KCRW GM Ruth Seymour has been delivering the bad news to listeners all day: The little-known Copyright Royalty Board upheld its earlier decision to impose higher royalty rates on Web radio stations. That means KCRW must pay for every person listening to every song online - and those royalty payments are up to 1,200 percent higher than the fees stations are used to shelling out. Congress may get involved, especially since the decision will be a big deal for all kinds of media and telecom companies. BW's Olga Kharif lays it out in her Tech Beat blog:
In effect, the CRB has imposed high royalties, payable to a company formed by music labels, on everyone from Mercora, which allows users to download its radio-playing software onto smartphones for listening to Webcasts via cellular, to music services powered by wireless carriers themselves. Until now, these carriers have negotiated for royalty rates with individual content owners directly. These business arrangements have not been disclosed, but there is a chance that the telcos’ payments will now increase.