Music Publishers Keep Same Download Rate, Apple Keeping iTunes Open (AAPL)

Apple caused a stir earlier this week by insisting (with a straight face) that it would consider shutting down music sales at iTunes (AAPL) if a US regulatory board jacked up the rates it was supposed to pay music publishers.

That was never believable, but it would have been fun to see what happened if the Copyright Royalty Board went ahead and called Apple’s bluff by increasing so-called “mechanical” royalties. Alas, we won’t find out. Billboard:

The Copyright Royalty Board is standing pat with the 9.1 mechanical royalty song rate for both physical and digital album, sources say. Meanwhile, it is setting the mastertone rate at 24 cents, according to sources.

This is the first mechanical right royalty proceedings since the development of legal online music services and until now, all payments of been negotiated in anticipation of such a ruling by the CRB.

No word yet on whether the CRB has approved the proposed settlement for interactive streaming and limited downloads, which, in general, sets a mechanical royalty rate at 10.5% of revenues, less composition performance royalties.

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