US Congress to spin magic ‘wheel of destiny’ to determine the future of internet radio royalty schemes

US Congress to spin magic 'wheel of destiny' to determine the future of internet radio royalty schemes

Does anyone actually know how royalties are awarded to rights holders when their copyrighted material is played online and through other non-traditional (a.k.a. non-AM/FM radio) channels? Slate sure does, and it’s a lot more complicated than you probably thought. While AM and FM stations don’t pay royalties thanks to a sweet deal they got before computers ruled our waking existence, the exciting world of the 1990s brought us the reality artists, labels, publishers, and songwriters deal with today when their content is streamed online or through satellite radio.

Because services like Sirius and XM (now Sirius XM) were up and running when the Digital Millennium Copyright Act was passed in 1998, their royalties scheme was set up under something known as the 801(b) standard. This royalties provision requires services like Sirius XM to pay a portion of their gross revenues as royalties. In 2008 it was 6% and is expected to hit the mid-teens in the coming years. That actually doesn’t seem like a bad deal given that the people they’re paying royalties to are providing the subscription services with their bread and butter, the actual music they provide to customers.

What we know today as internet radio wasn’t so lucky. Services like Pandora have to pay royalties based on something called ‘willing user/willing seller.’ This has resulted in Pandora reporting a royalty payout of nearly 50% of gross income in 2012, with those rates continuing to rise. The problem with this scheme is that it arbitrarily sets rates based on what the industry determines is fair market value, without an actual fair market in existence from which to draw its conclusions. Being a self-serving and -destructing scheme could lead to bankruptcy for streaming services in the coming years, ultimately removing a huge source of exposure that rights holders need in order to keep collecting the royalties they need to make money in the first place. The vicious cycle.

So, what’s to be done? Having two separate and definitely not equal schemes for providers who are essentially doing the same thing, delivering music to consumers, doesn’t make any sense. In an attempt to reform the schemes, two congressmen and a senator have proposed a bill (the Internet Radio Fairness Act) that would streamline the royalty scheme to reflect the 801(b) standard for all satellite and internet music providers. And right on cue, another senator has stepped in to fill the US government’s apparent contrarian requirement by submitting a bill — the Interim Fairness in Radio Starts Today (FIRST) Act — that would impose the unsustainable willing user/willing seller model on to all of the players in the game.

Reform is needed, and if you like the cheap or even free services you get through, Pandora, etc., TMT would recommend you contact your lawmakers and ask them to support the Internet Radio Fairness Act, even if it doesn’t have a catchy acronym like the FIRST Act. Do it for the internet.

• Internet Radio Fairness Act:

The Mountain Goats announce another Satan-fueled, cloven-hoofed leg of fall tourdates

Dear Satan:

Well, you were right. It’s happening. It’s all really happening! I feel so freaking good right now! Just think: they all laughed at me when I told them that a brainy, insular mash-up of indie folk and death metal could be non-terrible… but who’s laughing now, Satan? Me and you, buddy. That’s who. HAHAHAHAHA! (Ooh, btw, in case you don’t understand certain colloquial grammar and usage conventions up here, those “HA” things are are textual-renditions of my laughter.) Really, though, this is a dream come true for me, and I never could have gotten here without selling my immortal soul to you. What a bargain.

Now that the band you helped me start with your Satan-powers, The Mountain Goats, has a new album called Transcendental Youth coming out next week (October 2, eeeeeeee, excited!!!) on Merge, we’re going on tour of North America to show it off, and we just added a whole ‘nother leg of dates! Can you believe it, dude!? That’s, like, a thing that Prince would say! Like: “Oh, hello, I’m Prince, and I’ve just added a second leg of Prince US tour dates in support of my new Prince album. This is what it’s like when Doves cry. Blah blah blah!” (Oh man, listen to me telling you what Prince sounds like, like you don’t own that guy for all eternity!) Ooh, and did I mention that singer/songwriter Matthew E. White, who’s opening for us on most shows, is letting us borrow his freakin’ horn section to flesh out all the arrangements for our sets? And did you further hear that, before the tour kicks starts, we’ll be performing five songs from Transcendental Youth in Durham, NC with the world-renowned vocal quartet Anonymous 4 (on October 6, FYI; can you come???), in “special vocal arrangements” done by Owen Pallett? Yup, and it’s all thanks to you, Satan. Thank God I met you at that singles-only bowling night thing back in the day. Whoops! I mean, God-who? I mean, all hail Satan’s Godly name! I mean… uh, here, check me out on Pitchfork TV.

