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Internet Radio In Danger of Extinction in United States 229

Posted by Zonk
from the not-my-streaming-soundtracks-noooo dept.
An anonymous reader passed us a link to a Forbes article discussing dire news for fans of Internet radio. Yesterday afternoon saw online broadcasters, everyone from giants like Clear Channel and National Public Radio to small-fry internet concerns, arguing their case before the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB). The CRB's March 2nd decision to increase the fees associated with online music broadcasting will have harsh repercussions for those who engage in the activity, the panel was told. "Under a previous arrangement, which expired at the end of 2005, broadcasters and online companies such as Yahoo Inc. and Time Warner Inc.'s AOL unit could pay royalties based on estimates of how many songs were played over a given period of time, or a 'tuning hour,' as opposed to counting every single song ... [They] also asked the judges to clarify a $500 annual fee per broadcasting channel, saying that with some online companies offering many thousands of listening options, counting each one as a separate channel could lead to huge fees for online broadcasters." There was also a previous provision for smaller companies that allowed them to pay less, something the March 2 decision did away with; in the view of the royalty holders, advertising more than pays for these fees, and they're ready for higher payments.
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Internet Radio In Danger of Extinction in United States

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 20, 2007 @08:01AM (#18412875)
    time to ditch the music that RIAA owns, and only stream stuff that people want share.
    • by l0rd (52169) on Tuesday March 20, 2007 @08:06AM (#18412935)
      They're digging their own graves with this type of behaviour. People want freedom of choice. Thanks to P2P people get freedom of choice. If internet radio can't compete this will just stimulate even more people to download what they want to listen to.

      Because of their arrogance the music industry wil now have 0 revenue where before it could get something.
      • by smkndrkn (3654) <sadistikal@gmail.com> on Tuesday March 20, 2007 @08:14AM (#18413021) Homepage
        Because of their arrogance the music industry wil now have 0 revenue where before it could get something.

        I wish that were true. Sadly not enough people are motivated enough to make anything near that reality possible. Plus the RIAA has their hooks in many different industries now (blank media for one). How many people do you know personally that actually say "I'm making an effort to no longer support the RIAA"? I don't know any, sadly. I think I'm the only person I know that tries to spend my money on music not controlled by them and even that is impossible to do all the time.

        While I think the steps they are taking is having an effect on the public, I don't see it killing their profits.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by l0rd (52169)
          While I agree with you that people will not conciously try to avoid supporting the RIAA, they still stick it to the man every time they download an mp3 over their favourite p2p network.

          Until music is sold without DRM in mp3/flac form for reasonable prices people will continue to download and nobody will buy cds. Unfortunatley (for them) RIAA & friends dont want to sell mp3/flacs without DRM. Therefore they are digging their own graves a little more every day.

          One day even these dinosaurs will have to fac
          • by Tim C (15259) on Tuesday March 20, 2007 @08:39AM (#18413283)
            Until music is sold without DRM in mp3/flac form for reasonable prices people will continue to download and nobody will buy cds.

            I hate to break it to you, but plenty of people are still buying CDs.
            • by l0rd (52169)
              True. But it's becoming tougher to sell them. Where as before (at least here in holland) a cd would cost 20 euros when it first came out, 5 years later it would still cost 20 euros. Now cds are already discounted weeks after they come out, as they should be.

              While there will probably always be some market for cds, if mp3s were sold the same way (maybe $1 when they first come out, and then 10 cents cheaper every x months) everyone would buy mp3s instead. Better still if you can offer a subscription service fo
              • by daeg (828071) on Tuesday March 20, 2007 @09:15AM (#18413725)
                The nice thing about the MP3 model is it only rewards songs that are worth it. Anyone who has bought CDs knows each CD is engineered to have 2-3 good tracks and the rest as mediocre filler songs. The big songs are what they advertise and publicize via concerts, radio, movie soundtracks, etc. The filler take much less money to produce.

                If everyone is only buying the songs they like, it sends a drastic message: We won't pay for crap. Instead of an artist releasing 20 tracks a year, they could release half a dozen extremely high quality, worthwhile songs, and hopefully make the same -- or more -- revenue (since they don't need to make 11 filler tracks).

