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Tuning In: The Future of Radio

Mon, 28 Sep 2015 16:58:31 +0000

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It’s easy to feel like radio is a format on life support. On the FM dial, Clear Channel (ahem, excuse me, iHeartRadio) controls huge swaths of our broadcast landscape. Indie stations do exist—and are a Godsend on road trips—but they’re few and far between. Of course, there are tons of digital options, including tailored channels and online streamers where algorithms do the heavy lifting. But will the audience continue to grow or eventually fade out?

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Hip-Hop Station Makes Waves in Vermont

Thu, 27 Aug 2015 17:13:43 +0000

Casey Rae is the CEO of the Future of Music Coalition, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy nonprofit. (He’s also the former music editor of this paper.) One of the coalition’s most successful projects is the 2006 report “False Premises, False Promises,” which traces the effects of the 1996 Telecommunications Act on the radio industry.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015
Justin Boland

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Join Us in Celebrating National Radio Day

Wed, 19 Aug 2015 14:17:33 +0000

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Music lovers everywhere: it’s time to tune in, turn the volume up, and celebrate because Thursday, August 20 is National Radio Day.  This holiday has been celebrated since the early 1990s on Aug. 20, honoring the day the first news radio station, 8MK radio in Detroit was licensed by the FCC and went on the air in 1920. But this year’s event is going to be the biggest yet, as dozens of noncommercial stations across the country will be participating. And you can participate too by visiting www.nationalradioday.com.

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Making Waves and Asking Questions: Explaining Why We Need The Fair Play, Fair Pay Act in the U.S.

Thu, 23 Jul 2015 17:54:20 +0000

With the many headlines that have been seen over the past couple years regarding streaming services and artist revenue-related topics, even the casual music fan and average U.S. citizen may have begun to wonder what is going on behind-the-scenes of the music business as it relates to these topics.
  […]

Kristin Thomson, the Co-Director of the US-based non-profit Future of Music Coalition’s Artist Revenue Streams research project, has shared her perspective as representative of FMC which has covered the measure in depth:

Thursday, July 23, 2015
David De Cristofaro

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Why Pandora Is Running a Small Town Radio Station

Wed, 17 Jun 2015 17:07:00 +0000

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Current copyright royalty formulas rest on a legal framework that dates back to the early part of last century, and “the time is ripe to question the existing paradigm,” U.S. Register of Copyrights Maria Pallante said in a 245-page February report on “Copyright and the Music Marketplace.”

The copyright board’s proceeding covers the bulk of payments to recording artists and labels made by Pandora and other digital music providers. By December, the board will decide Internet radio royalty rates through 2020.

Traditional AM and FM radio stations — such as KXMZ — are exempt from these royalties.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015
Todd Shields

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Legislative Update: Radio Royalties & Net Neutrality

Tue, 19 May 2015 18:24:31 +0000

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by Bryce Cashman, Legal Intern

As Congress prepares for a week-long break at the end of May, it’s a good time to review some recent developments. Last month, Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA) and Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) reintroduced their Protecting the Rights of Musicians Act (PRMA), which was originally introduced in May 2014.  The bill’s main focus is ensuring that performers and record labels receive compensation for over-the-air play on AM/FM radio, something FMC has supported for over a decade. Currently a loophole in U.S. copyright law allows AM/FM radio broadcasters to circumvent the payment of royalties, while digital radio is still bound to pay everyone from performers and record labels to songwriters and publishers.

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Robin Thicke Accidentally Exposes A Secret Way That Songwriters Get Shortchanged

Thu, 20 Nov 2014 15:25:29 +0000

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by Sam Redd, Communications Intern and Kevin Erickson, Communications Associate

It’s happening again: another contemporary hitmaker is involved in a lawsuit with the estate of a well-loved musician over alleged unauthorized use of elements of the latter’s past work. In this case, the issue is Robin Thicke’s 2013 hit “Blurred Lines” and the Gaye family’s claim that the song illegally appropriates elements from Marvin Gaye’s #1 hit “Got to Give it Up,” released in 1977. After more than a year of legal wrangling, it now appears that the dispute may be one of the rare infringement cases that makes it to trial. But there’s a surprising wrinkle: in the course of litigating this dispute, Thicke may have let slip one of the music business’s more troubling open secrets.

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New York Court Rules Against SiriusXM in Copyright Case

Mon, 17 Nov 2014 14:57:42 +0000

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On Friday, November 14, a New York federal judge handed members of the band the Turtles another victory in their push to get paid for digital radio plays of music they recorded before 1972.

Judge Colleen McMahon of the United States District Court in Manhattan said no-go to SiriusXM’s motion for summary judgment (a move to dismiss the suit), giving the satellite broadcaster until Dec. 5, 2014 to dispute remaining facts. This means that SiriusXM can be held liable for copyright infringement.

As we have previously explained, this case—as well as earlier rulings in California and pending lawsuits against Internet radio company Pandora—arose due to a weird loophole in federal copyright law.

Currently, recordings made before February 15, 1972 do not enjoy federal protection, as there was no federal copyright for sound recordings until Congress passed a bill on that date. However, this legislation did not apply retroactive protections, which means older sound recordings are covered by a patchwork of state statute and case law.

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“Radio” and Artist Compensation: A Study in Contrasts

Sat, 08 Nov 2014 13:41:47 +0000

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Streaming music is getting a lot of attention lately. Some of this is because country/pop superstar Taylor Swift removed her catalog from Spotify, and major media outlets like to ask folks like us what it means. But Spotify isn’t the only streaming game in town: there’s also Internet radio, which is an entirely different animal when it comes to how royalty rates are calculated and how musicians are paid.

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Who's To Blame For Commercial Radio's Worst New Idea?

Tue, 19 Aug 2014 15:17:07 +0000

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by Kevin Erickson, Communications Associate

Imagine a radio format that plays “twice as many songs” by only playing about half of each song, in an attempt to cater to “the needs and lifestyle of today’s multitasking, attention challenged listeners.” It may sound like a joke straight out of Mike Judge’s Idiocracy, but it’s the actual concept behind QuickHitz, a syndicated radio format that is currently making news for all the wrong reasons.

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