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ARTEMIS WAIVES WEB FEES

Indie is First Label to Drop Intenet Radio Fees

Artemis Records, home to such artists as country-rock singer Steve Earle and heavy metal group Kittie, said on Monday it would waive fees charged to Internet radio stations that play music from the independent label's catalog for one year.

Artemis' decision, which Webcasters say is the first of its kind from a record label, comes against the backdrop of a struggle over royalty rates with the record industry that Internet radio stations say threatens their livelihood, according to Reuters.

"We're a small company with a lot of music that doesn't get played on commercial radio," Artemis CEO Danny Goldberg said. "I appreciate the Webcaster. In terms of the future, the diversity they offer is valuable to a label like ours. I wanted to make a gesture of support."

Conventional radio stations have long been exempt from paying royalties to recording artists and anyone else who owns the rights to the "sound recording" of a song, but Congress said sound-recording owners should get paid for Internet transmissions when it updated copyright laws for the digital era.

The Library of Congress established a rate of 0.07 cent per listener per song in June, which means that Webcasters ranging from the small independents to giants like Clear Channel Communications that broadcast music over the Internet would be charged 70 cents for each song played to an audience of 1,000 listeners.

Jonathan Potter, executive director of Digital Media Assn., which represents Internet radio stations, lauded Artemis' move. "Danny Goldberg is ahead of his time in every way," Potter said. "He recognizes that Internet radio listeners are more intense music fans and they buy more music than traditional music fans. I hope this is the first of many such announcements."

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