Copyright Royalty Board Just Increased Rates For Streaming Music

The Copyright Royalty Board have just released new webcasting rates for 2016 to 2020 for streaming services like Pandora.

From January 2016 royalty rates for digital sound transmissions (music streaming to you and I) will be increased for non-interactive webcasters. The new figures will pay out 17 cents for 100 plays of free and ad-supported streams, a rise of 20% from current payout of 14 cents for 100 streams.

The new rates will apply to most internet radio stations and is a victory for artists who have been requesting better streaming payouts for a long time. Although Pandora had initially been trying to reduce the rate to 11 cents per 100 streams it’s been a victory for both sides as Pandora’s stock rose roughly 20% in after-hours trading.

Pandora’s Chief Financial Officer Michael Herring said last week, to The New York Times, that he expected to the result to “come out with a rate that is reasonable; that is in the ballpark of about what Pandora is paying today”.

The report reads as follows (Billboard have provided a great breakdown that explains the changes in a slightly easier to digest language, if you’d rather read that):

The Copyright Royalty Judges today issued their written determination of royalty rates and terms to apply from January 1, 2016, through December 31, 2020, to digital performance of sound recordings over the Internet by nonexempt, noninteractive transmission services (webcasters) and to the making of ephemeral recordings to facilitate those performances. The written determination is currently being reviewed by the parties to the proceeding to determine which portions, if any, contain confidential information that must be redacted from the version that will be released to the public.

The rate for commercial subscription services in 2016 is $0.0022 per-performance. The rate for commercial nonsubscription services in 2016 is $0.0017 per-performance. The rates for the period 2017 through 2020 for both subscription and nonsubscription services shall be adjusted to reflect the increases or decreases, if any, in the general price level, as measured by the Consumer Price Index applicable to that rate year, as set forth in the regulations adopted by the Judges’ determination.

The rates for noncommercial webcasters are: $500 annually for each station or channel for all webcast transmissions totaling not more than 159,140 Aggregate Tuning Hours (ATH) in a month, for each year in the rate term. In addition, if, in any month, a noncommercial webcaster makes total transmissions in excess of 159,140 ATH on any individual channel or station, the noncommercial webcaster shall pay per-performance royalty fees for the transmissions it makes on that channel or station in excess of 159,140 ATH at the rate of $0.0017 per-performance. The rates for transmissions over 159,140 ATH per month for the period 2017 through 2020 shall be adjusted to reflect the increases or decreases, if any, in the general price level, as measured by the Consumer Price Index applicable to that rate year, as set forth in the regulations adopted by this determination.

The Judges also determined details relating to the rates for each category of webcasting service, such as minimum fee and administrative terms. The regulatory language codifying the terms of the Judges’ determination is available on the Copyright Royalty Board website at

Head of Social Media and Marketing, RouteNote

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