Yes, you read the singular use of "form" correctly. Whereas in the past, commercial webcasters could choose between calculating monthly royalty payments to SoundExchange for digital performance of sound recordings on either an aggregate tuning hour or a per performance basis, only the latter will be allowed for January 2008 and beyond. The form filed in previous years to notify SoundExchange of the elected method of calculation will obviously not be utilized; instead a commercial webcaster’s only choice is whether to complete the Statement of Account form in Excel or PDF format.
Noncommercial webcasters still have their own form which takes into account the fact that noncommercials pay a $ 500 annual minimum and nothing more unless the station exceeds the last vestige of an aggregate tuning hour calculation; if a noncommercial webcaster exceeds 159,140 aggregate tuning hours in a given month, it will also need to calculate a payment for that month on a per performance basis ($ 0.0014 per performance).
Is this a big deal? Based on conversations with our clients, the answer appears clearly to be yes. Most broadcast radio stations offering an Internet simulcast and/or other streams of music online have used the aggregate tuning hour method to calculate royalty payments. It is simply an easier calculation to make, as it requires only counting the number of listeners per hour. The per performance option requires the webcaster to know exactly how many listeners heard each song that was streamed.
Although the first Statements of Account are not required until March 16 (45 days after the last day of January in this leap year), webcasters must obviously be attentive to the change now, as they must already be employing software or other means of making the per performance calculation.