December 2020 – Update from NRB MLC

Dear NRBMLC Friends,

As we enter this season of praise and gratitude, we call attention to the challenges of 2020 as we look ahead to 2021.


The big event this year is still “Web V”, the short name for the Copyright Royalty Board’s (CRB) rate proceeding. This will set sound recording royalties for digital music transmissions (mainly streaming).

After over a year seeking a reasonable settlement with SoundExchange, your noncommercial NRBNMLC went to trial in August. Our quest is to get a break on fees charged by the labels and collected by SoundExchange. The trial phase is now complete, but due to COVID delays, the final rates will not be known until April (retroactive to January 1, 2021).

Commercial stations are also engaged in Web V and are represented by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB). Presumably, all SoundExchange payments you make will remain at existing rates until the CRB makes its announcement.

Two other negotiations are underway to set ASCAP and BMI noncom streaming rates. Even though NRBNMLC applied for these licenses several years ago, the PROs chose not to act on our application until recently. BMI has now made a proposal and ASCAP’s proposal is expected soon.


You should plan for budgetary ramifications for the above as we enter 2021. If SoundExchange wins larger rates for the five-year period beginning 2021, it will affect your budget. Similarly, ASCAP/BMI noncom streaming fees will be a new cost for your operation.

Also coming in 2021 is the “Section 118” proceeding, named for its section in the U.S. Copyright Act. It will apply to noncoms only, as it is the rate-setting venue for broadcast licensing fees, including ASCAP, BMI, SESAC and GMR. Typically, these proceedings do not require litigation and result in a negotiated settlement. GMR, the newest PRO, will be added in and offers a potential new challenge. The result of this proceeding may not affect your budget for a couple of years.

Considering the changes and unknowns happening in music licensing, we are happy to be representing you. You should be of the same mind—the cost of continuing our work is daunting! We are not yet close to paying for the trial and we need your help. If you expect to benefit from our work, please use this pledge form and send a generous contribution.

As stated earlier, the CRB-Web V rate proceeding will cost your committee $1 million plus! We are not certain where that will come from, but God is faithful. Please pray for dramatic results in raising these funds.


Scott Hunter
Executive Director

Related posts

2021 Membership Exclusives

January – Your 2021 Radio Goals – Virtual Event
March – Radio Station Field Trip
April – A Webinar for YOUR Board
May – Virtual Mentoring Event
June – SURPRISE BENEFIT at Momentum
July – Salary Survey Webinar
August – Fundraising Webinar
September – Creative Images
October – Techsurvey Webinar
November – Radio Station Field Trip
December – Virtual Christmas Party

*subject to change


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