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Indian E-music – The right mix of Indian Vibes… » Scene

FCC Continues to Prosecute Pirate Radio Operators – Two Settlements with Identified Violators

Delivered... David Oxenford | Scene | Mon 13 Jul 2020 4:50 pm

Pirate radio operators continue to be a problem – particularly in major metropolitan areas.  The week before last, the FCC resolved two long-pending cases against pirate operators through negotiated settlements.  In one case, the FCC last year initially proposed a fine of $151,005 for the illegal operation.  After examining the operator’s finances, the Bureau agreed to a $4,000 fine now, with a penalty of $75,000 should the operator violate the law again (see this decision against an operator called Radio Concorde).  In the second case, the FCC had proposed a $453,015 fine last year, but agreed to take $5,000 now, with penalty of $225,000 if the operator violates the terms of the consent decree (see the decision dealing with operator Radio TeleBoston).  Last year, we wrote here about the much larger fines initially proposed for these two operators.

In both cases, the FCC seemingly recognized reality in taking the small upfront payments now rather than trying to collect huge fines that likely were beyond the ability of the operators to pay.  The FCC also required the surrender of the operator’s equipment and a commitment to stay away from pirate radio for 20 years or face much larger fines.  The big fines initially imposed in these cases were set even before Congress enacted the PIRATE Act early this year.  The new law allows for fines on illegal operators of $100,000 per day, up to a maximum total fine of $2,000,000.  Even without the full effect of the PIRATE Act, these cases show the deterrent effect of these large fines.  They get an illegal operator’s attention, which can lead to the shutdown of these unauthorized stations, as happened in these cases.  With the pandemic, we worry about even more illegal uses of the broadcast spectrum – and we will write more about that issue here tomorrow.

Explore tuning: Bitwig, VCV Rack, reading, and why it matters

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Mon 13 Jul 2020 11:23 am

Discovering tuning outside standard piano tuning can feel like finding food with seasoning and spices for the first time. Here are some new resources - strong enough for tuning experts, easy enough for beginners (well, some of them).

The post Explore tuning: Bitwig, VCV Rack, reading, and why it matters appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

This Week at the FCC for Broadcasters – July 4, 2020 to July 10, 2020

Delivered... David Oxenford and Adam Sandler | Scene | Sun 12 Jul 2020 4:49 pm

Here are some of the regulatory and legal actions of the last week of significance to broadcasters, with links to where you can go to find more information as to how these actions may affect your operations.

  • FCC fines against two radio stations serve as a reminder that station managers need to pay close attention to how their staff handles on-air contests. The FCC issued Notices of Apparent Liability for Forfeitures to two Texas licensees for allegedly violating the Commission’s on-air contest rules through a failure to conduct the contest substantially as announced, specifically for unreasonable delays in awarding prizes.  Both licensees were hit with several thousand dollars of fines even after settling the matter with the contest winners.  Both licensees pointed to human error as the reason for the mistakes, but as the decisions show, that is not an excuse.  (El Paso NALF)  (Mont Belvieu NALF)  (Broadcast Law Blog)
  • The FCC’s International Bureau released a preliminary list of C-Band earth stations (those that operate in the 3.7-4.2 GHz band) in the contiguous U.S. that the Bureau has reviewed and said appear to qualify as “incumbent earth stations,” which will be eligible for reimbursement for reasonable costs of changes to their facilities caused by the upcoming repacking of the C-Band.  The C-Band will be partially reallocated for use by wireless carriers, requiring changes in many existing earth stations.  All broadcasters who have registered earth stations should immediately review this list and act, if necessary – corrections must be submitted to the FCC by July 16, 2020.  Instructions for submitting corrections are found in the Public Notice.  (Public Notice)  (PDF of Preliminary List w/ Explanatory Notes)  (Xlsx of Preliminary List) (Broadcast Law Blog)
  • The U.S. Copyright Office has extended, until April 15, 2021, the deadline for the decision of the Copyright Royalty Board on rates to be paid to SoundExchange for royalties for the use of sound recordings in non-interactive audio streaming. This extension was because of the delays in the CRB’s trial due to the pandemic.  The January 1, 2021 effective date for the new rates, however, remains in place, so any decision released later in 2021 will be retroactive.  In January, webcasters and other internet radio operators (including broadcasters who stream their signals) will continue to pay the royalties currently in place, and there will be a mechanism for a true up of the amounts due once the decision on the royalties for 2021-2025 becomes effective.  (Copyright Office Extension) (Broadcast Law Blog)
  • The Audio Division updated the FM Table of Allotments to reinstate fourteen vacant FM allotments. The allotments were removed from the FM Table because a construction permit and/or license was granted, but are now vacant because of the cancellation of the associated authorizations or the dismissal of long-form auction applications.  The reinstated allotments are in California, Colorado, Iowa, Texas, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.  These channels will be available for application in an FM auction at some point in the future. (Order)
  • Citing the ongoing public health emergency and the decision to not conduct a national EAS test in 2020 (see our article here), the FCC has waived for this year the requirement that broadcasters update their information in the EAS Test Reporting System. (Order)
  • Those looking to file hand-carried documents with the FCC will have to permanently update their address book. After temporarily closing the filing window at FCC Headquarters in response to COVID-19, the Commission has now permanently closed that window and will only accept paper filings at 9050 Junction Drive, Annapolis Junction, MD 20701.  This change was made to enhance security and in conjunction with the Commission’s future move to its new headquarters.  (Public Notice) (See our article here about the FCC’s planned move).

