There's a good post here from Kurt Hanson on the latest olive branch offered by SoundExchange to webcasters on the thorny issue of administrative fees. According to Kurt, SoundExchange has offered to accept the $50,000 cap proposed by the Digital Media Association. That's great news for Live365, Pandora, Yahoo and other webcasters with thousands of user-customized stations. It's not so swell for webcasters with advertiser-supported business models, a hundred or so stations and not a huge number of listeners. Hanson also reports that SoundExchange has pledged not to go after webcasters who keep broadcasting after the new royalty rates go into effect Sunday without paying what they owe -- as long as they are in good-faith negotiations with SoundExchange.
These signs may be encouraging, but the fact remains that the increase in royalty rates ordered by the Copyright Royalty Board -- the rates per song transmitted are due to triple by 2010 -- will drive many webcasters out of business. So unless some deal can be struck to ease that increase, much of the industry the webcasting industry remains in peril.
(Forgive the dearth of links. I am still operating one-handed -- left-handed -- but am assisted to some degree by Dragon NaturallySpeaking. Thank you, David Pogue and the LA Times HR crew.)