Live365 Internet Radio Network Says It Will Survive New Webcasting Royalty Rates

-- Internet radio network Live365 will survive with the new webcasting royalty rates, general counsel David Rosenberg tells Billboard. The company, which opted out of the royalties offered in the 2009 settlement with SoundExchange, believes it will be able to sustain its business for years to come.

But Rosenberg indicated the company may not be done with the issue. "Live365 is weighing all of its legal and business options, including the possibility of an appeal."

Live365, which offers thousands of non-interactive Internet radio channels, did not opt into the 2009 settlement with SoundExchange and instead chose to seek lower royalties. In its decision released December 14, the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) rejected the royalty rates requested by both Live365 ($0.0009 per performance) and SoundExchange (starting at $0.0021 in 2011 and increasing by $0.0002 per year through 2015). The CRB's gradually increasing royalty rates start at $0.0019 this year and increase by $0.00002 in 2012 and by the same amount again in 2014.

Even though the CRB rejected its suggested royalty rates, Live365 "In the long run, stabilization allows the webcasters to grow, and that in turn will provide more exposure and greater royalty payments to artists," Rosenberg wrote in an email to Billboard.

Why not choose to take the settlement rates like webcasters have done? Rosenberg explained that Live365 entered into CRB proceedings to protect those webcasters that play independent artists. Lower royalty rates could keep them in business without forcing a change to their programming. "We entered the CRB proceeding to further this goal because we believe that Internet radio is the best platform to promote artists and discover music."

In a statement, SoundExchange backed the CRB's decision. "SoundExchange is pleased that the Copyright Royalty Judges rejected Live365's request and continued to acknowledge the value of music."

Movies Top 2010 BitTorrent Searches; Eminem Most Searched For Musician

-- Most popular BitTorrent searches of 2010 were movies, according to a list compiled by TorrentFreak of searches at the BitTorrent index KickassTorrents.com. Topping the list were, in order, "Inception," "Iron Man 2" and "2010." The term "XXX" followed at #4, "French" was No. 5 and "Avatar" was No. 6.

The first and only music term in the top 100 is Eminem at No. 47. The absence of music titles from the list does not necessarily mean music was not a sought-after product. One factor is the relatively small number of movies released in a given year. Only 677 U.S. films were produced in 2009, according to the MPAA, while around 100,000 unique albums were released in the U.S. that year. As a result, demand for an average movie title is likely to be greater than demand for any one music title.

( TorrentFreak)

2010 Holiday Spending Highest in Five Years

-- U.S. holiday sales numbers are showing that Americans spent more than they have in the last five years, according to figures released by MasterCard Advisors' SpendingPulse. Retail sales (excluding autos but including Internet sales) rose 4.1% in the period from November 5 to December 24. Apparel sales were up 11%, jewelry was up 7% and consumer electronics rose just over 1%.

More good news: U.S. chain store sales were up 5% in the week ended December 25, according to figures released on Tuesday by ICSC Research and Goldman Sachs. ICSC Research expects chain store sales to be up 3.5% for the month of December.

( Bloomberg, Reuters)

Cassette-Only Releases In 2010

-- Of all the "best of" lists you'll run across this time of year, a list about cassette-only releases may be the least expected. But as Lars Gotrich explains in a post for NPR, cassettes are making a comeback of sorts: "In recent years, the once-thought-dead format has been welcoming to more than just the underground noise musicians who traded tapes over message boards. Black metal bands never quit dubbing, but quite a few tape-only drone and ambient labels have popped up, not only taking advantage of the relatively inexpensive format, but also embracing its naturally decaying sound."( NPR.com)

Google's Ngram Viewer Calculates Word Trends With Database Of 15 Million Books

-- Google's Ngram Viewer is a fun online tool that lets you look up a word's frequency in the more than 15 million books Google has digitized since 2004. Each search result is a trend line that represents a word's share of total words printed in each year.

For example, the word music peaked around 1943 with a .002 percentage of all words printed in books from 1800 to 2000. It climbed steadily from 1800 until about 1943, reached a 60-year low around 1980 and then started another upswing that continued through 2000.

The term music industry, on the other hand, had just a small blip on the radar around 1905 and didn't start its sharp upward trajectory until after 1965. Record label follows the same trend. Recorded music started appearing in books just after 1900, jumped up around 1920, peaked around 1950 and bottomed out in the 1970s before continuing upward through 2000. Digital music started taking off in the early 1980s (around the time the compact disc hit the market) and sharply increased in the late 1990s. (Google Ngram)

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