San Cisco, Mo’Ju, Alex the Astronaut and more: Australian music for isolated times

Delivered... Guardian Staff | Scene | Sat 11 Jul 2020 1:58 am

Each week we add 15 (or so) new songs to a Spotify playlist to soundtrack your physical distancing amid coronavirus – and help artists you love get paid

As some states around Australia begin to slowly open back up and Victoria heads back into shutdown, Australia’s arts industry is still largely dormant – and the music industry was hit harder, and earlier, than most others. But until large gatherings and gigs happen again, there are small things you can do: it’s an imperfect solution but streaming Australian music can help.

Each week, in partnership with Sounds Australia, Guardian Australia adds some 15 new songs to a playlist for you to put on repeat.

Related: From Eskimo Joe to Hearts and Rockets: Australia's best new music for July

Continue reading...

Two FCC Fines for Contests Where Prizes Not Awarded on a Timely Basis – What Broadcasters Should Watch Out for in Conducting Contests

Delivered... David Oxenford | Scene | Fri 10 Jul 2020 4:30 pm

The FCC’s Enforcement Bureau this week issued two fines, one for $6000 and another for $5200 for violations of its contest rules, as the contests were not conducted as advertised.  In each of these cases, a prize winner was not awarded a prize in a timely manner.  In both cases, the prizes were not provided to winners even after the winners inquired, and, for one reason or another, the stations did not immediately respond to the prize winner to resolve the issue – instead providing substitute prizes only when FCC complaints were filed.  Even though both prize winners appeared satisfied by the substitute prizes and withdrew their complaints, the FCC nevertheless issued the fines finding that the contests had not been conducted as promised, in that the original prizes were not awarded on a timely basis.  While in both cases the delays appeared to simply be the result of station staff not making a priority of determining how to deal with delivering the prizes, these cases serve as a warning to broadcasters to review their contest rules and make sure that station staff understand that, if an unexpected glitch arises, they should not dawdle in working to resolve those issues.

As we have written before, the FCC requires that broadcasters adopt written rules for contests disclosing all material terms of those contests (see our posts here here and here that talk about some of the material rules that need to be covered) and make those rules available to the public.  While the rules can now be posted online instead of having to be read on the air, the station must still alert listeners through on-air announcements as to where those rules are available (see our articles here and here).  In writing their contest rules, the station should anticipate all the glitches that might occur in the contest process and spell out what will happen if one of these problems crops up.  Obviously, a prize becoming unavailable is a frequent issue.  Technical glitches also can become issues (e.g., phone lines not working or text message programs misidentifying the proper winner).  These should be anticipated, with explanations of what will happen should any of these occur.  What will happen may differ if the glitch occurs before the contest has been conducted (where you need to decide how to treat those who already entered) or after the prize has been awarded (e.g., as in this week’s cases, where substitute prizes were given).  Anticipate the unexpected.

We have written before about a litany of other contest mishaps that can occur (see our posts hereherehere and here about some of those problems).  Stations have had instances where joking statements by a weekend announcer were such that listeners thought that a real contest was being conducted – with complaints following when the listeners found out that no contest was really intended.  In another case, a station designed an elaborate contest to reveal a few clues each day to a puzzle, anticipating that it would take weeks before the listeners would be able to solve the mystery.  When the correct response came almost immediately after the contest began, station staff ignored it – not realizing that someone had guessed the answer so quickly.  You simply never know how a contest will play out, and stations need to have rules that anticipate all eventualities – and train their staffs to be ready to deal with the issues that may arise.

