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Webcasters to see hike in Net radio fees

Internet radio services are set to see a rise in the fees they pay record companies for Webcasting their songs.

According to Wired News' Listening Post blog, the U.S. Copyright Board on Friday announced new royalty rates, effective starting 2006 up until 2010. Under the new rules, stations will owe a retroactive rate of $0.0008 for streaming each song to each listener in 2006. Rates go up from there, reaching as high as $0.0019 per song by 2010.

While that might not seem like much, those payments could end up being potentially steep. The Radio and Internet Newsletter, an advocate of Net radio services, said that with the 2006 retroactive rate, Webcasters would be required to pay approximately 1.28 cents per listener per hour, and that rate would increase substantially each year.

Smaller Webcasters are not affected by the royalty increase, though they still must come up with a $500 minimum fee. Congress approved a bill in 2002 that significantly lowered the royalty rates for small Webcasters and nonprofits.