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NAB, SoundExchange Cut Web Streaming Rates

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The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and SoundExchange have announced a comprehensive agreement on Internet streaming rates for local radio stations that simulcast programming over the Internet or that create new stand-alone Internet stations.

The agreement provides discounts on previously-set rates for 2009 and 2010 and establishes rates for 2011-2015, providing stations with an enhanced ability to serve listeners through online platforms.

Additionally, the NAB reached separate agreements with individual record label groups that waive certain statutory format restrictions allowing, for example, certain artists to be played more often during a four hour period.

Under the agreement, rates for simulcasts or Web channels operated by local radio stations are reduced in 2009 and 2010 by approximately 16 percent, and then gradually increase through 2015 - from $0.0015 per streamed sound recording in 2009 to $0.0025 per stream by 2015.

The agreement was reached under the authority of the Webcaster Settlement Act of 2008 (H.R. 7080) and covers simulcasts over the Internet of all copyrighted commercially-released musical performances.

"Today's announcement provides local radio stations with the ability to enhance their local service with an online component, boosting listeners' access to music, local news and information," said NAB executive vp Dennis Wharton. "By ensuring the continued viability of Internet streaming for America's radio stations, today's agreement further strengthens the relationship between free, local radio and our 235 million weekly listeners."

"Because of the explosive growth of music on the Internet, this is good news for everyone involved in music - from artists to labels to broadcasters and to fans," SoundExchange executive director John Simson said. "It provides radio stations more opportunity to grow their on-line businesses in a stable business environment.

Furthermore, it gives artists and copyright holders the opportunity to have more of their music played, while being fairly compensated, in more places as radio services expand their offerings on the Internet."