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Radio: Act now on Sony streaming waiver

 - Opt-in required for legal protection

As previously reported in the TABulletin, the NAB last month announced it had reached a waiver agreement with Sony Music Entertainment and the Warner Music Group that will once again enable radio stations to stream Sony- and Warner-licensed music unhindered by certain restrictions established by the statutory music streaming license.

No action is required to benefit from the Warner agreement, but broadcasters must register for the NAB’s Sony Waiver Opt-In in order to benefit.  This process is open to all broadcasters, not just NAB members. Noncommercial stations can participate, too.

Radio stations that fail to take action on the Sony waiver are subject to costly lawsuits by the record label.

The provisions do not change a web-casting station’s obligation to pay royalties and make certain filings to SoundExchange, but they will make it easier for radio broadcasters to comply with some of the lesser known eligibility conditions in the statutory license granting the right to perform sound recordings digitally.

These conditions include the requirement that radio stations wipe their computer servers clean of music every six months, and the prohibition on playing more than three “selections” from an artist in a three-hour period and no more than two songs in a row.

TAB’s point-person on music licensing rules, David Oxenford with Wilkinson Barker Knauer LLP, provides this overview of what radio stations need to know about the agreement.

As Oxenford notes, the NAB has not yet announced agreements with Universal Music, or with any association representing the major independent labels.

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

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