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Big Changes on Music Licensing Front for Broadcasters

- Higher Rates + BMI Sells

Music royalties paid by local Radio and Television broadcasters are set to climb even higher as the body that sets rates announced hikes last week for online streaming and for non-commercial educational Radio stations not affiliated with National Public Radio or the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

The U.S. Copyright Royalty Board published notices of two kinds of “cost-of-living” increases in the fees paid by local broadcasters, both of which would take effect Jan. 1.

The first increase affects commercial stations streaming their programming online by raising royalty fees nearly 4.5 percent to $.0025 per performance.

The second increase is limited to non-commercial stations affiliated with high schools or colleges, but not with NPR or CPB. These stations will see an increase in yearly royalties paid to SESAC and GMR from $188 to $194 for each entity.

Attorney David Oxenford, an expert with the Wilkinson Barker Knauer law firm on music royalties who has spoken at several TAB Shows, shares his insights on these increases here.

BMI Sells

Broadcast Music, Inc., the largest performing rights organization (PRO) in the world founded in 1939 by broadcasters to provide a competitor to ASCAP, has announced it had agreed to be purchased by an investment firm named New Mountain Capital, LLC.

The company, which collects royalties for songwriters and publishers when their music is played in a public venue, had operated as a non-profit organization until this year. 

Oxenford notes that with the company currently in litigation with the Radio Music License Committee over how much commercial stations should pay for BMI-licensed music, the transaction creates a lot of uncertainty about how the litigation will be affected and whether the new owners might seek changes to the consent decree under which the PRO operates.

Questions? Contact TAB’s Oscar Rodriguez or call (512) 322-9944.

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