The Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) published new rates for noncommercial broadcasters for the years 2023 through 2027 in the Federal Register on January 26.
The rates are the result of agreements established by noncommercial broadcasters’ groups, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI), the Society of European Stage Authors and Composers (SESAC), and Global Music Rights (GMR).
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting agreed to a single set of rates that would apply to both NPR and PBS affiliates; the NRB's Noncommercial Music License Committee (the religious broadcasters' association) has accepted a new set of fees for non-NPR radio stations not connected with a college or university; and a third set of rates are available to college and university-owned stations. While the music fee varies by copyright owners, ASCAP and BMI royalty rates are mostly based on the enrollment of the institution to which the station is affiliated, as follows:
- In 2023, rates for small institutions are $390 and can increase to $1,109 for larger institutions.
- In 2027, those rates will rise to $432 for small colleges and $1,118 for the larger institutions.
- A 1.5 percent cost of living adjustment will be made to SESAC rates for college radio each year.
- GMR fees are set at $174 for each college station this year, and cost of living increases will be added starting next year. Cost of living increases will be announced annually on December 1.
- The option to pay the rate plus an additional $1.00 fee for all other musical works will be available to stations airing on a religious format.
Royalty rates are paid directly to ASCAP, SESAC, BMI, and GMR each year.
NACUBO and ACE have previously worked with ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC to reduce recommended broadcasting rates for non-NPR affiliated college and university radio stations. Related to the 2023 update, NACUBO argued that royalty rate escalations limited to an annual Consumer Price Index-based adjustment are reasonable.
As a required step in the process, the CRB has requested comments on the proposed rates by February 27. NACUBO does not plan to comment and does not anticipate changes to these rates.