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SoundExchange Calls for Appeal of New Webcasting Rates, Saying They ‘Erode the Value of Music In Our Economy’

SoundExchange began the appeal process in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals on May 31 regarding the Copyright Royalty Board's rate termination from the Web IV proceedings.

SoundExchange has begun its appeal of the Copyright Royalty Board’s (CRB) recent rate ruling from the Web IV proceedings, beginning with a statement filed to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals on May 31. So far, SoundExchange has yet to file its arguments and case with the court — those are expected to come either later this month or next month.

Wait, What? The Copyright Royalty Board, Webcasting Rates and Paying Artists, Explained


“SoundExchange believes, respectfully, that the webcasting rates set by the Copyright Royalty Board in the Web IV proceedings do not reflect a fair market price for music and will erode the value of music in our economy,” according to a statement on its website. “We are therefore moving forward with an appeal to the decision. This is a lengthy, deliberate process and we are our unwavering in our position that all creators deserve fair compensation each and every time their music is used on any platform. We look forward to making our arguments on behalf of artists and record labels to the D.C. Circuit.”

In its review, conducted ever four years, the CRB set a rate of $0.0017 per play for free-to-the-consumer-streaming services and $0.0023 to paid subscriber streaming services. The rates are applied to the time period of Jan. 1, 2016 through Dec. 31, 2020.

In order to conduct the appeal, SoundExchange first had to ask the CRB to review its decision, and reportedly sent in its arguments for why it should be reviewed. The CRB responded, according to a source familiar with the matter, by saying it would change the things that it agreed with SoundExchange on in its final determination, but leaving out things it disagreed upon; and that there would be no further review.

The CRB published its determination in the Federal Register on May 2, which set a 30-day countdown to appeal. By filing its appeal on the last day of May, Sound Exchange got in just under the wire.