                The RIAA doesn't like that model, though. It lets tiny garage bands into the same market with a 10MB file, there's no massive production, shipping, and marketing costs required. The RIAA wants to continue deciding which bands succeed and which do not -- it is hard to convince a puppetmaster to give up puppeting.
                • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

                  by Joelfabulous (1045392)
                  "The nice thing about the MP3 model is it only rewards songs that are worth it. Anyone who has bought CDs knows each CD is engineered to have 2-3 good tracks and the rest as mediocre filler songs. The big songs are what they advertise and publicize via concerts, radio, movie soundtracks, etc. The filler take much less money to produce."

                  Yeah, but see, I won't buy *any* CD if it's crap -- RIAA or otherwise. My principle has always been to buy the CD for the whole album if it's good, never for a track or two.
                • by Petersko (564140) on Tuesday March 20, 2007 @09:48AM (#18414191)
                  "Anyone who has bought CDs knows each CD is engineered to have 2-3 good tracks and the rest as mediocre filler songs."

                  Perhaps that has been your experience. Mine has been considerably different. I've currently got about 600 "real" CD's (I did a purge about 10 years ago, otherwise it'd be about 1000), and I'm willing to wager that, on at least three quarters of these albums, more than half of the tracks are much better than mediocre.

                  Then again, I don't buy CD's willy-nilly just because I heard one song I liked on the radio. Look hard enough and you find thirty second clips for nearly all albums somewhere online.

                  You might buy crap albums, but just because you do doesn't mean all albums are "engineered" that way. Like there's a group out there that tells bands, "Okay, now, we're up to three good songs - radio engineering standards dictate that you half-ass it for the rest of the tracks."
                  • I consider myself to be an enlightened music listener, and it has been my experience that I only enjoy two to three songs on a CD. This is the primary reason why I didn't buy CDs for a long time. Now, it is possible to download individual songs that are good.

                    This is not to say that the other songs on the CD aren't good. Analogy: When you go to an art museum to see the Leonardo da Vinci exhibit, you don't dwell on his lesser known works, you head right to the Mona Lisa. Most people don't care about his
                    • by Petersko (564140) on Tuesday March 20, 2007 @10:58AM (#18415671)
                      "Analogy: When you go to an art museum to see the Leonardo da Vinci exhibit, you don't dwell on his lesser known works, you head right to the Mona Lisa. Most people don't care about his sketches, just like most people don't care about crappy artists songs on CDs."

                      As an "enlightened music listener" you should be MORE likely to examine the lesser known works. Otherwise you're not enlightened - you're a sheep, just like the masses, going wherever you're pointed. Enlightened appreciators will look at the sketches because art is progression.

                      I've been a musician for 25 years (guitar primarily, with classical training and jazz aspirations), and I, too, would consider myself an enlightened listener. It's a matter of looking for the gems. I've ordered 36 albums this past calendar year from overseas (I'm in Canada) because the stuff typically on the shelves here doesn't draw me strongly. If you put in the time, you'll find PLENTY of great albums.

                • The nice thing about the MP3 model is it only rewards songs that are worth it. Anyone who has bought CDs knows each CD is engineered to have 2-3 good tracks and the rest as mediocre filler songs. The big songs are what they advertise and publicize via concerts, radio, movie soundtracks, etc. The filler take much less money to produce.

                  If everyone is only buying the songs they like, it sends a drastic message: We won't pay for crap. Instead of an artist releasing 20 tracks a year, they could release half a dozen extremely high quality, worthwhile songs, and hopefully make the same -- or more -- revenue (since they don't need to make 11 filler tracks).
                  . . .

                  The problem with this statement is that when you ask a band before an album is released which songs are the 'real good ones' they will list a lot of songs that the public ends up seeing as 'filler'. They just can't tell. After they work on it, struggle with it, and create it out of nothing it becomes 'their baby' and they can't see it with the public's generic eyes. Look up a list of B sides that are huge hits and see how many of the A sides you can't remember. It is surprising!

                  It is good that you can pu

                  • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                    by cayenne8 (626475)
                    "The problem with this statement is that when you ask a band before an album is released which songs are the 'real good ones' they will list a lot of songs that the public ends up seeing as 'filler'. They just can't tell. After they work on it, struggle with it, and create it out of nothing it becomes 'their baby' and they can't see it with the public's generic eyes. Look up a list of B sides that are huge hits and see how many of the A sides you can't remember. It is surprising!

