Music publishers sign mega-deal on Web radio

The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers announced Monday that it has reached a $1.7 billion deal with the Radio Music License Committee to give stations the ability to legally stream their on-air content over the Internet. With the deal, the RMLC said, its 12,000 member stations gain the right to program ASCAP-regulated music online simultaneous to their on-air signals. The two industry groups labeled the agreement, which was approved Friday by U.S. District Court Judge William C. Conner, as the largest licensing deal in the history of American radio.

The groups said the agreement includes retroactive licensing fees for the years 2001 to 2003 and establishes a new guideline to be followed from 2004 until 2009. The deal replaces an existing system of revenue-based licensing fees with a royalties schedule for stations that will stream significant amounts of ASCAP-controlled content.

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