The ruling by the Copyright Royalty Board — a panel of three judges appointed by the Librarian of Congress — applied strictly to mechanical royalties, which are paid to the songwriters and publishers of music, not the performers. The royalty is paid by the entity licensing the music (which varies, depending on the format of the recording).
Despite a range of proposals from music publishers, record labels and digital music sellers, the judges kept the rate for physical recordings at 9.1 cents for each track. The board set the same rate for permanent digital downloads, effectively equating the value of physical discs with downloads from retailers like Apple, through its iTunes store, and Amazon.com.
The judges also set for the first time a mechanical royalty rate for master tones, ring tones made from a snippet of music from a full recording. That rate is 24 cents. Until now, copyright holders had negotiated royalty payments with users.
And one of the joys of that is that, on occasion, the morning news gets a little scrambled. Today, Kim Carrigan, from our local Fox affiliate, reported that the Nobel prize in chemistry had been awarded to someone who had discovered that Coca-Cola killed sperm. Of course, it was really an Ig Nobel, but they had a clip and everything. Sadly, by the time I got to the office to try to capture their error, I couldn’t find any of it on their website – so here’s the Boston Globe article instead: Ig Nobel prizes: Awards showcase humorous side of research (pdf)