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Journal of the Music & Entertainment Industry Educators Association

Volume 9, Number 1 (2009)

Drifting Down the Webcasting Stream: Can Businesses Stay Afloat?

Kelsey Bartlett
Missouri State University (undergraduate student paper)


With technological advances and widespread use of the internet, radio transmission has assumed a whole new form. Streaming radio, often referred to as webcasting, is a recently developed mechanism that broadcasts audio transmissions via the internet. Distinct from terrestrial radio operations, webcasting provides a “stream” of continuous audio programming to any compatible device. While this innovative service is usually offered at little or no cost to listeners, internet stations are facing steep royalty fees that threaten their futures. Several commercial and radio webcasters are in dispute with record labels, and the entities representing the labels, for using the labels’ licensed materials. Artists, record labels, and the collective industry demand to be paid what many consider to be high royalty rates for the use of the music; the webcasting stations argue for paying lower royalty rates. After more than ten years and countless legislative efforts to settle the dispute, a few major players in the webcasting realm remain in clash with the industry. As webcasting business’ revenues are scrutinized, the controversy over a payment plan for streaming music will persist as ideas are converted into workable solutions. This article examines internet radio stations as a technological advancement and discusses related legislation. It analyzes current controversy surrounding webcasting royalty rates and predicts solutions to the ongoing DiMA/SoundExchange disagreement.

Keywords: music industry, streaming, webcasting, digital music, music licensing, recording industry, music royalties, copyright, DiMA, SoundExchange

Bartlett, Kelsey. “Drifting Down the Webcasting Stream: Can Businesses Stay Afloat?Journal of the Music and Entertainment Industry Educators Association 9, no. 1 (2009): 181-194. https://doi.org/10.25101/9.8

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