Transcendental Youth tracklist:

01. Amy aka Spent Gladiator 1
02. Lakeside View Apartments Suite
03. Cry for Judas
04. Harlem Roulette
05. White Cedar
06. Until I Am Whole
07. Night Light
08. The Diaz Brothers
09. Counterfeit Florida Plates
10. In Memory of Satan
11. Spent Gladiator 2
12. Transcendental Youth


10.06.12 - Durham, NC - Reynolds Industries Theatre (w/ Anonymous 4)
10.09.12 - Richmond, VA - The National *
10.10.12 - Baltimore, MD - The Ottobar *
10.11.12 - Philadelphia, PA - Theatre of Living Arts *
10.13.12 - Brooklyn, NY - Music Hall of Williamsburg *
10.14.12 - Brooklyn - Music Hall of Williamsburg *
10.15.12 - New York, NY - Bowery Ballroom *
10.16.12 - New York, NY - Bowery Ballroom *
10.18.12 - Boston - House of Blues *
10.19.12 - Ithaca, NY - The Haunt *
10.20.12 - Toronto, ON - Phoenix Concert Theatre *
10.22.12 - Grand Rapids, MI - The Ladies Literary Club *
10.23.12 - Milwaukee, WI - Pabst Theatre *
10.24.12 - Minneapolis, MN - Varsity Theatre *
10.26.12 - Iowa City, IA - The Blue Moose TapHouse *
10.27.12 - Chicago, IL - Vic Theatre *
11.04.12 - Huntington, WV - Keith-Albee Performing Arts Center (Mountain Stage)
11.29.12 - Atlanta, GA - Terminal West *
12.01.12 - Nashville, TN - Mercy Lounge *
12.03.12 - Tulsa, OK - Cain’s Ballroom *
12.04.12 - Dallas, TX - Granada Theatre *
12.05.12 - Austin, TX - Emo’s East *
12.07.12 - Sante Fe, NM - Santa Fe Brewing Co. *
12.08.12 - Phoenix, AZ - The Crescent Ballroom *
12.09.12 - Tucson, AZ - Club Congress *
12.10.12 - San Diego, CA - Irenic *
12.13.12 - Los Angeles, CA - Troubadour *
12.14.12 - San Francisco, CA - The Fillmore *
12.16.12 - Portland, OR - Aladdin Theatre *
12.17.12 - Seattle, WA - The Showbox *

* Matthew E. White

• The Mountain Goats:
• Merge:

Eternal Tapestry will release A World Out of Time on November 13 via Thrill Jockey; until then, they’re writing sentences that go on for 35 pages

Usually Eternal Tapestry record in spurts, but they recorded their upcoming album,A World Out of Time as a whole, so that’s how I’ll write about them too, not in bursts of a few minutes but all at once — maybe even all one sentence, I’m just seeing how it goes — and Eternal Tapestry, they’re releasing A World Out of Time on November 13 via Thrill Jockey, and it follows a vinyl-only collection called Dawn in 2 Dimensions, which came out earlier this year, as well as last year’s collaboration with Sun Araw called Night Gallery (TMT Review); this time around they’ve experimented with narrative a bit, but they improvised too — definitely rambling now and feeling almost Faulkner-ish, not sure if it’s working — but A World Out of Time sounds a little sci-fi, a little psych, a little like rain, and maybe like you fell asleep somewhere and just woke up on another planet.

A World Out of Time tracklist:

01. When I Was in Your Mind
02. Planetoid 127
03. Alone Against Tomorrow
04. The Weird Stone
05. Apocalypse Troll
06. When Gravity Falls
07. The Currents of Space
08. Sand into Rain

• Eternal Tapestry:
• Thrill Jockey:

VIA Music & New Media Festival: Julia Holter, Demdike Stare, Laurel Halo, and many more travel to a mysterious and isolated land known as Pittsburgh

Wow, no way! Pittsburgh has music festivals? Even better, Pittsburgh has music festivals that are actually worth attending? I guess that goes to show how much I know about the city. And here I was, thinking that the “Steel City” was known primarily for just that — steel manufacturing, an industry that has been all but eliminated from within the city limits. Also, cheesesteaks. That’s Pittsburgh, right?

