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Internet Radio in Real Peril
by Internet post by Steve Sikes-Nova, M.Ed., M.S.W.
Your choice to listen to Internet Radio is in Real, Immediate peril
again from March Govt. Regulatory Ruling - Background & TAKE ACTION below!
Coporate Music Rules America (RIAA) is trying to vastly limit your
listening choices once again, folks. Please take a moment of your time
to look over what I have put together below on this issue, then please
take action - Thanks, Steve.
(Note: For those of you interested in some background see directly
below. For those of you who want to TAKE ACTION! immediately see
further down the page at the *****).
BACKGROUND: On March 2, 2007, The CRB (Copyright Royalty Board)
approved royalty rates that will bury any small webcaster and create a
heavy burden even for big broadcasters like Yahoo and AOL Music.
How did this happen? The RIAA (Recording Industry Association of
America) told the CRB thats what they wanted, and the CRB just gave it
You're probably thinking, hey that's awful, but who are the the RIAA
RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) is a lobbying group
formed by the five largest record labels. They are embedded in
Washington D.C. They make sure laws are written to keep them rich, no
The CRB (Copyright Royalty Board) is part of the US Copyright Office.
The Board is charged with determining the royalty rates that would be
determined by a willing buyer and a willing seller in a marketplace
transaction. They decided to jack the rates beyond a broadcasters
means despite decades of royalty rates being 1 - 2% of broadcaster
In sum, these new performance royalty fees are based exclusively on
the number of people tuned into an Internet radio station, rather than
on a portion of the station's revenue. They discarded all evidence
presented by webcasters about the potentially crippling effect on the
industry of such a rate structure, and rubber-stamped the rates
requested by the RIAA.
Under this royalty structure, an Internet radio station with an
average listenership of 1000 people would owe $134,000 in royalties
during 2007 - plus $98,000 in back payments for 2006. In 2008 they
would owe $171,000, and $220,000 in 2009.
There is no way for a station with 1000 listeners to make that kind of
money. That's over $11 per listener per month in 2007. No Internet
radio station currently operating comes even close to that kind of income.
In other words, if they are allowed to stand these rates are a death
sentence for independent Internet radio stations. The only stations
that would survive would be those who can AFFORD TO OPERATE AT A VERY,
VERY LARGE LOSS such as AOL (who would owe over $20,000,000 in 2006,
far in excess of their income from radio) and maybe Yahoo.
As quoted in Boston.com on 3-14-07, Mark Lam, chief executive of
Live365 Inc., a major Internet broadcast service (AND THE HOST OF MY
INTERNET RADIO STATION 'NEWGRASS, PROG & MORE!', says the new rates
will kill off most Internet broadcasters. "As the current law stands,
we are out," he said. The CEO of Pandora, another large, popular
internet-only broadcast service said essentially the same thing.
A Big Guy Speaks out against this debacle: DAVID BYRNE (former lead
singer for the ultra-successful new wave band THE TALKING HEADS) has
this to say in his blog: "The reasoning that it's for the benefit of
the artists rings a little hollow as most artists heard this argument
re: cracking down on file sharing," Byrne writes. "Most never see
money from their record companies anyway — so the line about 'we're
doing it for you' is pretty suspect."
A little guys speak out against this debacle: Matthew Ebel, an
independent musician and podcaster says in his blog that, "You'd think
that, as a musician, I'd be overjoyed to see a larger slice of the pie
going to publishers and, therefore, guys like me. Hell no. Would I
like to see a little chunk of change every time my music gets played
anywhere? Of course I would. But am I willing to sacrifice the
goodwill of internet broadcasters and their listeners simply to make,
quite literally, a nickel?"
SO WHAT CAN YOU DO/WHERE CAN YOU GO TO MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD ON
No, it's not world peace, and end to hunger, or anything
even close to that. However, if music is as important to your life as
it is to mine – being a webcaster allows me the creative space each
evening to unwind so that I can have that much more mental energy and
enthusiasm for my full-time job as a special educator in Virginia's
public schools – then take some time to visit the websites below and
take action on web radio's behalf.
Websites dedicated to this issue (not in any particular order):
/ Save our Internet radio.com
/ Webcasters Unite
/ save the streams.org/
/ Save netradio.org
/ save-internet-radio.com /
Steve Sikes-Nova, M.Ed., M.S.W.
"the virginiaprograsser" – Newgrass, Prog & More! Internet Radio on
Playing the music that you don't and won't hear on ClearChannel:
newgrass/progressive bluegrass, prog rock, alt country, blues, jazz,
indie, alternative folk, singer-songwriter and MORE, of course.
- this link shows the station's weekly schedule. Be on the lookout for
new and archived 'Conversations From the Farmhouse', my ongoing
interview series with the legends and aspiring legends that make the
ESJ is looking for writers/poets for our next issues.
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