose this avenue of promotion and support for roots based music could be potentially devastating with respect not only to its financial impact on the industry, but to its cultural survival.
A recent research paper presented at the CRB convention in Nashville directly attributed the internet as a primary source of promotion and introduction to new music directly to consumers. The impact of the internet has a direct impact on the visability and therefore the artistic and financial viability of the roots music industry. In part the Edison Media Research study reports:
*The Internet continues to surge as a platform for music discovery, with 40% of those surveyed naming the web as the primary place they go to hear music unavailable on the radio, an increase of 7 percentage points over last year. MP3 players and downloadable music files also grew dramatically as an outlet for music discovery, from 16% to 26% over the past year. Also, over 20% of the Country partisans surveyed “often” or “sometimes” learned about new music from social networking sites, such as MySpace.
Over 60% of these Country partisans indicated that they had listened to their favorite Country radio station over the Internet.
“Music Discovery continues to be important for all Country radio partisans—young and old,” noted Edison Vice President Tom Webster, “but the Internet and downloaded files are rapidly catching up to CDs as the preferred alternative channels with younger demographics. With so many listeners turning to the Internet as their entry portal for music information and discovery, it is more vital than ever for Country Radio programmers to understand that their web sites are an integral part of their brand, and not just another vehicle for advertisements.”
As the appeal period for this matter is within a very short timeframe, we would like to encourage those RMA members who wish to have their voices heard on this matter to visit http://www.saveourinternetradio.com for the most updated information, as well as proactive and effective strategies and suggestions as to how to best address this matter.
This website was created by Bob Goldsmith (RadioParadise) who happens to be one of the direct parties with respect to the US Copyright office’s decision and therefore we believe this would be the most appropriate hub for advocacy and action to begin in order to help maximize your voice.
The Executive Board of the RMA will be addressing a letter to Mr. Goldsmith thanking him for his initiative and his efforts on behalf of independent roots based music. We will keep you posted as to the outcome of the appeal.
Your RMA Executive Board
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