The Copyright Royalty Board will soon be meeting to decide on new streaming rates for non-interactive services likePandora and iHeart radio and may be considering variable royalty rates, which could spell bad news for indie artists.
In case you’ve ever wondered how the streaming rates for services like Pandora and iHeart Radio are determined, it’s by a trio of judges selected by the US Library of Congress called the Copyright Royalty Board or CRB.
Ever 5 years the CRB sets a new rate, which usually increases slightly each year of the five.
Non-interactive services like Pandora currently at mandated to pay $0.00014 per stream, but that’s due to change in 2016, and the CRB is meeting now to determine by how much, if any, the streaming rate will increase.
There’s some evidence that the CRB is looking into variable royalty rates this time around. This means that there could be one rate for the major labels, and another cheaper rate for indies.
This would be a disaster for any artist not signed directly to a major, and as you’d probably expect, the outcry from indie labels has been great.
To be clear, the CRB has NOT determined this is the way to go yet, but there’s evidence that the direction has been explored. Obviously not a good thing if it happens, as all those thousand’s of a cent rack up over time into some real money.
The CRB does not set the rate for on-demand streaming like Spotify, which does direct deals with the labels.