Broadcasters, Not Webcasters, Want a Free Lunch
Various members of the recording industry have been complaining that webcasters don't want to pay their fair share of royalties that musicians (& labels) rightfully deserve. Whatever might be said, it is not webcasters but the broadcast industry that has consistently fought efforts to pay their due. This, despite the clear intention of Congress to not extend the free lunch terrestrial radio enjoys to simulcast. This is the same broadcast industry that has placed seemingly unsurmountable barriers for
even major label acts. The facts are clear: the broadcast industry is no friend of the music industry and should bear, rather than small webcasters, the brunt of lobbying and PR efforts of organizations like the RIAA.
Copyright Office Requests Comments Regarding Broadcasters' Motion For Stay Of Final Rule Regarding Scope Of Broadcasters' Exemption From Digital Performance Right
While broadcasters plead for their 'free lunch,' the copyright fight over webcasting has taken its toll on
American webcasters, according BRS Media. The number of US webcasters has declined 31% in the last year, with their percentage of overall world market falling from 60% last year to below 50%.
"For the first time in history International stations now account for the majority of stations online. While the total number of stations online has dropped to levels not seen in over 2 years."
This decline of a key distribution and marketing outlet for the music industry is in the face of falling CD sales and impenetrable radio sector. While the recording industry may, rightly or
wrongly, view peer-to-peer systems as a threat, webcasting is an entirely different story. My experience with most webcast station owners is that they have a sincere desire to promote artists and
their works to a larger community of listeners & consumers. These are not pirates or opportunistic entrepreneurs, but true supporters of the Arts. Instead of treating webcasters as pariahs, the recording industry should sit down with them as partners to pursue their common goal.
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