C|Net reports that the music industry is offering “small” webcasters the option of paying “below market” royalty rates on the songs they play, keeping the required royalty rates essentially the same as they are under a 2002 law called the Small Webcaster Settlement Act.
It’s not known what the cutoff for “small” would be, but the SaveNetRadio coalition argues logically that almost all webcasters should be considered small by broadcast standards. Once they get more popular, however, they might very well grow themselves out of business under the proposed plan.
While I’d love the ability to stream some MP3’s from Newsome.Org, the bigger issue is not helping bloggers put a few streaming MP3’s online, it’s ensuring the viability of the places most of us go to get new music- the Pandoras and Rhapsodys of the world.
As Techdirt points out, this is likely an attempt to distract the growing number of politicians who have been looking at this very important issue.
While I’m happy to see the music industry negotiate a little, there’s a lot more work to do before we’re done.