June 26, 2007

Internet radio day of silence

Today marks a voluntary day of silence for internet radio stations to raise awareness of the recent royalty rate hikes affected by the Copyright Royalty Board. These hikes are not only retroactive for 17 months and due July 15th, but greatly increase the amounts of royalties that thousands of internet radio stations will have to pay to SoundExchange (the long arm of the royalty collecting law). This means everyone from the corporate giants (AOL, Yahoo — who can afford it) to the little guys and gals at home running their own music-lovers’-paradises streaming over the web (who can’t) will be hit with a massive bill. It also makes no differentiation between commercial and public radio.

There is an interesting article in the new July ’07 Paste Magazine about online radio with this quote from John Simson, executive director of SoundExchange, which literally made me laugh out loud — mostly from indignation. He very grandly stated to the Washington Post that, “The attitude that really has to change is that the people playing this music on the web are somehow doing artists a favor.”

Seriously? Does Mr. Simson have any idea how many fledgling bands out there are making really good music and would love to have that music heard by any means possible? This drinking-from-a-firehose era of digital music means pretty much exactly that: getting airplay exposure (or, by extension, blog coverage as well) isn’t exactly doing a favor for a band –because they’ve earned it– but it is a dang good thing which shouldn’t penalize those spreading the word. Most internet radio stations make a fraction of what these royalites will cost, and the hikes represent a sort of death knell to a huge source of vibrant, free-form creativity for new listeners.

They are going about this in completely the wrong way. You might consider visiting the Save Net Radio site if you think so too, or signing the petition that the good folks over at WXPN have going. I worry about the future of music discovery in all its forms.


  • I couldn’t agree with you more on this one. What if the opera houses and dinner clubs of the early 20th century had sued out of existence the then-fledgling record industry? Where would we be?

    Anonymous — June 26, 2007 @ 11:02 am

  • July 15th is just around the corner. We all need to do our part!

    russ! — June 26, 2007 @ 12:23 pm

  • So, are they going to nail you down too?

    Anonymous — June 26, 2007 @ 1:36 pm

  • As far as I know, blogs are not affected yet.

    heather — June 26, 2007 @ 1:53 pm

  • Go woxy.com!

    Anonymous — June 26, 2007 @ 3:29 pm

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

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