Review the rules of other stations and other companies to see what other issues they are anticipating.  Disclose what the audience might find important including who they are competing against, how they enter and how they win – and any issues, technical or otherwise, that can affect the odds of winning.  And have your attorney review the rules to make sure that the issues and problems and your proposed remedies are clearly spelled out.  Finally, train your staff to be ready to deal with any eventuality that may arise and don’t let problems fester into FCC fines.

An urgent music broadcast from Palestine draws an epic worldwide lineup against racism

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Fri 10 Jul 2020 12:24 am

Fil Mishmish – in the time of the apricots – is 72 hours of Palestinian protest music, airing online now. In an age of global disturbance, it’s drawing artists and radio stations across continents, echoing calls for systematic change. “Please scream inside your heart.” Earlier today, this admonition from a Japanese amusement park spread across […]

The post An urgent music broadcast from Palestine draws an epic worldwide lineup against racism appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Samplr’s creator made a free sample player for the MacBook Touch Bar

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Thu 9 Jul 2020 6:34 pm

The MacBook Touch Bar just got a new use. From the maker of the excellent iPad app Samplr, this free utility makes a multi-touch sample player - and it's surprisingly capable.

The post Samplr’s creator made a free sample player for the MacBook Touch Bar appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

FCC Gives Notice of C-Band Earth Stations Eligible for Reimbursement Before Repurposing Part of that Spectrum – Broadcasters Need to Review and File Corrections By July 16

Delivered... David Oxenford | Scene | Thu 9 Jul 2020 5:04 pm

The FCC’s International Bureau released a preliminary list of C-Band earth stations (those that operate in the 3.7-4.2 GHz band) in the contiguous U.S. that the Bureau has reviewed and said appear to qualify as “incumbent earth stations” which will be eligible for reimbursement for reasonable costs of changes to their facilities caused by the upcoming repacking of the C-Band.  The C-Band will be partially reallocated for use by wireless carriers, requiring changes in many existing earth stations.  The FCC’s notice about the preliminary list is available here, the preliminary list of incumbent C-band earth stations with explanatory notes in PDF format is available here, and the preliminary list of incumbent C-band earth stations as an Excel chart is available here.  It is important that all broadcasters who have registered earth stations immediately review this list – as corrections need to be submitted to the FCC in just a week – by July 16, 2020.

The Bureau reviewed the status of all earth stations with active or pending licenses or registrations in the C-band.  The incumbent licensees were those who were operating in 2018 and filed FCC registrations by that year and updated those registrations in 2019 (see our articles here and here).  The list includes earth stations whose timely-filed applications are still pending, though they may ultimately not be eligible for reimbursement if the applications are not granted.  The Bureau did not include earth stations whose applications it has dismissed as not meeting the criteria for incumbent status, even if the dismissal is not yet final under the Commission’s rules.

Corrections to the list need to be submitted to the FCC in writing by July 16, 2020, as well as any comments on the list and the FCC’s notice.  If your earth station was left off the list, or the information is inaccurate, corrections need to be made.  The FCC notice sets out very particular procedural requirements for the filings, which need to include the FCC file numbers of authorizations and reference to the Docket number of the FCC’s proceeding in which this notice was issued. No new earth stations or changes in the location of such stations will be accepted.  The FCC is allowing minor corrections to site addresses and/or GPS coordinates of an existing earth station location or minor changes in operations (e.g., change in an emission designator or, importantly, an antenna no longer in use, or other information that would help inform the satellite operators’ transition plans).

The comments and corrections must be filed electronically in an FCC database and need to follow the specifics set out in the notice.  Stations should consult with their engineers and lawyers to make sure that any required filings are made following the procedures set out in the Notice, by the July 16 deadline.

Continental Drift: 20 Club Tracks That Embody The Spirit of Protest

Delivered... ztippitt | Scene | Thu 9 Jul 2020 3:33 pm

In the era of big streaming and woke capital, protest music has become a formalized genre. Traversing hip hop, punk, reggae, and soul, the grouping will be familiar to anyone who has been at a march over the past month. And while, for protestors, this genre conglomerate possesses very real galvanizing power, its commercial viability is also being capitalized on by the music industry’s reigning...


Indie games hold a warped mirror to our online dystopias – and you’ll want to play along

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Thu 9 Jul 2020 2:01 am

Games are the perfect medium for the moment for music and art, able to work in the midst of pandemic and echoing the dystopias around them. And oh yeah, they're also something you might want to play.

