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David Palmer

New CRB Webcast Royalties, Net Neutrality and Mobile Streaming a look ahead to 2011





When I was a kid I loved this time of year when the networks would do a year in review. It is amazing how much change can take place in the span of twelve months. In 2010, we witnessed many dramatic events unfold. On the political front we saw change, not the kind offered in the "yes we can" speech, but in the form of Americans going to the polls and creating their own kind of change.  A late night show host said it best: the "yes we can" slogan has been replaced by "thought we could."

2011 is gearing up to be just as eventful. In the internet streaming and broadcast industries there will be three key areas to watch, royalty rates, the growth of mobile streaming and the issue euphemistically named “net neutrality.”

The Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) has set rates for webcast royalties for 2011-2015, covering streamers that are not under one of the various agreements negotiated last year. Deals were reached between SoundExchange and the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), small webcasters (based on revenue), NPR (by way of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting), and a group of pureplay streamers including Pandora. For those not under any of those agreements, the rates will be $.0019 per performance next year, $.0021 in 2012 and 2013, and $.0023 in 2014 and 2015. (A performance is defined as one song streamed to one listener.)

Noncommercial streamers are eligible for an annual $500 minimum per channel, plus per-performance rates that kick in after 159,140 aggregate tuning hours in a given month. The rates: $.0017 per performance in 2011, $.0020 in 2012, $.0022 in 2013 and 2014, and $.0025 in 2015. While the minimum rate and the aggregate tuning hours (ATH) threshold is the same for noncommercial streamers, the performance rate for the "heavy hitters" will go up over the next 5 years. These same rates hold for broadcasters that weren't part of the NAB agreement -- and are the same as for those broadcasters that did opt in.

On December 21st, the five FCC commissioners are scheduled to consider a report to adopt basic rules of the road to "preserve the Internet as an open platform". Sounds great doesn't it? As with all things involving government it is important to read the fine print. Net neutrality will allow FCC regulators to exercise authority over online content. Specifically content that is deemed by the FCC as "questionable". If the FCC deems a radio station’s programming to be questionable it can have the online streams of that station blocked.  This should be an area of concern to anyone in the media industry, or really anyone who values the principle of free speech as it relates to the internet.

The last area that we have our eye on in 2011 is mobile streaming technologies. In June of 2010, AT&T announced that they would be doing away with unlimited data plans for smart phones. The reason for this is the increase of mobile apps, specifically ones for streaming radio to mobile devices. Apple has also instituted new rules for the app market at the iStore. All companies are struggling to keep up with the exponentially growing demand of the mobile market. The Droid mobile device is pushing the marketing of its phones to have foothold in the industry before 2012 when Verizon will be able to sell and support iPhones. All in all, the mobile market will be on everyone's radar, including our friends at CRB who will inevitably try to impose increasing royalties for mobile music.

Next year as we approach 2012, I will have to dig this article out to see how close I was to predicting the top stories in 2011.


David Palmer is co-founder of With 20 years of internet experience, David has assisted ministries in taking their message global with the ever evolving world of technology. With over 500 Christian radio stations as clients, ChristianNetcast has be come a leader in streaming technologies. His goal is to see Christian broadcasters use every tool available, so that ministries can have an impact beyond their four walls and zip codes. As technologies have evolved, David has held the hand of many ministries as they have watched their church grow to include virtual congregations. His diverse experience as a Navy Veteran, ordained Minister and coach have made him a fun and informative speaker at Universities, high schools and Conventions. David has been featured on Fox News, 700 Club and TBN .


ChristianNetcast is the parent company of, CNC Technologies, MainstreamNetwork and NWR Network. was birthed in 1999, in what many would consider the most unlikely place to establish an internet company. While many internet startups were based in the Silicon Valley, was started in what used to be the lumber capital of the world, Bangor Maine. Todd VanTasel and David Palmer, founders of were attending a local church and saw the need to have the churches services broadcasted on the internet. When other ministries learned how the church was using this new streaming technology, they soon wanted to use the same type of tools for their church. The word about quickly spread and the company began to receive international recognition and was featured on television and radio programs such as Fox News, CBN, 700 Club and TBN. In 2006 the company moved its headquarters to Virginia Beach VA. currently serves over 500 ministries worldwide.