Here is an explanation for you just in case you don't know what happened - Scroll Down to skip and go direct to signing the Petition(s).
In mid December, The Copyright Royalty Board announced new rates for internet radio and digital webcasting. This is a process that occurs roughly every five years to determine if rates need changing. This time around rates were changed for some and not others. For example, Pandora will pay more to artists/rightholders and iHeartMedia will pay less to artists/rightholders. The rate changes will not affect how major songwriters or major publishers are paid. It will not affect Satellite Radio for they happen to be grandfathered in under the "Fair Play Fair Pay Act" which offers them a percent of revenue arrangement. It also does not impact such services as Spotify, Youtube and Apple music, etc. For they have direct deals with rightholders (most likely direct with labels, publishers, etc.) which allows them to pay sound recording royalties by way of a statutory license instead.
However, it DOES extremely affect Small Webcasters - which means it affects Artists and the service providers for them both! Here is HOW and WHY....
See, there was originally different levels to how the rates where calculated. This was done through the "Webcaster Settlement Act" which only lasted until 2015. So, when these new rates came out it changed to only two rates - one for subscription services and one for non-subscription services. What this means is that Small Webcasters who have smaller audiences and earn smaller revenues (if any) are at a huge disadvantage. For they are now required to pay the non-subscription service fees of $0.0017 per 100 plays - per listener per track. This is a BIG difference from the percentage of revenue model Small Webcasters were under until it expired on December 31, 2015.
This has caused 1000's of stations weekly to shut down! And this number is growing! For the deadline to begin the new structure is February 1st. Each station would have to make a $500 annual minimum fee (non-refundable) to SoundExchange per channel along with a statement of account form. Then in March the year's first monthly statement of account is due along with payment of the licensing bill. These are due within 45 days after the end of every month. Along with this, a report of use, which must include data on every song played during the billed month, will have to be submitted. So this means after the first $500 is paid Small Webcasters will begin to get bills at the rate of $0.0017 per song per listener!
Here is the thing, Small Webcasters are those who have paid some form of performance royalties to artists for airing their music since the start of internet radio. However, FM/AM terrestial stations have NEVER! For they are protected from doing so under a loophole in U.S. Law. So the question is, if they do not have to pay and we were paying why shut us out of a new agreement. No, we were not represented in legislation like the Microcasters such as non-commercial college stations, for we as small webcasters could not afford such an expense. But there is no doubt that everyone in the Copyright Royalty Board AND at SoundExchange knows this and knew the agreement was expiring.
This is why we have to unify to make our voices heard, to have them understand that we are not just going to bow down and not fight for our right to play! Our services provide opportunities traditional radio does not, exposure AND royalties that traditional radio does not. Artists need to understand that we are for you. We are in no way saying that artists do not deserve royalties for their creations, we are only saying keep in mind that many of you would NEVER receive airplay let alone ANY royalties without Small Webcasters. So we ask that artists, broadcasters and all those affected by this sign the petitions and help us SOUND THE ALARM on SoundExchange and The CRB!