Who Hijacked Our Country

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Say Goodbye to Internet Radio

Have you been enjoying some of the thousands of radio stations available on the Internet? Well, listen while you can. Their days are numbered.

The Copyright Royalty Board has increased — drastically, brutally increased — the royalty fees that Internet radio stations will have to pay. The Board’s decision was the result of intense arm-twisting by those anal retentive douchebags at the Recording Industry Association of America.

The entire royalty structure has been changed. In addition to the fee itself going way up, radio stations will have to pay this fee per performance (each song played), and this fee will be multiplied by the estimated number of listeners. If a station averages 500 listeners, this station will be paying more than $50 for every song played (the performance fee of eleven cents multiplied by 500). And this fee is going to keep going up and up and up every year.

How many of these hole-in-the-wall operations can afford this? It’s been fun.

What happened to that vast unlimited frontier that the Internet was supposed to be? When the FCC was allowing radio stations to merge and merge and merge, part of their argument was that the Internet provided so many choices. It didn’t matter if every broadcast radio station was owned by the same company and kept playing the same four songs day in and day out. You have Satellite Radio; you’ve got the Internet; you have millions of choices out there.

And now…

Now the two main satellite radio companies, XM and Sirius, are about to merge. And Viacom has filed a $1 billion lawsuit against YouTube. Conservatives are always blubbering about “too many lawsuits,” “too much litigation,” “too many lawyers.” But when a multi-billion dollar corporation sues a smaller rival, these same conservatives just clam right up and slither into the woodwork. (If only they'd stay there.)

Just like print media and our "public" airwaves, the Internet is turning into the personal fiefdom of a few corporate leeches.

UPDATE: Please sign these two online petitions, here and here, to save Internet Radio.

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Blogger J. Marquis said...

Great post, Tom. You do a great job of exposing the Right's true
attitude about free choice.

March 14, 2007 at 5:46 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

J. Marquis: Thanks. Yeah, I don't know what kind of "free market" the Right is talking about, if all the small and medium-sized competitors are squeezed out.

March 14, 2007 at 6:40 PM  
Blogger Lizzy said...

That sucks big time.

March 14, 2007 at 9:38 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Lizzy: Yup, it sucks all right.

March 15, 2007 at 12:46 AM  
Blogger roberthathaway said...

Everyone needs to go to:

And fill out the petition. It is the least we can do for the great stations out there that are trying to stay alive. If we want to continue to enjoy internet radio like ParadiseRadio we need to send a message to our politician that "we are mad as hell and are not going to take it anymore"

March 15, 2007 at 10:25 AM  
Anonymous Thomas Ware said...

Be a Pirate, don't pay. arghhh...

My reporting here... For music sites run by tax-exempt nonprofit organizations, the board set a flat $500 annual fee per radio channel or up to 159,140 Aggregate Tuning Hours (one listener listening for an hour) per month.

Feel free to visit KPOV LPFM Bend Community Radio for 24/7 live stream of eclectic music and contemporary talk.

March 15, 2007 at 10:32 AM  
Blogger roberthathaway said...

Here is another petition that everyone should sign. It only takes a 30 seconds and you could save internet radio.

March 15, 2007 at 10:36 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Robert Hathaway: For some reason Blogger wouldn’t let me publish your final comment that had the other link, so here it is:


Thanks for these links. When I was doing this post yesterday I searched all over for any mass e-mails or petitions to sign, but I couldn’t find any. This is exactly what we need; I hope lots of people sign them.

Thomas Ware: That sounds like a better deal, the one you're describing. If worse comes to worse, I guess anyone who wants to run an internet radio station can form a nonprofit organization and have the station under that name.

I’ll check out your station in Bend. My current favorite internet station is The Guitar Channel. Jazz, rock, fusion — dynamite guitar playing. It was a post on his blog where I first learned about internet stations being squeezed out.

March 15, 2007 at 11:54 AM  
Anonymous JollyRoger said...

The right is a Stalinist organization, that means to collectivize all production, military, and Government into a few hands.

I guffaw every time I hear a Chimpleton cry about "socialism." They like socialism in reverse just fine!

March 15, 2007 at 12:30 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Jolly Roger: That's true, the Right seems to want all that centralization and lockstep conformity that they accuse the Left of favoring. A free market, with thousands of people competing against each other -- that's the furthest thing from what the right wing wants.

March 15, 2007 at 4:39 PM  
Blogger PoliShifter said...

Excellent post Tom.

I would love to know who/what is really behind it all. For example, are XM/SIRI pushing it so more people will get satelite radio?

Are radio stations pushing it so they can swoop in and set up radio stations with advertising? Clearly this is meant to push out all the mom and pop stores on the internet and make way for the 10000 lb gorillas.

It's really fucking sad on one hand...

On the other hand my guess is there always be music on the internets and there will be nothing the assholes can do about it. People will find a way to broadcast and disseminate.

March 15, 2007 at 8:41 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

PoliShifter: I think that ultimately your last guess will be correct, that somehow people will find a way to broadcast and disseminate. (I hope that's the case.) The link from Thomas Ware (earlier comment; the link didn't work) shows that nonprofit organizations can broadcast on the internet for much lower fees. If that's true, broadcasters can use that angle. If not, there'll always be another angle. (Or maybe I'm just too optimistic.) We peons are always ultimately more inventive and more ingenious than the bloated corporate pusbags who try to squish anything/anyone who's smaller than themselves.

March 15, 2007 at 11:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The demise of Internet radio is indeed a very sad thing. Since I no longer own a car and get lousy reception in my flat, Internet radio is one of my last remaining sources for diverse musical entertainment. When that's gone...

March 18, 2007 at 10:39 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Kvatch: Yeah, this really sucks. With YouTube and Internet radio both in jeopardy, surfing the net might get awfully quiet in the future.

March 18, 2007 at 12:10 PM  
Blogger Ricardo said...

Yep leave it to corporate America to ruin everything because it's somehow stealing. It's not really. In fact it's the best viral marketing they can get without doing the marketing themselves.

March 19, 2007 at 8:38 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Ricardo: Viral marketing, that's exactly what Internet radio is (and Napster and YouTube and all those other "free" programs). It's one thing for these corporate types to be anal about it, and it's something else again when their anal retentiveness ends up cutting their own throats. (Yes, that's too many metaphors in one sentence.)

March 19, 2007 at 10:11 PM  

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