A Comprehensive Look at Internet Radio Royalty Rates

One of the monkey's on the back of internet radio broadcasters are the cost of royalty fees to run their stations. I believe the rates for small broadcasters is very high and unfair however, there's no point in complaining, the whole system needs to be re-vamped in order to create a fair playing field for all broadcasters.

Services such as Live 365 consolidate the costs to broadcasters. You pay Live 365 and they take care of the Royalties. It is definitely the easier way to go.

Server Room.com has put together a comprehensive guide to royalty rates in 2018.

Royalty Fees for Internet Broadcasters

If you are broadcasting licensed music online, you must pay royalty fees for your listeners based in the United States. These fees are paid directly to the three US based Performance Right Organizations, BMI, ASCAP and SESAC.

In addition, a recording performance license is required from SoundExchange.

To sum it all up, you must be licensed by BMI, ASCAP, SESAC and SoundExchange to legally broadcast online through your website or mobile app.

An internet radio station with no revenue and minimal yearly impressions will have to pay an upfront fee of $1399 to get licensed by all 4 entities above. The upfront fee is used as credit towards your accruing royalty fees. Additional fees may be due depending on your gross revenue and impressions on your website.

You can estimate your royalty fees for 2018 from the schedule below.


BMI, ASCAP, SESAC and SoundExchange may require monthly or quarterly reports for gross revenue and or number of impressions. Server Room provides the monthly royalty reports required, however financial reports must be provided by your organization.

U.S. ASCAP Fee Schedule 2018

Request a ASCAP Digital License at https://licensing.ascap.com/?type=digital

SESAC Fee Schedule 2018

Request a SESAC Internet License at http://www.sesac.com/Licensing/internet.aspx

BMI Fee Schedule 2018

2018 Minimum Annual Fee - $352

1.75% of Total Gross Revenue

OR (Use whichever is less)

Music Area Revenue (Use this if your website is not dedicated to music streaming)

Music Area Revenue = Direct Music Area Revenue + Allocation of Run of Site Revenue/p>

Allocation of Run of Site Revenue = Run of Site Revenue x (Music Page Impressions)/(Total Page Impressions)

Music Area License Fee = Music Area Revenue x 2.5% OR (Music Page Impressions x 0.12)/1000 (Whichever is greater)

Get a BMI Digital Broadcaster License at https://apps.bmi.com/licensing/nmwebsite.jsf

Sounds Exchange Fee Schedule 2018

2018 Minimum Annual Fee - $500

$0.0017 per performance (non-subscription transmissions)

$0.0022 per performance (subscription transmissions)

Request Sound Exchange License for Webcasters: licenseerelations@soundexchange.com

Worship Broadcasters

The 2018 fee schedule for worship broadcasters in the United States is based on the numbers of average weekly attendees at your religious institution. CCS does not include Sound Exchange Licensing. You are still required to acquire a license from Sound Exchange by contacting them at licenseerelations@soundexchange.com. The minimal annual fee is $500.

Average Weekly Attendance

1 – 199 -> $250/year

200 – 499 -> $380/year

500 – 1999 -> $765/year

2000 – 5999 ->$1015/year

6000 – 14999 -> $1290/year

15000+ -> $1840/year