                    Truer words have not been

                • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                  by Maxo-Texas (864189)
                  It depends on the band.
                  What you are saying is true for bands from large music companies.

                  OTH, a regional band in my area named Blue October's CD's are almost like a compilation of greatest hits. Maybe it's because they are still fresh/young and have something to say. I know they love their music enough for the lead singer to come out on a broken leg to sing despite being in obvious pain.

                  It's tough- I was exposed to them through copies of their music ( a friend wanted me to go to a concert so burned me a CD
              • by cayenne8 (626475)
                "While there will probably always be some market for cds, if mp3s were sold the same way (maybe $1 when they first come out, and then 10 cents cheaper every x months) everyone would buy mp3s instead. "

                Not necessarily. Many of us still buy CD's because the quality of sound is greater than the lossless mp3's for sale. If they sold lossless, like flac.....then I'd be in line to buy online music, but, until then, I'll prefer to buy CD's....or listen to the odd samples I find on the lossless USENET groups out

          • by anothy (83176)

            Until music is sold without DRM in mp3/flac form for reasonable prices people will continue to download and nobody will buy cds.
            bollocks. there's plenty of places which will sell you exactly that. personally, i use (and am quite happy with) eMusic, but there's several others. you just want your stuff free.
            • by l0rd (52169)
              I'm not talking about me, i'm talking about 99% of the buying public. Love it or hate it most people just wanna listen to the stuff they hear on MTV, not some obscure indie artist from Berlin.

              By all means, if you enjoy music support the artist. I know I do :)
              • by cayenne8 (626475)
                " Love it or hate it most people just wanna listen to the stuff they hear on MTV..."

                That might have been true, about 20+ years ago, when MTV still actually played music....

                :-)

        • by Mateo_LeFou (859634) on Tuesday March 20, 2007 @10:07AM (#18414563) Homepage
          I, of course, didn't read all (115 pages of) the copyright board's actual statement from this month, but it seems like the $500 minimum-per-stream doesn't depend on whether the station uses ASCAP music or free (e.g. cc-licensed) music

          "Radio Broadcasters propose that music-formatted stations pay a fee ranging from as little as $500 per annum for small stations in low revenue ranked markets to as much as $8,000 per annum for large stations in high revenue ranked markets"

          The term "Creative Commons" is not grep'd in the document so I assume it didn't come up.
    • Exactly! I hate to be the righteous bastard that's always insisting people look on the bright side, but I for one wouldn't mind all those statuions on Shoutcast or whatever becoming a haven for the countless unsigned and independent bands on the Internet.

      You'd think the industry would recognize the fact that the Internet is where more and more people are actually choosing and buying their music nowadays, and would avoid crapping on Internet-based music fans... but then again, this is the bloated and cluel
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Billosaur (927319) *

        David Byrne [nytimes.com] agrees with you -- he believes that thanks to the Internet, artists don't need the music labels as much anymore, which means if the RIAA wants to stick around, it better find a way to adapt to the times.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by evilviper (135110)

      time to ditch the music that RIAA owns, and only stream stuff that people want share.

      The RIAA has very little to do with this. It's ASCAP who collect royalties.
    • It's true. I'm the operator of an internet radio station [mirrorshades.org] myself, and, like most other net radio broadcasters, I play music tailored to an audience that cannot find what they're looking for with conventional radio. Synthpop and darkwave music is never going to get airtime, and outside the drunken haze of a goth club, most people will never hear it at all, meaning the arists will never get exposure... unless there are net radio stations that broadcast this type of stuff.

      The artists love it too. I've had se
  • Classic Radio (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jshriverWVU (810740) on Tuesday March 20, 2007 @08:02AM (#18412887)
    Does this apply even to stations that run regular Radio over the airwaves? You'd think they wouldnt have to double pay since they already pay royalties for the initial broadcast. Using the internet as a form of delivery I would think would be no different than using a repeater to extend range and "rebroadcast". *shrug* definately sucks, but I'll stick with japan-a-radio :)
    • Re:Classic Radio (Score:5, Informative)

      by Klaruz (734) on Tuesday March 20, 2007 @08:24AM (#18413129)
      No, it does not apply to regular radio. In America, regular radio AND internet radio pay performance royalty fees to ASCAP/BMI based on a percentage of revenue formula. That fee goes to the songwriters.

