RealTime IT News

Soundbreak.com Sides With RIAA

It's like growing up... really. They started as young and hungry companies, dismissive of authority. Now many MP3 music sites are starting to change their tunes and their attitudes are starting to reflect that age-old adage: "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em!"

Some of the first to submit to pressure from Recording Industry Association of America lawsuits were MP3.com and Diamond Multimedia Systems Inc., maker of the popular Rio MP3 player. Upon settling their separate legal battles, both companies agreed to work with the record labels that sued them. On Thursday, online music destination Soundbreak.com became the latest to settle up and sign a deal with the RIAA.

Soundbreak.com agreed to pay a royalty to the RIAA for member label artists' music played over the company's streaming entertainment website.

The company believes this makes it the first major consumer Web business in full compliance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and licensed to Webcast music from the RIAA's membership of music labels. The agreement follows Soundbreak.com's licensing agreements with BMI, ASCAP and SESAC. Several other major sites are currently in arbitration with the RIAA to form an overall license structure. Specific royalty rates were not revealed.

"We felt we needed to step forward and forge an agreement with the labels that satisfies their legitimate desires for fair compensation for music acquired through and played over the Internet," said Lisa Crane, chief executive officer of Soundbreak.com. "This move allows us to focus on the more important job of building our business. At the same time, we hope this agreement will help ensure the same cooperation by the labels as accorded other license holders regarding access to artists, music, promotional materials and the like. We want to have the best possible tools and relationships to promote the artists we play online, and we hope to move forward in this partnership to give our millions of music fans the best online experience available."

The RIAA was pleased with Soundbreak.com's decision.

"We applaud Soundbreak.com for taking the initiative to pull out of the pack by working with labels and artists instead of against them," said Steve Marks, senior vice-president of business affairs for the RIAA. "Soundbreak.com's agreement with the RIAA provides a 'win-win' business model for all constituents in the music world -- artists, labels and consumers alike. It paves the way towards a future where creators and entrepreneurs work together to provide a rich music and entertainment experience in the 21st century."