2/03/2011

Radio music royalties: what price?

Those interested in an economist's view of how to determine what music royalties radio stations should pay will find it in Fair Copyright Remuneration: The Case of Music Radio. The author, Richard Watt, is a professor of economics and finance at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, though his article was prompted by recent radio royalty debates outside - as well as inside - his home country. He explains:
The issue of what price should be set for the music input to radio broadcasts has been hotly debated recently in several countries, including USA, Canada and New Zealand. Since music is subject to copyright, this is an issue that is of great importance to the economics of copyright. The central point is the fact that, because of the economic efficiency that is gained by collective management and blanket licencing, the copyright holders in music are represented by a single bargaining unit. The ensuing monopoly power is often seen to be detrimental to social efficiency, and so in exchange for allowing the collective to form and operate, the price at which it grants access to its repertory is regulated. The regulated price should be set at a fair and equitable level. In this paper, the Shapley methodology is used to attempt to provide such a tariff.