      For Internet radio ONLY, they ALSO have to pay a 'reproduction' fee, since internet radio is SOOOOO much different than regular radio according to congress. This fee goes to... you guessed it, directly to the RIAA, not the songwriters or artists. That's the fee they raised to obscene levels and what is threatening to kill internet radio.

      Fair huh? No? Call your congressman.
      • by gad_zuki! (70830)
        >That's the fee they raised to obscene levels and what is threatening to kill internet radio.

        Why would they want internet radio to thrive? The stream can easily be captured and turned into mp3s, traditional radio pays out, and the record companies are at war with anything internet based that isnt the ITMS. If internet radio finds a way to get by they'll just raise the rates again. This is how the record companies work. The last thing they want is decent internet radio.
        • by Klaruz (734)
          I know that's what the big labels want, but it's not what everybody else wants, and it's pretty easy to present to the lawmakers as being very unfair. Once the internet broadcast industry reaches a critical mass it will be much harder for them to raise fees.
      • If you're not sure who your congress critters are or how to contact them, go to congress.org [congress.org] and type in your zip code. Remember that paper letters count for more points than email and reasoned arguments count more than rants. Note that the same site has a Soapbox [congress.org] where you can urge your fellow citizens to get involved as well.
    • SoundExchange, an entity that collects royalties from digital music broadcasters and distributes them to rights holders, has said the ruling was fair and that the rapid growth in advertising revenues from online music broadcasting would more than allow webcasters to cover the new fees.

      SoundExchange pointed to research finding that those ad revenues grew from $50 million in 2003 to $500 million last year.

      I listen to Minnesota Public Radio's The Current [publicradio.org] nearly 10 hours a day on average. I don't hear a

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        There IS advertising on NPR. You know the little "bumper" at the end of each package that goes:

        Support for NPR comes from the following...

        There's usually some commission, retailer, foundation, company, etc whose business is essentially getting a "plug" and for which they're probably making a much larger donation than $120 per year. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying I think that this ruling is a good idea, but in fairness, I can understand how they might be trying to lump NPR into the fold as w
        • Technically it's not advertising. There are very strict rules about advertising on not-for-profit radio. You can't include a "call to action" (e.g. "Go out and buy X") or anything similar, and I'm pretty sure you can't mention specific commercial products.

          Basically all you can say is, "The preceding programming was brought to you by the fine folks at X, who make many fine products that I can't tell you about."
  • by speedlaw (878924) on Tuesday March 20, 2007 @08:04AM (#18412915) Homepage
    OOHHH, make the internet just go away ! Pleazze ! Let us return to the day that we owned the radio station, the promoters, the concert hall, and the bands. Our old reliable system of "screw the desperate band", play the music "via cocaine and cash incentives" on the radio, and "fill the concert halls we control with our band", ending with "selling you the authorized T shirt". I'll even toss in a contribution to the "home taping kills music" fund. Please make that nasty internet go away.
    • by speedlaw (878924) on Tuesday March 20, 2007 @08:32AM (#18413211) Homepage
      Many years ago, as a student rep at Boston U, we though about hiring a popular band for one of our student affairs. We were advised by several band managers that even tho we could afford the band (s) they would not play our, or any school. The reason was that if you played schools, the concert promoters (Boston, 1979-1983) would not hire you to play the big venues. This suddenly explained why once a band broke, you could never see them anywhere but the big arena. I agree that copy right holders are entitled to be paid for their work. What is happening here is more monopoly strongarming than copyright protection. The internet is the single greatest thing to happen to content since Gutenberg. Recall that prior to him, reading was kept to the Church and King...only elites could read...and they liked it that way.
      • I agree that copy right holders are entitled to be paid for their work.
         
        Does anyone else see the hidden error in this? Their work != the artists' work.
  • Me too! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jwest (21646) on Tuesday March 20, 2007 @08:05AM (#18412931)

    I'm also ready for higher payments!

    That means I automatically get them, right?

