RAIN 11/8: SoundEx witness warned in '05 to expect direct deals if statutory rate "set too high"

Michael Schmitt
November 8, 2011 - 11:00am

David Oxenford, partner at Davis Wright TremaineSiriusXM's much-publicized move to obtain direct music licenses and thereby avoid SoundExchange has caused an uproar amongst artist unions and SoundExchange (RAIN coverage here and here).

But industry attorney David Oxenford (pictured) points out that SoundExchange's own witness in the Coypright Royalty Board proceedings of 2005-2006 expected this move.

"If the price is too high," stated SoundExchange witness Michael Pelcovits, an expert economist, "parties can (and are almost certain to) negotiate agreements for rates lower than the statutory standard. Thus, a rate that is set too high is likely to 'self-adjust' because of the sellers' natural incentive to meet the market."

Yesterday, SoundExchange president Michael Huppe told the New York Times (here), "Our mission is to maximize the value of the content...We believe that content is already undervalued."

Writes Oxenford, a partner at Davis Wright Tremaine: "In other words, the music community seemed to favor (and expect) such negotiations, before they were against them it in their statements today." Oxenford even argues such negotiations for lower rates outside of the CRB have already happened: the web radio royalty deals following the Webcaster Settlement Acts (more here).

SoundExchange

So why is SoundExchange upset over SiriusXM seeking lower rates? "One possible difference is the loss of control," reasons Oxenford. SoundExchange was able to decide which webcaster deals would be precedential in future CRB proceedings (making most non-precedential, meaning they could not be considered in future CRB arbitration).

"Deals that are marketplace deals" -- including any direct deals SiriusXM is able to get -- "would not be afforded the non-precedential status." Meaning the CRB could consider any (presumably lower) rates SiriusXM reaches outside of SoundExchange.

You can find David Oxenford's full article and analysis at his Broadcast Law Blog here.

Michael Schmitt
November 8, 2011 - 11:00am

TuneIn RadioTuneIn Radio has added access to over 3,000 police and fire scanners to its iPhone and Android apps.

"It's not the most obvious or pleasant way to stay updated on the latest news," writes CNet, "but if you want real-time information as incidents are developing, the new feature is an easy way to eavesdrop on the local police."

TuneIn Radio is also reportedly "testing in-app donations...to public radio, starting with KQED in San Francisco."

CNet has more coverage here.

Michael Schmitt
November 8, 2011 - 11:00am

Squeezebox TouchOn-demand music service MOG is now available on Logitech's Squeezebox home music players (like the Squeezebox Touch, pictured).

Squeezebox already supports Pandora, Spotify, Napster, Last.fm, SiriusXM and other services.

You can find the companies' press release here.