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Wednesday, 15 August, 2001, 12:16 GMT 13:16 UK
Musicians appeal for web royalties
WorldClassRock is one station owned by Clear Channel
Musicians who want payment every time their songs are played on internet music stations have appealed to negotiators.

The American music industry and internet broadcasters have called in an arbitration panel to decide on the size of web royalties for artists.

The panel heard an emotional plea from singer Jennifer Warnes - best-known for the Dirty Dancing theme The Time of My Life - and legendary Nashville guitarist Harold Bradley, Variety magazine reports.

Internet broadcasters want to pay 0.014 cents for every song they play - to be split between the record company and musicians - but record industry negotiators are demanding 0.4 cents per song.

Generation before

"What you will do will affect so many lives," Warnes is quoted as telling the panel.

"I woke up crying this morning [remembering] the generation before us - Billie Holiday, Janis Joplin - because the money was too low, the work too hard."

MTV runs a number of internet radio stations
The webcasters act like radio stations - except the songs are played through internet connections instead of over the airwaves.

They would not be able to afford to run the sites if forced to meet the record industry's demands, they say.

But the record industry says the deal is a chance for musicians to earn money they have lost out on in a similar deal with conventional radio stations.

Radio stations currently only pay royalties to songwriters and publishers - not artists and labels.

Bradley, who is said to be one of the most recorded artists of all time and has played with Elvis Presley and Buddy Holly, said this is a chance to give artists a fair deal.

"This is the right thing to do," he said. "Radio just fell through the cracks."

Industry heavyweights

Bradley is also vice president of the American Federation of Musicians.

The companies with music websites who are taking part in the talks include industry heavyweights Clear Channel Communications, AOL Time Warner and Viacom.

Also involved is the MTVi Group - the interactive arm of the MTV music television stations - plus Launch Media and MusicMatch.

The American copyright office was forced to appoint arbitration judges in July after the two sides were unable to settle the on a fee alone.

Different deals

There are currently over 4,000 webcasters according to the Digital Media Association (DiMA), most of whom currently provide music for free.

But only 15 are directly involved in this arbitration process.

Some webcasters, including Yahoo!, have already signed deals with the Recording Industry Association of America, while others are waiting to see the outcome of the arbitration.

The RIAA recently won a copyright battle with online song-swapping service Napster, which had let users access songs for free.

See also:

31 Jul 01 | New Media
Negotiators join web royalty row
12 Apr 01 | New Media
Internet radio faces royalty row
18 May 01 | New Media
Digital music firms' copyright fears
05 Apr 01 | Media reports
Industry at odds over digital music
03 Apr 01 | TV and Radio
Radio 'faces radical overhaul'
22 Mar 01 | TV and Radio
Internet broadcasting's brief history
22 Mar 01 | TV and Radio
Internet broadcasting's fuzzy future?
11 May 00 | UK
Net boosts radio figures
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