    • You make joke, but the logic is precisely the logic of the intellectual protectionists. Here they actually (finally) use the word "protect":

      "Digital performance rights were originally granted to record companies in 1995, in part with the intention of protecting them against the possibility that digital transmissions could erode the sales of CDs."

      All you libs who think "the free market" is going to sort out this mess should get current. This market hasn't been within 100 miles of free since the Depression.
  • Remember that the RIAA and its WIPO buddies don't tend to content themselves just with *U.S.* laws and enforcement. They'll be headed for you next. Internet radio may be in danger where ever it's located.
  • Outsourcing? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by spyrochaete (707033) on Tuesday March 20, 2007 @08:09AM (#18412969) Homepage Journal
    What about offshore servers? Are you still liable to pay royalties if you're "broadcasting" from Israel or Sweden? Technically you'd be unicasting to your server, not broadcasting to an audience.
  • This only means that some internet radios will move their servers to somewhere out of the USA... somewhere with more sane copyright laws, or with no laws at all.

    I guess it's good news for the internet hosting business at Russia, China, etc...
  • by vivaoporto (1064484) on Tuesday March 20, 2007 @08:11AM (#18412987)
    If you make hard for people that is willing to set up a legal Internet radio and make a profitable business of it, in the end, the only way to get internet music broadcast (and video, for all that matter) will be illegally, on P2P, FTP and whatnot.

    But, on a second thought, that is exactly what the Media Cartel want. They don't matter where you are getting it, as long as the only way to be legally exposed to new content is through their channels. They couldn't care less if you and a couple of technologically wealthy people are going around their blockage, but they will do everything on their power to prevent both the average people and the *artists* to get in touch with each other without them.

    This is not about giving people no options. It is about giving *artists* no option. People are attached to their favorite artists and will follow them wherever they go.
  • Some useful links... (Score:5, Informative)

    by rly2000 (779141) on Tuesday March 20, 2007 @08:11AM (#18412993) Homepage

    The DJ of my favorite internet radio stations, Radio Paradise [www.radioparadise], has a very informative blog [saveourinternetradio.com] concerning this issue.

    Also, if you're interested in taking action, check out Save Net Radio [savenetradio.org].

  • This is a contract dispute between competing corporate interests, pure and simple. The broadcasters are complaining their costs are too high (like they'd complain the opposite), while the labels complain their profits are too low (ditto). The broadcasters have two choices: pay and play, or stop entirely. If they stop, the music labels will notice their profits dropping and will rebalance their royalty rates to something more reasonable. While it may take a little time, this will work itself out in the e
    • by Steve525 (236741) on Tuesday March 20, 2007 @08:26AM (#18413145)
      If they stop, the music labels will notice their profits dropping and will rebalance their royalty rates to something more reasonable.

      You make the presumption that the labels want internet radio to succeede and their profits from internet radio to be maximized. What if what they really want is for internet radio to go away?

      Why would they want to do this? Because right now the labels act as the gatekeepers to the radio. That is why musicians sign horrible contracts with them. You want a hit record, you need to get on the radio. You want to get on the radio, you need to sign with a big label. If internet radio takes off, suddenly you'll have new outlets which the labels don't control. In the long run, maintaining this control is more important then any profits they might make of internet radio.
      • by vertinox (846076)
        That is why musicians sign horrible contracts with them. You want a hit record, you need to get on the radio. You want to get on the radio, you need to sign with a big label. If internet radio takes off, suddenly you'll have new outlets which the labels don't control.

        What they fail to realize is that the RIAA can't and will not control internet radio overseas especially on the European front which of course don't play that much RIAA music anyways.

        Not to mention that if internet radio stations in the states
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Overzeetop (214511)
      You didn't read the ruling, did you?

      I read it, and the panel that awarded the fees basically took the content industries' recommendations for the new fee structure verbatim, with only one exception (they also wanted a 25% add-on to the fee for any broadcast terminating at a mobile device). It's like two people going to a required mediator, and one party asking for $1000, and the other suggesting that they can afford $50, and the judge saying "$1000 sounds good to me!"
  • by Bastard of Subhumani (827601) on Tuesday March 20, 2007 @08:14AM (#18413023) Journal
    The Buggles 2.0 # Streaming video killed the internet radio star #
  • Profit? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SCHecklerX (229973) <thecaptain@captaincodo.net> on Tuesday March 20, 2007 @08:18AM (#18413059) Homepage
    Don't most Internet-Radio stations make no profit? You'd think artists would be thrilled to get the publicity. If they do make a profit off of the songs themselves, then pay them. But I don't think that is the case. Even traditional stations have to use paid advertising. Right?

