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On the CRB's Proposed Census Reporting And Actual Total Performances


Chapter 6: Final Thoughts

As I said before, I spend a lot of time talking to and working with webcasters and radio stations. The vast majority of these stations and their staff agree on the idea of artist compensation. They get it, that in a perfect world, this huge onerous recordkeeping that they have to do is supposed to benefit the artists they play, and actually get a royalty paycheck into their hands.

No, they're not happy that it means having to retool their streaming setup, retool their business processes, retool their recordkeeping, and commit a lot of staff hours and manpower into the process. But at the end of the day, if what they're doing helps get the artists they are playing paid, the majority of webcasters support the idea and are willing to head in that direction.

Yet, year after year, all webcasters are seeing is a neverending Bataan-like death march of proposed regulation for more licensing, more reporting, more compliance, more restrictions. All of which equals more load they are expected to shoulder while simply 'trusting' that their efforts are resulting in proper artist compensation. Many of them are now willing to pull out of the process entirely, despite being the ones to shoulder the brunt of the process for the last 5 years.

This does nothing but squeeze out the number of stations willing to play by the book, while fostering nothing but further ill will and bad faith among the two sides of the table. It's a bad road to continue down, and eventually, something has to give.

It would be an enormous step in the right direction if the CRB worked towards some sort of middle ground were reached here.

Some suggestions:

- a system that somehow compensated or incentivized the process for webcasters who are participating in the licensing process, and simultaneously encouraged the ones that aren't to start doing so. A break on the royalty percentages for complying stations would be a great starting place.

- establishing some workable middle ground between census and quarterly reporting. Again, royalty incentives would be a great 'carrot' to employ here.

- Getting the CRB to establish a system of benchmarks and oversight for the entire process, thus ensuring transparency and engendering rust in the process, before moving forward with any more severe changes.

Pie in the sky? Sure. None of this will probably ever happen. But remember: more rules = fewer licensees = fewer royalties = fewer artists getting paid.

I certainly that hope the CRB realizes this.

- bhance, 01.11.2009

Click here to continue to Part 6: Final Thoughts

Part 1: Introduction
Part 2: Census Reporting
Part 3: Actual Total Performances
Part 4: Adoption Rate And Participation
Part 5: A Process Badly In Need Of Transparency
Part 6: Final Thoughts