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Meeting the needs of Commercial Radio

Self-supporting and directed, the NRBMLC is a standing committee of the National Religious Broadcasters Association (the “NRB”). We are accountable the NRB membership; however, our services are available to non-NRB affiliated radio stations that are not legally represented by another music license committee.

For years there has been tension between the owners of music copyrights and radio stations – the prospective users of those copyrights. (These are the “musical work” copyrights — the compositions and lyrics in songs.) The primary issue has been the amount of royalty fees radio stations pay to the agents for the composers and publishers who are the copyright holders.

The agents, or Performance Rights Organizations (the “P.R.O.s”), are ASCAP, BMI and SESAC. To avoid infringement suits, stations normally hold separate music licenses with all three P.R.O.s.
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The Business of Music Licensing

Music licensing is big business. The commercial U.S. radio industry alone pays hundreds of millions of dollars each year to the P.R.O.s, which then distribute the majority to their membership.

On another level, the system of music licensing is highly efficient. Rather than separately licensing thousands of users for each of their songs, songwriters and publishers affiliate with a P.R.O. (also known as a music licensing “society”), which is able to handle the vast majority all of license transactions.
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Noncommercial MLC Formed

NRBMLC is not just about commercial radio. Because the sound recording royalty on Internet Streaming affected both commercial and noncommercial radio in dramatic ways, a new industry committee, the NRB Noncommercial Music License Committee (the “NRBNMLC”) was formed. Operating under the umbrella of the commercial NRBMLC, the NRBNMLC was given a “voice” in music license proceedings, both for terrestrial licenses with ASCAP, etc., as well as Internet streaming with SoundExchange. The NRBNMLC successfully faced all of the P.R.O.s in negotiations for 2003-2007 license fees, and successfully negotiated a long-term Internet license with SoundExchange for the period 2006-2015.