2/19/13: Australian radio in a streaming royalties battle with recording copyright owners

Paul Maloney
February 19, 2013 - 12:20pm

An Australian legal analyst says a new court ruling in that country will result in vastly higher royalty rates for online radio streaming, and may quash it altogether.

Radio broadcasters in that country pay for broadasting copyright sound recordings, and currently pay an additional 1% for streaming their on-air content.

The Phonographic Performance Company of Australia (PPCA) is Austalia's counterpart to SoundExchange in the U.S. -- the body that represents sound recording copyright owners, and collects and distributes royalties when those copyrights are used. Last week Australia's Full Federal Court ruled in favor of the PPCA, declaring that online simulcasts of broadcast radio is outside the definition of a broadcast, and thus require a separate license.

The author (a University of Canberra law student named Karl Schaffarczyk) writes, "Given recent PPCA demands of huge increases in licence fees for other users of recorded music, a likely scenario is that many broadcasters will simply stop making their content available online."

Read his article at The Conversation here.

Paul Maloney
February 19, 2013 - 12:20pm

Radio's digital revenue was part of the good news the Radio Advertising Bureau had for broadcasters on Friday.

The RAB's earnings report shows radio's Q4 2012 was up 4% (highest over the past eight quarters), and full-year spending rose for the third consecutive year. Digital revenue for radio was up 11% ($206 million) in the fourth quarter, and 8% in 2012 overall ($767 million). According to the RAB figures, digital now accounts for about 4.7% of radio's revenue.

RAB president & CEO Erica Farber will keynote RAIN Summit West April 7 in Las Vegas.

The RAB earnings press release is here.

Paul Maloney
February 19, 2013 - 12:20pm

Metadata and music recognition technology company Gracenote has launched the Gracenote Developer program, making available tools for developers to build services using Gracenote data. Gracenote has licensed their technology before, but has now released it music APIs ("application programming interface") and SDKs ("software development kit") fully.

Now, a music service (like a webcaster) can use these tools to add Gracenote-powered functionality to their service. Gracenote's MusicID, for example, can identify artists, albums, and songs by "hearing" them via a mobile phone. Gracenote's database has descriptive metadata for more than two thousand music genres and subgenres, and more than 100 musical "moods," and is the world's largest commercial source of album cover art and artist bios.

As MusicAlly reports, this puts Gracenote in more direct competition with music intelligence data company The Echo Nest, "whose APIs have been used for more than 350 apps (not to mention Spotify, Nokia, Vevo and Clear Channel), and which raised $17.3m of funding in 2012 before poaching two of Gracenote’s senior executives."

More from Gracenote here. Read more from MusicAlly here.