Those of you who live within reasonable proximity to Pittsburgh (or, those of you who can afford to pay for a plane ticket solely for the purpose of attending a music festival) may want to listen up. From October 1 through October 6, the third annual VIA Music & New Media Festival will take place at various venues across the city. In addition to featuring workshops and all kinds of visual spectacles, the festival is also highlighting a pretty stellar lineup of musicians, whose congregation would be noteworthy in any American city. To name just a few of those musicians: Demdike Stare, Julia Holter, Laurel Halo, DJ Spinn & DJ Rashad, Ital, M. Geddes Gengras, Daughn Gibson, Three Legged Race, Drainolith, Andy Stott, and Nate Young. TMT likes all of them!

Keep an eye on this page for updates to the program. And yes, before you ask in disbelief, the festival is in Pittsburgh!

• VIA Music & New Media Festival:

Tamaryn drops new album, ushers in fall throughout the land via tour

New Zealand-born, San Francisco-based shoegazer Tamaryn is back with a new LP for Mexican Summer, and with it a tour so lengthy just reading the dates will make your laundry cry. The dusky-voiced Tamaryn will usher in fall with a few European dates before heading back to the States for a month-long cross-country jaunt, plus a couple stops in our neighbor to the North. (Canada, you guys. Canada.) Meanwhile, the leaves will fall, the seasons will change, the wine will mull, and basically it’s going to be perfect Tamaryn weather.

Our Antipodean heroine will be setting sail in a tour van full of melancholy skeletons, forgotten dreams, and moonbeams (you know, FALL STUFF), along with musical partner Rex John Shelverton, to celebrate the release of the duo’s latest, Tender New Signs. Lead single “I’m Gone” dropped this summer; the release date on the new album is October 16. The LP comes out on — those magical words! — clear vinyl, and is limited to a pressing of 2,000. Preorder is available right now, here.


10.13.12 - Glasgow, UK - Mono
10.14.12 - Manchester, UK - Soup Kitchen
10.15.12 - London, UK - The Lexington
10.21.12 - Münster, Germany - Gleis 22
10.28.12 - Salt Lake City, UT - Kilby Court
10.29.12 - Denver, CO - Hi-Dive
11.01.12 - Minneapolis, MN - 7th Street Entry
11.02.12 - Chicago, IL - Schubas Tavern
11.03.12 - Toronto, ON - The Garrison
11.04.12 - Montreal, QC - Il Motore
11.05.12 - Allston, MA - Great Scott
11.08.12 - Philadelphia, PA - Johnny Brenda’s
11.09.12 - New York, NY - Mercury Lounge
11.10.12 - Brooklyn, NY - Knitting Factory
11.11.12 - Washington, DC - Red Palace
11.13.12 - Atlanta, GA - 529
11.15.12 - Houston, TX - Fitzgerald’s
11.16.12 - Dallas, TX - Club Dada
11.17.12 - Austin, TX - Red 7
11.20.12 - San Diego, CA - Casbah
11.23.12 - Los Angeles, CA - The Echo
11.24.12 - San Francisco, CA - The Independent

• Tamaryn:
• Mexican Summer:

Talibam! rock/jazz/improv/hip-hop Europe, give away free song from next full-length

We seem to be running out of ways to call Talibam! “eclectic.” The avant-jazz/noise rock/synth-pop/improvisational duo has recently added hip-hop to their resume. They’ve been busy this year toying with the newest Dirty Projectors album as the first entry in their Launchpad series, releasing an album with Sam Kulik (TMT Review), touring all around the world, as well as dropping their newest album, Puff Up the Volume.

Puff Up the Volume sees the self-styled “No School” rappers yet again forging new sonic ground. The NYC duo (Matt Mottel and Kevin Shea a.k.a. MC Moaty Mogulz MC K-Wizzle) is crossing the Atlantic to bring their singular brand of hip-hop, wit, and blaring synthesizers for a string of shows across Europe during the month of October.

In the meantime, you can check out the video for “All Your Money” from Puff Up the Volume while you wait for Talibam! to come to your town:


10.08.12 - London, UK - Victoria Dalston
10.09.12 - Manchester, UK - Night & Day Café
10.10.12 - Brighton, UK - Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar
10.12.12 - Brussels, Belgium - Recyclart
10.16.12 - Rome, Italy - Traffic Live
10.19.12 - Brescia, Italy - Carmen Town
10.20.12 - Arona, Italy - Meltin’Pop
10.22.12 - Vienna, Austria - Rhiz
10.23.12 - Bratislava, Slovakia - A4
10.24.12 - Cologne, Germany - Baustalle Kalk
10.25.12 - Berlin, Germany - Loophole

• Talibam!:
• Critical Heights: