Obama Administration Gets Behind Performance Rights Act
-- Record labels and performers appear to have inched closer to getting a performance right for sound recordings. On Tuesday, the White House U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator (IPEC) Victoria Espinel released to Congress a white paper with recommendations for legislation to strengthen U.S. intellectual property enforcement efforts.

To the music industry, one of the key legislative recommendations is this reference to the Performance Rights Act: "Create a right of public performance for copyright owners for sound recordings transmitted by over-the-air broadcast stations which, in part, will allow copyright owners to obtain overseas royalties that are now denied to them."

The white paper touched upon illegal streaming, too. One other recommendation to Congress that is applicable to the entertainment industry is the clarification that the infringements by streaming (or similar technology) is a felony.

The RIAA and musicFIRST followed the release of the white paper with gratitude for the IPEC's support of issues dear to them. RIAA chairman/CEO Mitch Bainwol commended the administration and singled out its call for a performance right for owners of sound recordings. He added that the proposal to make illegal streaming illegal was "appropriate and overdue."

"A Performance Right for radio airplay is a non-partisan issue with support from the ideological Right, Left and Center," musicFIRST Coalition spokesperson Tom Matzzie said in a statement. "In fact, this administration's statement follows support from the last several administrations from both parties."
(Press release)

Nimbit Using $1.25 Million Funding To Build Staff
-- Here's another funding announcement in a first quarter filled with them: Direct-to-fan service Nimbit raises $1.25 million in Series A funding.

Common Angels and Hub Angels led the round. The company will use the proceeds to build out its staff. Nimbit had been fairly quiet in the months leading up to this announcement, but has continuously worked on improving its product. With a new self-service product from Topspin now on the market and the arrival of Moontoast Impulse, the company stands in an exciting and more crowded direct-to-fan market.

After a slow second half of 2010, the pace of funding announcements in digital music has picked up tremendously early in 2011. Among the companies getting venture capital this year are Beyond Oblivion (in a big $77 million round), Streemio, TuneUp Media, Rdio, FanBridge, RootMusic and SoundCloud.

IODA Makes Two Big Announcements
-- Digital distributor IODA has two announcements that show the company is adding value its client services. First, the company launched IODA Open API, which it calls "the industry's first authoritative metadata and content API." Opening its API allows IODA partners and third party developers to tap into authoritative metadata, buy links and media assets.

The open API will be helped by the five new partnerships IODA announced on Tuesday. New arrivals to the company's partner program are FanBridge, WHOOZNXT, Planetary Group, Red Staple and vinyl.