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RIAA Supports Small Webcasters
Jim Bessman, 24 October 2002
The RIAA has moved to help small Webcasters by authorizing
labels and owners of recording copyrights to accept the minimum
annual payment of $500 for digital performance royalties,
following the Senate's unexpected failure to act on legislation
cutting those Webcasters-who make less than $1 million
annually-some much needed slack. The Senate may reconsider
action when it returns from its break after the November
Speaking of royalties, Universal Music Group will discontinue
certain deductions from royalties in order to attract greater
cooperation from artists in its online music businesses. The
move, which applies to sales of digital downloads and
subscription services, is being hailed as a boon to using
downloads to drive album sales; BMG, Warner Music Group, and
EMI are said to be similarly reviewing their policies.
In other record company news, industry veteran Steve Backer,
most recently executive VP of West Coast creative for EMI
Music Publishing, will be GM of V2 Records' U.S. division,
reporting to president Andy Gershon. This follows a
restructuring at V2 Records North America involving the
dismissal of almost half of its New York staff.
In tech developments, DataPlay Inc., which had just
succeeded in releasing the first titles in its disc-size
format, has now filed for bankruptcy after failing to
obtain needed financing. Jukebox manufacturer Ecast Inc.,
which is acquiring the RioPort download services provider,
has secured licensing with DreamWorks Records for its
content in Ecast Internet-enabled jukeboxes in public
venues. Virgin Records America and New York mastering
studio Sterling Sound have joined with Boston's DMOD Inc.
to license a secure peer-to-peer Internet technology
permitting record company executives to monitor albums in
development anywhere in the world via the Internet-thereby
speeding up the record production process.
has launched Version 2.0 of its Rhapsody subscription
service, and it goes beyond on-demand streaming and
Internet radio programming to include burning of
tracks-at 99 cents apiece--from UMG and WMG, along with
TVT, Sanctuary, and 16 more indie labels. The service,
which is the only one offering content from all five
majors, will also be accessible now from any PC.
Meanwhile, Sirius Satellite Radio stock jumped 57%
following a $1.2 billion recapitalization.
In artist news, mid-'80s r&b supergroup New
Edition has reformed, with a new album due from Sean
"P. Didd" Combs' Bad Boy Records next
spring. The group, which disbanded in 1989 (but
briefly regrouped in 1996), includes Ricky Bell,
Michael Bivins, Ronnie DeVoe, Johnny Gill, and Ralph
Tresvant-but not original member Bobby Brown.
The Rolling Stones, Lenny Kravitz, Blink-182, 'N
Sync, Beyonce Knowles, and Pink have joined in the
campaign against Internet music piracy being
conducted by the MUSIC (Music United for Strong
Internet Copyright) Coalition, which commenced last
month with full-page ads in major newspapers and is
expanding with TV and Internet ads.
Finally, the great Grand Ole Opry dobro player
Bashful Brother Oswald Kirby, who played with Roy
Acuff's Smoky Mountain Boys for more than 50
years, is dead at 90. Gone, too, is Derek Bell,
who played harp, oboe, cor anglais, hammered
dulcimer, and keyboards with the legendary Irish
group the Chieftains, at 66.
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like-minded artists who may find it of interest.
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