House Committee Holds Hearing On CRB Rates
June 28, 2007 at 1:11 PM (PT)
The House Small Business Committee is hearing testimony today (6/28) from webcasters, artists and record label executives regarding how the proposed rate increase passed by the COPYRIGHT ROYALTY BOARD would affect their businesses. The RADIO AND INTERNET NEWSLETTER (RAIN) reports that WOXY.com GM BRYAN JAY MILLER, CINCINNATI PUBLIC RADIO GM RICHARD EISWORTH, STUNNING MODELS ON DISPLAY RECORDS co-owner KIERAN KELLY and recording artist JOEY ALLCORN are among the witnesses testifying against the rate hike, while TOMMY BOY RECORDS Chairman TOM SILVERMAN, AMERICAN FEDERATION OF MUSICIANS President THOMAS F. LEE and recording artist CATHY FINK are arguing in favor.
The CRB's decision is grossly out of sync with the economic reality of small webcasters.
RAIN reports that MILLER told the hearing, "Whatever you hear or believe about big webcasters being able to pay higher royalties, the truth is that smaller independent webcasters are still struggling to get by in this very exciting but still very young industry. There is a tremendous challenge to deliver the value and innovation that listeners demand while maintaining a viable business.
"The CRB's decision is grossly out of sync with the economic reality of small webcasters... We deliver something so unique for artists and music fans that our existence should be supported and encouraged and not hindered during the early years of our industry."
On the other side, LEE told the hearing that those most affected by the Internet royalty rates are the thousands of recording artists, session musicians and background vocalists that are struggling to make a living. "Their needs should not be forgotten, because if the difficulties they face make life as a creator unendurable, there won't be any music for the new music services to bring to the public, or to build their own small businesses around," he said. "Professional musicians know just how dangerous it is to believe that all music should be available practically for free. There must be compensation systems in place that are sufficient to support musicians, if we really want to foster music in our culture."
Still, LEE said that AFM "supports SOUNDEXCHANGE's efforts to reach an appropriate business accommodation with [small webcasters] that will allow them to develop working business models, while still making payments to performers."
Meanwhile, FINK told the hearing, "The creation of a sound recording takes a huge investment of time, talent and energy. Like any other entrepreneurs, we are making financial investments. We think of ourselves as a small business, and one about which we are extremely passionate. Our music is a valuable creation, and it is the core of that business. Like any other product, it deserves fair compensation."
Check out RAIN's continuing coverage of the hearing here.