The post Indie games hold a warped mirror to our online dystopias – and you’ll want to play along appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Free tool: make any Mac app a video source with Syphon Virtual Webcam

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Wed 8 Jul 2020 5:26 pm

Virtual, online, streaming tools – a lot of them are inflexible when it comes to inputs beyond just a webcam. The solution: a free utility that lets you route video from any Syphon app on the Mac. The Mac visual developer community is a friendly bunch. This time, the love comes from TroikaTronix, makers of […]

The post Free tool: make any Mac app a video source with Syphon Virtual Webcam appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Copyright Office Extends Until April Date by Which Decision on SoundExchange Royalties for 2021-2025 Must be Released

Delivered... David Oxenford | Scene | Wed 8 Jul 2020 5:13 pm

A decision was expected in December on the royalties to be paid by broadcasters and other digital media companies who stream their non-interactive audio programming on the Internet.  As we wrote at the beginning of the pandemic, the Copyright Royalty Board, which hears the arguments about the royalties to be paid to SoundExchange in a trial-type administrative hearing, had to postpone the hearing that was initially slated to begin in March.  That hearing will now begin later this month.  Because of the delays in the hearing caused by the pandemic, Congress authorized the Copyright Office to extend various statutory deadlines.  This week, the Copyright Office announced that the December deadline for a decision on webcasting royalties has been pushed until April 15, 2021.

This does not mean that the royalties themselves will not go into effect on January 1.  The current CRB proceeding is to determine the rates that will be in effect for 2021 through 2025.  The proceeding began early in 2019 (see our posts here and here).  The January 1 effective date for the new royalties remains in place, so any decision released later in 2021 will be retroactive.  In January, webcasters and other internet radio operators will pay the royalties currently in place, and there will be some mechanism for a true up of the amounts due once the decision becomes effective.  That is not unusual in the music royalty world.  Just a few months ago, the Radio Music License Committee reached an agreement with BMI on royalties that was retroactive several years.  The Copyright Royalty Board decisions themselves, even if released to the parties in December, are often not final until the next year as the public version of any CRB decision usually takes time to release, and the parties have time after a decision is released to seek edits to the decision.  The Copyright Office itself also reviews the CRB decision for legal errors.  Even after that, the decision can be appealed to the Courts, so the ultimate resolution may be unknown for years – yet parties conduct their business while waiting to see if any adjustments to fees already paid may be due at some later time.

This proceeding moves forward as most of these cases do – with SoundExchange asking for a substantial increase in the royalties and the webcasting community, including broadcasters, Google, and Sirius XM (including Pandora) asking for decreases.  The big difference is that this year, the trial will be held virtually on an electronic platform rather than in a courtroom in Washington DC (where the Copyright Office is still closed to the public).  The pleadings in the case, including the rate proposals, are available for review on the CRB’s website, though confidential business information is redacted in the public documents to preserve the business secrets of the parties in the case.  That confidential information is available only to the Judges and the attorneys and expert witnesses in the case.  Watch for the Judges’ decision in April of next year to see if the rates for January 2021 through December of 2025 will change – and, if so, which way they will go.

On ‘Seguridad,’ Gaika Rebuilds His Emotional Walls

Delivered... ztippitt | Scene | Wed 8 Jul 2020 5:12 pm

Top notes: Elastic vocal exercises, dizzying incantations in sepulchral tones Middle notes: Murky, rhythmic verve, heavy-footed marching Base notes: The UK MC’s trademark mid-frequency autotune slur pair with knotty Latin beats to meditate on star-crossed love. The borderless nature of genres these days demands a certain deftness from contemporary artists. With vocals that can transmogrify from...


Julianna Barwick’s Celestial Hymns Provide a Sanctuary

Delivered... Caroline Whiteley | Scene | Wed 8 Jul 2020 1:55 pm

The cover of Julianna Barwick’s new album Healing Is A Miracle looks like a snapshot from another planet. In reality, it’s a photo of the Icelandic coastline by Joel Kazuo Knoernschild (who also shot the video for first single, “Inspirit“), but the alien terrain perfectly suits Barwick’s ethereal creations. A master of swirling vocal loops and lustrous reverb, she’s garnered all sorts of acclaim...


Synth Panels Designer makes lovely panels for modules and gear, for free

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Tue 7 Jul 2020 3:54 pm

Eurorack and other modular formats, custom instruments, pedals – if you’re making a DIY instrument, this software makes it look all pretty-like, and it’s free. Now seems a great time to embrace DIY culture – audiences worldwide are stuck at home, but possibly ready to invest in gear. Synths Panel Designer, released last week, is […]

The post Synth Panels Designer makes lovely panels for modules and gear, for free appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

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