    Royalties for broadcasting over public airwaves, or on the Internet are a really dumb idea. The artist already got paid with the CD sale. The artist gets 'free' advertising.

    Go on tour and make your money. Use CDs as promotional material.
  • Scenario #1 - despite what they say the broadcasters/netcasters are actually already making a profit on their streaming services, and will bite the bullet, pay higher royalties, and a carry on.

    Scenario #2 - no-one is making money off of Internet streaming anyhow, and this will give them the excuse to pull the plug on a money losing service.

    And I guess that there's a Scenario #3 - everybody buys satellite radio receivers and iPods and radio listenrship just continues downhill.

    Personally I would real
  • Counterproductive (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Experiment 626 (698257) on Tuesday March 20, 2007 @08:47AM (#18413365)

    In the long run, this move by the RIAA is hurt its own interests. The current situation is actually pretty good for them. They're getting paid (though perhaps not as much as they would like), their music is reaching the ears of potential customers, and the broadcasts are at bitrates good enough to expose people to music while low enough nobody wants to fill their hard drive up with an archive of it.

    So what are Internet radio listeners going to do if this succeeds? Sure, some might switch to a more RIAA-encouraged form of entertainment, but a lot will just change the station. Once the RIAA wipes out the stations promoting their music, that leaves the ones playing independent and international music. "Drive your customers to discover competitor's product" is generally not the missing "2. ???" step that leads to profit.

    • If you stream, you owe the compulsory licensing- doesn't matter if you're streaming signed artists or not.

      This is what they want. They don't want the venue to exist, so they'll get the government to tax the hell
      out of it so it'll go away. I wouldn't mind helping my favorite internet stations pay the bill if I thought
      that the money would go to the artists I listen to (All unsigned in the case of the stations- I like listening
      to Celtic, Celtic Rock, and Renaissance Festival music on the streams. I don't li
  • by xtracto (837672)
    Where is the MAFIAA tag? they are the ones at the back of this too.
  • There's been some discussion of this on my favorite Internet station, WOXY [woxy.com]. While the owners have assured us that there is enough revenue to sustain WOXY under the current model, all of their user-based streams would probably go away or be vastly different (P2P, in nature, instead of broadcast). Also, I got the feeling that "sustain" meant more "squeak by" than "doing peachy".

    I've written both my senators and my congresscritter about this. Pretty please, do the same.

    Cheers,
    -l

  • The headline had me worried for a second, but after actually reading up on this it appears that these new changes can be waived by independent bands.

    That's all I really cared about! I was terrified that these rules were being applied to ANY music being broadcast. If I want to put up a shoutcast station playing nothing but recordings of myself singing about my cat it would be outright robbery for me to have to pay a fee to the RIAA and it's ilk.

    Luckily the music that I like the most are all stations like Gro
  • by Critical Facilities (850111) on Tuesday March 20, 2007 @09:06AM (#18413643) Homepage
    This is a slippery slope. I think that while on the surface, Internet radio and traditional, terrestrial, broadcast radio seem like the same thing, they've got some pretty significant differences. Obviously, terrestrial radio has a much larger share of the listeners. That is, while LOTS of people listen to Internet Radio, there are exponentially more Internet Radio "Stations" than there are terrestrial radio stations. Thus, the likelihood of 400,000 people listening to 1 terrestrial radio station (and thus being exposed to their advertising) is much higher than the same amount of people listening to the same Internet Radio Station. While not implausible that someone with a little money and marketing savvy might be able to make a dent with an Internet Radio Station, it hasn't happened yet.

