Zoe Keating is an independent musician who has an independent opinion about the Internet Radio Fairness Act that’s worth listening to. She says that almost every day someone asks her what she thinks of it, so after doing a lot of thinking she took the time to write a really great post on her tumblr about it all. First let me say that I try hard not to overdo it with discussions of royalties here on my blog because I think that others do a better job writing on that topic, and frankly, it’s a little dry for me. So I was charmed to read this on Ms Keating’s post:
“The subject of internet performance royalties is not only mind-numbing and very hard to focus on, especially when you have a toddler attached to your leg, but it is also joyless. It’s not rocket science, but I think rocket science would be more fun.”
Amen. Nonetheless, she perseveres, and comes up with some great thoughts that are not the usual gibberish that musicians spout after being prepped/educated by their record labels.
First of all, Ms Keating wants to know why the Internet related royalty payments that she receives are so hard to figure out. For example, she says she gets statements from SoundExchange that don’t even tell her anything about how many people have listened or how many plays she’s getting paid for. And she’d like to know that. In fact, she’d rather have that information than money because she recognizes that it would help her know her audience: “I wish I could make this demand: stream my music, but in exchange give me my listener data. But the law doesn’t give me that power. The law only demands I be paid in money, which at this point in my career is not as valuable as information. I’d rather be paid in data.”
After a really long and logical explanation of what she gets paid in royalties and what she thinks would work, Zoe Keating comes to this wonderful conclusion:
“we should make royalties equitable and fair for every kind of service: internet radio, satellite, commercial terrestrial radio. On the internet we can determine how many people are listening…In essence, let there be One Royalty Rate To Rule Them All and get rid of the percentage-of-revenue system (unless a broadcaster is non-profit, or maybe even during a well-defined start-up period)… I think this means internet royalty rates will need to come down (although not as much as proposed), and satellite and terrestrial will come up.”
All that, and she can play too…