Believe it or not, the financial crisis is not the only issue being debated in Congress these days. The House has passed legislation that would allow webcasters to renegotiate royalty rates. The bill would likely lead to lower rates for many Internet radio services. In recent months, many of these companies have complained that they may be forced out of business without relief.
The Senate could vote on the Webcaster Settlement Act of 2008 as soon as today. Wired reports that the recording industry has joined SoundExchange, the group that collects royalties, in supporting the legislation. SoundExchange, Wired says, has apparently acknowledged that previously proposed rates are “too high.” For now, Pandora and other webcasters are cautiously optimistic.