    That said, I think to apply the same (or at least similar) royalty fees to these Internet Radio Stations is pretty unfair. As a composer and a musician, I despise that I have to agree with Clear Channel on this one, because I think that they are RUINING terrestrial radio if in fact they haven't ruined it already. I side with Internet Radio as an artist because it is exactly the freedom from some of the industry regulation that makes it possible for someone without Warner Brothers or Sony behind him/her to get exposure. There's no friggin' way I'm going to get my music played/heard on a Clear Channel station or in a Warner Brothers movie soundtrack without EVERYBODY getting a piece of the pie. On the other hand, if I find a niche Internet Radio Station, I can submit my stuff and get it heard by a smaller, but hopefully more targeted audience and perhaps eventually generate some revenue from licensing deals with them or CD sales.

    I guess my point is, while it would be easy to jump on the bandwagon as an artist and hope for the "big score" of more royalties, doing so would choke the "small time" Internet Radio Stations and make it once again a field of only "heavy hitters" with whom I stand little chance of getting heard. It may seem counterintuitive to some, but I think keeping things affordable with regard to royalties is exactly what's making it fertile ground for emerging artists and what's keeping Internet Radio a viable alternative for people looking for something more diverse and different than traditional radio.
    • by dbcad7 (771464)
      The problem isn't about paying royalties, "commercial" internet stations do this already. It's about having to pay royalties "per listener" which is something standard airwave (and satelite) stations do not have to do. They want to think of internet radio in the same way they think of itunes, instead of thinking of it as "broadcasting" which it really is. It's wrong period.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by FunWithKnives (775464)
      As a musician as well, I would question where exactly this "slippery slope" will end up. I actually believe that this is an extremely good thing for music as well as musicians. Many of us have been waiting for the lumbering RIAA dinosaur to sink into the La Brea tar pit that it has created for itself over time. This really isn't anything new at all. Anyone who has been involved with music at any point within the last sixty years or so has realized that the RIAA (and by extension the "Big Five") will do abso
  • I'm surprised... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jas_public (1049030)
    I'm surprised that some enterprising country who doesn't give a frick about US laws and who wants western currency doesn't get into the "media business." Imagine if North Korea, Iran, Venezuela, or Cuba got opened their own internet radio and their own versions of AllofMP3? I'd think that would be a decent stream of revenue that would be hard or impossible to shut off.
  • The Ramones only stations are going to take a bath under this. The all Yes station will get off light on comparison.
    pay royalties based on estimates of how many songs were played over a given period of time, or a 'tuning hour,' as opposed to counting every single song
  • Can someone explain why this is being done retroactively? I've seen some pretty stupid laws, but I've never heard of one that takes place retroactively. If the idea was to make this look above board, that part kinda kills the whole illusion. I'm desperately trying to find the "other side" to this issue. It helps when you are explaining it to someone if you have some idea why the law was passed other than "The RIAA is a bunch of jerks and they lined the pockets of the CRB." Surely they have some pretens
  • Golden Eggs (Score:3, Funny)

    by boyfaceddog (788041) on Tuesday March 20, 2007 @09:21AM (#18413797) Journal
    I can just hear the copyright holders meeting now ....

    "And our projections show that if we choke the goose hard enough we'll get more eggs."

  • RIAA free radio? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Jaywalk (94910) on Tuesday March 20, 2007 @09:23AM (#18413827) Homepage
    There is a lot of music out there which is not controlled by the RIAA. While it would mean skipping the "hottest new songs" (i.e., tuneless dreck) it would mean that the music could be streamed (or podcast) without any royalty payments at all. The 'casters could also make a side business selling their own music mixes with a percentage of sales going straight to the artists. And it direct competition to the RIAA hegemony.

    Anybody see a reason why this wouldn't work?

    • Anybody see a reason why this wouldn't work?

      Quality of music, perhaps?

      Unfortunately, the music that is controlled by RIAA members extends far beyond the top 40. We'd be saying goodbye to many semi-popular groups, classics, and classical recordings.
      • While the RIAA controls a lot of music, I would contend that they don't control the best or even the most, only the best known. Many formerly popular groups [washingtonpost.com] have retrieved their music, which the RIAA has been neglecting in favor of the more profitable new groups. Classic music scores are, generally, public domain and can be performed by any competent orchestra. Do you honestly believe that RIAA artists are inherently "better" than the huge number of non-RIAA artists? The only real problem is one of filt
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by rsmith-mac (639075)
      It's not about what music is related to the RIAA, it's about who has to pay SoundExchange either way, which is everyone unless they have a written contract from some entity granting them music. Ari at DI.fm made an interesting comment on the subject [www.di.fm], in short it won't work.

