8/19/13: High Court in Australia: B'dcasters must pay for online use of music separately

Paul Maloney
August 19, 2013 - 2:55pm

Australia's High Court has denied commercial broadcasters there permission to appeal lower court decisions compelling radio to pay royalties for both broadcasting music and streaming.

Commercial Radio Australia is the national industry body representing Australia's commercial radio broadcasters. The PPCA is the recording companies' collecting society. The two have been pitted against one another in the matter of whether simultaneous online streams indeed constitute a separate use of recorded music. 

A 2012 court decision actually found in favor of the CRA, which maintained that online simulcasts were within the definition of "broadcast" in Australia's Copyright Act. The PPCA has held that online performances should be subject to a separate tariff. A Federal Court overturned the CRA's earlier victory, and Australia's High Court now agrees.

Read more in The Register here.

Paul Maloney
August 19, 2013 - 2:55pm

Digital revenue still doesn't yet account for 5% of U.S. radio broadcasters' revenue. But it was up 16% in the second quarter of 2013, and up 13% in the first half of the year. It was radio's only revenue sector that gained in Q2.

The RAB says spot and "off-air" (events, etc.) radio revenue were flat for the quarter, with network revenue off 4%.

You can see the RAB's report here.

Paul Maloney
August 19, 2013 - 2:55pm

It's easy to find articles for (or by) members of the music industry arguing why Pandora is bad for the music business. Billboard's Glenn Peoples wrote last week on why a healthy Pandora is good for the biz.

Peoples points to the webcaster's recent stock price, which, as you know, doesn't directly reflect the viability of a business, just what investors believe its chances are.

"The gain in share price reflects the fact that certain elements important to the music industry’s future — mobile growth, the maturing of mobile advertising and adoption of digital services — are falling into place," he explained. "The rise in Pandora's share price reflects the fact the company has taken measured steps that should lead to profitability."

So, here's how he sees a successful Pandora helping the industry. First, Peoples maintains there will be a small handful of very successful winners in the space, and Pandora may very likely be the first to claim one of those slots.

That's important because a solidly successful player will attract new competitors to grow the space. This will bring in more advertising spending, and more revenue for copyright owners.

Finally -- for performers and labels -- the more listening taking place on digital services and the less on U.S. broadcast radio, the better. As broadcasters in this country don't pay for the use of recordings on the air, labels and performers will be better off if listening migrates online.

Read the article in Billboard here.