Today in Music: CRB Update and News

Britt Daniel has reason to be happy: Spoon debuts
in Billboard’s top 10 this week!

photo by Kris Krüg

CRB Update:

Deliberations continue between webcasters and SoundExchange, the organization that collects royalties on behalf of record labels and musicians, even as the deadline for a decision has passed. On Thursday, just three days before the CRB decided royalty rate increase was due to take effect, John Simson, the executive director of SoundExchange, offered a temporary reprieve before Congress to allow small and noncommercial webcasters to continue streaming this week without penalty. The deal is good for as long as negotiations remain in good faith, which means until the new rates are agreed upon. While this development seems promising to the smaller webcasters — because at least SoundExchange is willing to listen to their arguments — there are a few items the organization is negotiating for that can still spell doom for the even larger organizations like Pandora, Live365, and Rhapsody. You can read the details here, but overall several issues still need to be worked out, such as a proposed cap on the “minimum fees” that SoundExchange wants to multi-channel webcasters to pay, right now amounting to $500 per channel. Small webcasters would be able to avoid such minimum fees, but the terms by which a “small webcaster” is defined are still being decided. Webcasters earlier denied a compromise with SoundExchange because they considered the definition too narrow. According to their own press release, SoundExchange is requiring “more detailed reporting” by the webcasters. They are also requesting, as Simson says, “help with stream ripping” while working towards “a technologically-feasible solution,” which, as Tiny Mix Tapes observes, is a nigh-impossible task. Does anyone else recall the same worries being made about cassette tapes? Did they destroy the music industry? Granted, a webstream recording can sound a lot better than my old Maxell’s, but it’s still a webstream and thus inferior quality to the CD itself. To find out more about the issues and what you can do, visit Save Internet Radio.


Other Music News:

Proving that internet isn’t killing the rock star, independent label artists Spoon (Merge) have debuted in the top 10 of the Billboard charts this week, alongside major label acts like T.I., Smashing Pumpkins, Kelly Clark, and former indie artists Interpol. Since there aren’t as many terrestrial stations that play independent bands (modern rock stations outnumber alternative stations three to one), one has to wonder of webcasting’s influence on the band’s success. Regardless, it’s great to see recognition for Spoon’s excellent album Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga.

By the way, you can check out the new Phoner Remix of “The Heinrich Maneuver” on Interpol’s MySpace page.


Prince gave the music industry a shake when he announced that his latest album, Planet Earth, would be distributed for free with issues of the U.K.’s Mail on Sunday newspaper. According to NME, copies of the album are now flooding the internet to be downloaded freely. One quoted blogger defended posting the entire album by saying, “Seeing as it was free anyway…we decided to stick it up here for anyone who didn’t get it,” obviously ignoring the fact that the paper itself wasn’t free and that they paid to print the “free” CD. Apparently more legal: sellers on eBay are offering, by my count, over 100 copies to anyone who wants to pay anywhere from five to twenty bucks.


Interested in being a video star? Aussie songwriter Ben Lee, Your Mom Films and New West Records are looking for extras as the film Lee’s latest video, for “Love Me Like the World Is Ending.” (Okay, so you won’t be a star, but you gotta start somewhere.) For details, go to Brooklyn Vegan. Here’s a public service announcement brought to you by Ben Lee:

While a sore throat may have kept Morrissey from performing in a few East Coast cities, it hasn’t stopped his creative output. According the The Music Slut, Moz debuted a new song called “Arms Around Paris Hilton” during his Jacksonville, Florida, show last night. Sure to be dripping with sarcasm, the song will likely become a favorite among fans. Here’s another tune about another important pop culture icon (courtesy of Can You See the Sunset?):

I’m From Barcelona – Britney (MP3)

Quick, name a Harry Nilsson song! If you’re like the many music fans who always feel out of the loop when others namedrop Nilsson, there’s a recent documentary Who Is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talkin’ About Him?) to bring you up to speed. An Aquarium Drunkard caught the biopic, which is still making the festival rounds, last night and presents this trailer:

If you’ve seen Seattle’s own Sean Nelson recently, you may have witnessed his live performances of his ongoing project Nelson Sings Nilsson, which will hopefully see a CD release soon. Get updates at the project’s MySpace page.

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