As expected, the National Music Publishers' Association (NMPA), its Harry Fox Agency (HFA) licensing arm, and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) have reached an accord on the licensi

As expected, the National Music Publishers' Association (NMPA), its Harry Fox Agency (HFA) licensing arm, and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) have reached an accord on the licensing of musical works for subscription services on the Internet, Billboard Bulletin reports.

Pending the determination of royalty rates to be paid by online music services to copyright holders, the RIAA will pay a $1 million advance to HFA for a two-year "bulk" license of musical works. If no rate agreement is reached, the RIAA will pay HFA, which represents more than 27,000 music publisher principals, an annual advance of $750,000 until a rate is set either through current negotiations or by the Copyright Arbitration Royalty Panel, according to Ed Murphy, president/CEO of NMPA.

"The $1 million advance is really a token [gesture]," says Murphy. The arbitration panel must ratify the final rate.

The agreement clears a major hurdle for Pressplay and MusicNet, the online subscription services being planned by two groupings of major labels. Both services are expected to launch in the next few months.

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