Digital Services to Provide SoundExchange Reporting through 2015

Jun 11, 2012

Since 2009, NPR Digital Services (formerly Public Interactive) has served as the reporting agency for public broadcasters covered by the CPB-SoundExchange Webcasting Agreement.

Under the terms of the agreement, CPB pays the fees for the royalties, and public radio stations covered under the agreement report their streaming music usage. CPB will pay these royalties to SoundExchange until the current agreement expires on December 31, 2015.

By all measures this initiative has been a success and continues to provide significant value to covered stations. NPR Digital Services has kept the system in compliance with the terms of the CPB/SoundExchange agreement and it has assisted hundreds of public broadcasters large and small providing proper reports to SX so that artists and rights holders can receive payment for the use of their recordings. By 2015, CPB will have paid significant royalty fees to SoundExchange on behalf of the 371 licensees covered by the agreement, which account for more than 17M aggregate music tuning hours per quarter.

As part of the CPB/NPR strategy, stations were relieved of the burden of individually seeking out and implementing a solution to comply with their reporting obligations. CPB released an RFP and selected Public Interactive (now NPR Digital Services) as the sole organization to establish and support a centralized reporting service.  That funding began in May 2009 and ran through March 2012.  The shared understanding at the time the grant was awarded was that NPR would develop a business model to sustain the service through the royalty coverage period. Toward that end, on October 1, 2012 NPR Digital Services will charge a nominal annual fee to stations covered under the CPB agreement.  The fee will help to defray Digital Services’ direct costs only, and is not a source of profit. Click here for more details on the fee structure.

As the sole report entity for covered stations, NPR Digital Services is helping stations to meet their reporting obligations by providing the following services:

●      Reporting statistic calculation

Collecting raw reporting data and uses it to calculate listening statistics required by SoundExchange (e.g., ATP per song, ATH per channel) for royalty distribution.

●      International listener filtering

Filtering out international stream sessions based on IP address.

●      Syndicated show data collection

Collecting playlists from a number of widely syndicated programs for use in SoundExchange reports, alleviating the need for stations to collect and submit this data themselves.

●      Report formatting and submission

Assembling data in the required file format and submitting reports to SoundExchange in a timely fashion on behalf of covered stations.

●      Station education

Serving as a general resource for covered stations on SoundExchange reporting requirements.

Stations covered by the CPB SoundExchange agreement will continue to be required to submit reporting data to SoundExchange through NPR Digital Services for the duration of the current agreement (December 31, 2015). In an effort to make the reporting process easy and efficient for stations, all will be offered Digital Services’ new Composer product featuring an easy-to-use playlist entry interface that automatically produces playlist information in the required format.

In addition, as part of the agreement, stations are required to submit streaming access logs. Effective April 2013, Digital Services will require that these logs conform to one of a handful of common file formats. NPR Digital Services will work with major third party stream hosts and CDNs to define and communicate the new file format requirements. The objective is to make this new requirement as easy to complete as possible. Starting with the Q2 2013 reports, stations submitting access logs not meeting the formatting requirement will be charged a file processing fee. More details here.

These changes are intended to allow NPR DS to sustain the SoundExchange reporting service, which are both a timesaver for stations and a valuable asset to SoundExchange that helps CPB negotiate favorable terms. NPR Digital Services will continue to be a resource to help stations with questions about the SoundExchange reporting process, and the staff looks forward to continuing to work with stations covered by the CPB-SoundExchange webcasting agreement to meet their reporting obligations so that they can remain in compliance with federal copyright laws.

Feel free to email  for more information.