Goodbye Internet Radio :-(


Cyberm4n
#1
More than 200 Internet-based radio stations have shut down because of a royalty fee that takes effect in September, and more are closing daily.Most of the estimated 10,000 radio Webcasters are expected to follow suit, "with the exception of Yahoo, AOL, Microsoft and other deep-pocketed conglomerates who can afford a loss leader," says Kurt Hanson, editor of the Radio and Internet Newsletter.

On June 20, a copyright appeals board set a rate of seven-hundredths of a cent per song, per listener. For many stations, run by music fans for music fans, that works out to thousands of dollars more than they make.

Payments are due Oct. 20 for this year and are retroactive to 1998, which could add up to tens of thousands more in arrears. The fee applies to both commercial and non-commercial stations; many non-profits have closed their Web stations, including University of California-Los Angeles and New York University. KPIG of Watsonville, Calif., the first commercial station to stream its signal over the Internet in 1995, has stopped Webcasting, as have others with dedicated followings such as All80s, GrrlRock and SavageRockRadio.

Many Web stations already pay copyright royalties to songwriter organizations. This new fee which traditional over-the-air radio stations don't pay goes to record companies.

Hilary Rosen of the Recording Industry Association of America says this issue shouldn't be presented as big labels vs. mom-and-pop operations: "If you don't have a business model that sustains your costs, it sounds harsh, but that's real life. If a grocery store can't afford to pay for the vegetables, they can't keep their doors open."

However, many of the stations shutting down are non-profits. "This isn't a bunch of rich college kids who don't want to pay the fee," says Will Robedee, general manager of Rice University's KTRU of Houston. "Most college station budgets come not from tuition but student fees." And when the new rates demand per-song, per-listener fees, "the better we do our job, by attracting more listeners, the more it will cost us, even though we're not making money."

Small stations have their supporters. Rep. Rick Boucher, D-Va., is expected to introduce a bill this week to offer relief. "The goal is to make sure the small Webcasters who measure their revenues in the tens of thousands are not put out of business by a copyright payment requirement in the hundreds of thousands," he says.

But with time short and Congress in recess in August, Boucher concedes, "This is not going to be easy to pass. Any legislative process will be staunchly opposed by the people who benefit from the high and exorbitant rate."

A concert is slated for tonight at 7:30 ET at the State Theatre in Falls Church, Va., and on the Web at www.webcasters.org, to benefit small Webcasters.

John Simson, executive director of the SoundExchange, formed by the RIAA to collect royalties from new media, says he's willing to work out a compromise with the small Webcasters that could keep them in business, but hasn't come up with a plan yet. "We want to reach a resolution well in advance of the Oct. 20 deadline," he says.

Rosen contends that most college stations won't owe more than $500 a year. "Given our problems with digital piracy on university servers, it is almost comical that they have the nerve to complain about $500," she says.
 
Shmad
#2
Thats just bloody sad, another case of the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

So much for my thoughts of re-launching my Web RadioCasts. :P Anyone up for some talk radio? lol
 
JSz
#3
Shmad, I think that tax doesnt apply to canadians. Americans cant just impose a tax on us.
 
Shmad
#4
Quote: Originally Posted by JSz

Shmad, I think that tax doesnt apply to canadians. Americans cant just impose a tax on us.

Why not? they impose a lot of other taxes on us as well. Radio (normal radio) taxes, apply in both the United States and Canada, so I wouldn't be too surprised if it does get imposed on us anyways. If not now, it will eventually like everything else they have imposed on recordings. And theres probably a clause for your intended audience if it does not, for example, if I have americans listening to it, Im probably going to get taxed based on that, or the fact that a relay server is located in the United states as well.
 
JSz
#5
Look at my mp3 post. This also kills the rights and freedoms of the internet, where large corporations come together and control it. Its not only happening in the united states, but right here in Canada too. Infact, one day, the United States will have absolute control of Canada if we don't have a change in our government system and keep letting these laws pass which give control to the USA and other large powers.
 
Anonymous
#6
this is so bad, does this mean i will have to start forking out $$$ to listen to radio online?
 
Shmad
#7
Quote: Originally Posted by Anonymous

this is so bad, does this mean i will have to start forking out $$$ to listen to radio online?

Well the way it stands, the radio stations have to fork out a certain amount per SONG per listener. I would expect some radio stations would start charging a user a listening fee, of course I wouldnt expect that fee to be that much. Of course there shouldnt BE a fee, but alas we live in a world with blood sucking evil corporate giants out to bleed us dry.
 
Anonymous
#8
I listen to radio stations from europe a lot. Im wondering what kind of fee they might put up.
 
Shmad
#9
Quote: Originally Posted by Anonymous

I listen to radio stations from europe a lot. Im wondering what kind of fee they might put up.

They might just get more sponsors to help them pay for the radio via Advertising costs. I wouldnt expect the fee to be as silly as what they are doing to the station itself though.
 
Cyberm4n
#10
Obviously there isnt a good reaction about this move.