By Josh Wingrove
Associate News Editor
SOCAN proposal could make CKLN pay $2,400 a year to stream its content online.
Campus radio stations could soon be on the hook for tariffs on songs broadcast over the Internet.
Tariff 22, proposed by the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN), would levy a tariff on all songs broadcast over the Internet. The tariff would charge $200 a month or 7.5 per cent of streaming costs, whichever is greater.
CKLN would pay the monthly $200 to broadcast online at CKLN.fm. Tariffs are collected on behalf of artists as compensation for playing their music. Main stream artists get a bigger cut of tariff revenues, though indpendent stations such as CKLN tend not to play their work. Still, CKLN pays about $5,000 a year for its traditional radio content.
“It’s obscene. We pay enough money now to SOCAN… They can shut a radio station down without thinking about it if you don’t pay the money. There’s nothing you can do,” said Mike Phillips, an engineer with CKLN.
The National Campus and Community Radio Association is fighting the proposed tariff. Non-profit stations shouldn’t have to pay, said NCRA Advisory Board Member Tristis Ward in the NCRA’s September newsletter.
“Stations in our sector are not in it for the money… There just isn’t any fat to trim to pay for this extra fee,” Tristis wrote.
CKLN news director Kristin Schwartz said it’s important to continue to broadcast online. However, many smaller stations would not be able to afford it, Schwartz added.
“Artists should be paid for their work. The problem with any new fee is that community radio stations are in such a tight financial spot that most of us can’t afford extra tariffs,” said Schwartz, adding CKLN would likely just pay the fee.
“It’s not a question of it being worth it. We’d like to keep streaming and grow that operation. We can broadcast to the world, it’s great,” she said.
The proposal will be heard in March 2007. If passed, stations will owe retroactive fees dating back to January 2006.