June 2018 – Noncommercial Update from the NRB MLC

The days fly by and events come and go quickly. Sometimes those events can be perilous if we aren’t watchful. With this in mind, please read the following carefully:

Legislative: Several weeks ago, the Music Modernization Act (H.R. 5447) passed the House of Representatives and was sent to the Senate. This bill, otherwise known as the “MMA”, has many things to commend it. However, some aspects of it demand a closer look.

This is where your committee can make a difference: Recently NRBMLC Chairman Edward Atsinger spent several days on Capitol Hill. Accompanied by Legislative Advisor Karl Gallant, Chairman Atsinger focused on the MMA as it may pertain to two pressing music licensing issues: 1) the DOJ’s stated interest in eliminating ASCAP and BMI consent decrees and, 2) a court’s approval of “fractional licensing” practices for the performance right organizations (“PROs”). These two issues together signal challenges ahead for music consumers. Ed was warmly received by Congressional leaders, including Charles Grassley (R-IA), Senate Judiciary Chairman, who authored a letter to Makan Delrahim, head of DOJ’s Antitrust Division.

Congressional visits can make a difference. We know that the PROs, particularly ASCAP and BMI, engage actively in Congress and in government agencies. They retain the best lobbyists and have influential members, which can help to push legislation to further complicate your radio station operations. Pray that what the U.S. House of Representatives has approved – by the time the Senate is finished with it – could settle some of these active issues to benefit all parties, including songwriters, publishers and broadcasters.

The Copyright Royalty Board and Web V: Your committee continues to prepare for the Web V streaming proceedings, which begin in 2019. In 2015, the Copyright Royalty Judges’ decision in Web IV left noncommercial streaming royalty rates extremely high for broadcasters with large web audiences. If this pattern continues, many NRBNMLC stations, large and small, could find themselves priced off the web.

Attention small market users of the Internet — beware. The $500 yearly fee that you pay SoundExchange entitles you to a specified number of listeners per month (218 average concurrent listeners) — before crossing the threshold into higher fees. We want to reiterate that there is no guarantee Web V will be keeping that number. It could diminish and eventually catch up to you fee-wise in future SoundExchange rates.

Remember: every streaming station is affected by the Web V proceeding. This is why we are knocking on your door for financial support to grow our legal fund. We cannot be lax in our preparation. With you and others standing with us, we can get ready. Please consider a hefty donation and then write to us. Many thanks!

 

Sincerely,

Scott R. Hunter & Harv Hendrickson

4880 Santa Rosa Road, Camarillo, CA 93012
(805) 482-7290 • www.nrbmlc.com

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