Amidst the uproar over the egregious royalty rate hike for internet radio stations, engineered by RIAA-spinoff SoundExchange and handed down by the Copyright Royalty Board, we missed a detail we should have noticed. Some commenters suggested simply listening to music under non-restrictive licenses. But apparently that won't work.
"The recent U.S. Copyright Office ruling regarding webcasting designated SoundExchange to collect and distribute to all nonmembers as well as its members. The Librarian of Congress issued his decision with rates and terms to govern the compulsory license for webcasters (Internet-only radio) and simulcastors (retransmissions)."
Simply put, according to DailyKos: "If any artist records a song, SoundExchange has the right to collect royalties for its performance on Internet radio. Artists can offer to download their music for free, but they cannot offer their songs to Internet radio for free."
Of course, if an artist wants the money from their royalties, they have to join SoundExchange—naturally, membership takes a small "administrative fee" out of your royalty check.
So let's recap: If you're an artist whose work is played on an internet radio station, even if you're not a member of SoundExchange, they're still going to collect royalties for you. And if you don't join, you won't see a dime—it simply goes straight into their pocket. And this is legally prescribed. Awesome.