Annual Minimum Webcasting Royalty Fees Due Jan. 31, 2014


Broadcasters and others who stream music on the Internet must pay their minimum annual webcasting copyright royalty fees to SoundExchange by Jan. 31, 2014. These webcasting fees are in addition to public performance royalties paid to ASCAP, BMI and SESAC for the underlying musical compositions. For 2014, the annual minimum webcasting fee is $500 per channel (up to $50,000 for those who are webcasting 100 or more channels).

Monthly use reports must be filed with SoundExchange unless a station qualifies as a “small” broadcaster, defined as having less than 27,777 aggregate listening hours per year. This averages to 70 webcasting listeners per hour (Note: This is unrelated to the number of over-the-air broadcast listeners). Broadcasters who wish to be treated as small broadcasters exempt from the monthly reporting requirements must make this election by Jan. 31, 2014.

The 2014 annual webcasting fee for broadcast licensees is $0.0023 per performance. A performance consists of one listener listening to one song. In other words, that fee needs to be multiplied by the number of listeners and number of songs streamed over the Internet to determine the actual fee due. SoundExchange will credit the minimum annual fee toward the actual fee due. Once the minimum fee is exceeded, however, broadcasters must pay any additional fees due to SoundExchange on a monthly basis. The monthly reports, due 45 days after the end of each month, are to include both playlists and audience measurements.

Aside from broadcasters and small broadcasters, SoundExchange has categories for commercial webcasters (the default category), “small” webcasters, “pureplay” webcasters, “small pureplay” webcasters, and a host of categories for noncommercial entities. Each of these categories has its own fee structure, although NPR and other CPB-related stations are covered by an annual fee paid by CPB and do not need to file or pay anything to SoundExchange.

All of the services covered by the SoundExchange royalties are “noninteractive” services, meaning that the listeners do not get to choose the songs heard. Interactive webcasting services must be separately licensed by the copyright owners.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Davis Wright Tremaine LLP | Attorney Advertising

Written by:


Davis Wright Tremaine LLP on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:

Sign up to create your digest using LinkedIn*

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.

Already signed up? Log in here

*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.