      You may ask us about why don't we just play unlicensed tracks or make an agreement with artists directly to avoid paying so much. The reality of the business is that it is virtually impossible to micromanage things this way. You'd have to

  • by zerofoo (262795) on Tuesday March 20, 2007 @09:24AM (#18413847)
    We need to get left behind to shake up our policy makers. After a decade of stupid laws that kill innovation in this country, and start an economic recession, maybe people will wake up to the fact that conservative candidates and ideas need to be tossed out. You can not have progress without change. Conservatives, by nature and definition, resist change.

    Innovation killing patents, overly-restrictive copyright, anti-science and anti-education political agendas, trade barriers.....all the right ingredients to kill our economy.

    Maybe after a decade of being the "world-losers" joe-sixpack will figure out that new leadership is needed....and maybe voting only pro-choice or pro-life is too simplistic a strategy to keep our country competitive with the rest of the world.

    -ted

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by wandazulu (265281)
      Sadly, while I agree with you, I have a friend who I use as the "Joe Sixpack" acid test, and the only thing he wants to change is the price of the PS3. He uses Internet radio to stream the same classic rock songs from the local radio station, and when told it could be shut down, his response is to say "whatever...I'll just go back to listening to the radio."

      The thing that galls me the most is that he has absolutely no concern about America's place in the world. To him, America *is* the world. His rationale?
  • Here is a link to the petition to save internet radio. http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/saveinternetrad io/ [ipetitions.com] Please go sign it. The more people the better.
  • I wonder what the tipping point is where the cost of doing business with the RIAA becomes so large that we see a mass exodus of artists to smaller, independent recording houses and then distributing their work themselves via the internet. When the collective disdain artists (and other industries) hold towards the RIAA reaches critical mass this mass exodus will occur and people will look towards new technologies (internet based distribution, alternate recording houses, etc) and the industry will move on le
  • Please tell me if I have this wrong:

    At issue are the royalty fees paid to royalty holders for broadcast music. The rates are going to drive Internet radio into the ground, and even major communications companies don't like it.

    If you are a small station and don't want to/can't afford these new royalties, why not just drop the content entirely and support local talent instead?

    There's lots of big talk about boycotting the big media companies due to heavy-handed tactics to protect their copyright and the lack
    • Go independent, and I'd bet a lot of these fees go down, down, down and payment to the independent artist goes up, up, up. Isn't that what we all want in the first place?

      This is all fine and well within certain genres but there is tons of stuff this simply wouldn't cover. For instance: my father is a big doo-wop/oldies fan. There is no real way to substitute that type of music by indies. Maybe there is a handful of modern doo-wop style groups out there today that are independent but i doubt enough to supp
  • This is about control, period.

    The amount of revenue for the RIAA is insignificant, either if the fees stay the same or if their raised, since raising them will kill the internet broadcasting industry before its really started. And killing the internet broadcasting industry is exactly the point.

    Left unchecked, eventually internet radio will make broadcast radio obsolete. Maybe not for 10 years, but it will happen eventually. For the recording industry, that's a huge problem. See, they effectively control
  • When I first heard about this, I thought it was great news. Independent music labels and individual artists are still free to license their music to internet radio stations at lower prices, right? The high rates set by the CRB seem to basically mean that major labels will not have access to internet radio, while independent labels and musicians will (if they want). Although I like the occasional major label tune as much as the next guy, it's easy to see a major upside to this move. Through one channel a
  • ...long live WFMU!!! who needs RIAA crap?
  • It's a US association wanting license fees from US companies, right?

    So I can still listen to broadcasts hosted outside my borders? How will the Royalty Idiots & A**holes of America enforce this?
  • I can still remember how that music used to make me smile.
  • I am a former radio dj. I always wanted to have my own radio station. My dreams came true a little over a year ago when I started my very own Internet radio station. I have spent around $4500 dollars getting the station up and going. There are costs for music, automation and music scheduling software, computers, bandwidth, stream hosting, licensing fees not to mention the endless hours I spent putting it all together. I also did all the webpage creation and hosting myself which saved me quite a bit of money

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