Do Webcasters Owe Billions to SoundExchange?

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RealNetworks, Yahoo, Pandora and Live365 have sent letters to congress stating that they will owe over a billion dollars to SoundExchange, the bill collector for the music industry.

cNet reports that when the CRB decided earlier this year to change the rules for Internet broadcasters, it also decided to levy a $500 minimum annual fee per Internet radio “channel.” SoundExchange, the non-profit music industry entity that collects the royalty and other fees on behalf of record labels, says that minimum payment is supposed to cover administrative costs.

The larger Internet radio services offer their listeners hundreds of thousands of unique “channels” and the companies view the ruling as forcing them to multiply that mandatory minimum payment per channel and that adds up fast. RealNetworks alone has more than 400,000 channels which would translate into $200 million.

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