View Full Version : Help save Internet radio

Mike Anderson
2007-03-08, 19:56
Sign the petition here:


"On Friday March 2nd, the U.S. government (specifically, the Copyright Royalty Board, or "CRB") announced its determination of the royalty rates Internet radio webcasters must pay the owners of sound recording copyrights to license the music they play for the years 2006-2010. The owners of these sound recording copyrights are, in the vast majority of cases, recording companies ("labels").

While successful webcasters which have built loyal audiences can usually cover most of their costs from their revenue (and sometimes even make a little profit), these new rates will almost certainly destroy the Internet radio industry, as they amount to well over 100% of even the most-successful webcasters' online radio revenues. In other words, these fees are grotesquely disproportionate to any other expense a webcaster would normally face, and certain to bankrupt him or her."

2007-03-09, 08:50
Just a small bump to keep this alive and encourage more comment. I don't really know anything about the business, but it seems to me like a control-grab by the RIAA. Can anybody demonstrate how this royalty regime is going to help independent artists, who generally are struggling to pay the bills?
It does appear to me that we would rather quickly end up with streaming radio owned by the big 4 labels, once they've squeezed out anybody ballsy enough to try streaming music from 'non-label' artists. Of course, then they'll squeeze revenue out of this by making them subscription only! (which at least will provide an opening for independents to get back in, providing independent music at lower subscription rates).
At the end of the day, I don't think anyone should consider the RIAA and the big 4 labels to be representative of the artists. If it can be shown that this royalty regime benefits the full spectrum of music/artists, without being exclusively advantageous to a select few, then it is fine, but otherwise, it should be fought tooth & nail.

2007-03-09, 08:59
nicketynick wrote:
> a control-grab by the RIAA. Can anybody demonstrate how this royalty
> regime is going to help independent artists, who generally are
> struggling to pay the bills?

The RIAA has long shown that it is not concerned about musicians, studio
owners, engineers, or anyone but themselves and the giant labels that
support them.

> At the end of the day, I don't think anyone should consider the RIAA
> and the big 4 labels to be representative of the artists.

I haven't considered them representing anyone other than themselves and
the biggest labels. End of day, beginning of day, last year, etc.

I'm biased, about seven years ago the RIAA crushed my Internet music
startup, which was acceptable years later when Apple released the idea
as ITunes and the iStore. Mine was better, of course :-(


2007-03-09, 21:22
nicketynick wrote:[color=blue]
Mine was better, of course :-(

Doesn't matter, your name wasn't Steve Jobs *or* Bill Gates. Sorry, in advance, for the cynicism.

2007-03-12, 15:08
Innovation cannot be allowed. Next, you'll get people thinking for themselves.

Mike Anderson
2007-03-15, 20:19
See Slashdot piece:


2007-03-17, 16:21
Innovation cannot be allowed. Next, you'll get people thinking for themselves.
Well it's allowed, so long as it's owned and controlled by the correct corporates. Uncontrolled and free innovation is the problem, as with global free trade.

I won't be surprised also if this results in only high priced commercial Internet Radio surviving and also those stations being restricted regionally so of course us Brits pay twice or three times as much as the rest of the world as usual.

2007-04-02, 11:10
Since this is happening in the US and will primarily affect American web radio, do you think it will spill over to Europe? Many times I feel that RIAAs decisions and actions are felt later in Europe.

2007-04-16, 18:40
This article (http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20070416-internet-radio-dealt-severe-blow-as-copyright-board-rejects-appeal.html) sounds like bad news.

2007-04-17, 01:17
This is very bad news indeed.

I listen to radioparadise.com every day on my SB3 and Radio Paradise is under threat from this decision. There's a very long thread (http://www.radioparadise.com/content.php?name=Forums&file=showtopic&topic_id=9567&start=1280) on their site and according to the station owner BillG on 16 April, Yahoo and Microsoft (and others) are becoming involved:

The first step is for us to get a bill introduced in Congress. That will be the first thrust of the lobbying effort of the SaveNetRadio coalition. This will be funded by some of the "deep pockets" with a stake in this issue (Yahoo, Microsoft, etc), so it has a decent chance at success (in DC, money = power).

Hopefully Logitech/Slim Devices are backing this issue too as I'm sure I'm not alone in using my SB3 for predominantly internet radio listening.

Unfortunately I'm in the UK, so can't do much to help from over here! :(

I no longer listen to regular FM radio as it doesn't play the music I like, and I've bought far more CDs having heard the artist (sometimes for the first time) on stations such as radioparadise so the long term effect of this decision will to reduce the variety of music I listen to, and ultimately buy. The CRB are insane, this decision helps no one - least of all the artists.

2007-04-17, 01:58
Unfortunately I'm in the UK, so can't do much to help from over here! :(

You can still sign the petition that Mike mentions in the first post. I signed it although I live in Sweden (and I've seen other swedes who has signed it as well). Maybe it makes a difference or maybe it doesn't - at least we try to help :-)


2007-04-17, 01:59
New update on April 16:
Copyright Royalty Board Denies Rehearing Motions - Next Stop, Court of Appeals

See http://www.broadcastlawblog.com/

2007-04-17, 02:08
You can still sign the petition that Mike mentions in the first post. I signed it although I live in Sweden (and I've seen other swedes who has signed it as well). Maybe it makes a difference or maybe it doesn't - at least we try to help :-)


BillG on the radioparadise site is suggesting that because the petition is intended for the US Congress, only US nationals/residents should bother signing the petition - basically, he's saying that Congress aren't interested in what anyone outside the US thinks. Hard to disagree with that argument really! :)

Mark Lanctot
2007-04-17, 08:51
SoundExchange is jubilant over the ruling. Executive Director John Simson called the CRB's ruling a victory for performing artists and record labels. "Our artists and labels look forward to working with the Internet radio industry—large and small, commercial and noncommercial—so that together we can ensure it succeeds as a place where great music is available to music lovers of all genres," said Simson in a statement.

Wow. Just...wow. This should be filed in the dictionary under "denial". Bet it took many years of PR training to come up with such a spin.

The unfortunate part of this is that the Internet knows no boundaries and that the U.S. controls it, so what happens in the U.S. happens in the rest of the world too, whether we like it or not.

But someday, and someday soon, China will control the Internet, and they have no qualms about this whole copyright thing. ;-) (Not that it's a "copyright thing", it's a "greed" thing, but record execs won't be able to buy the Chinese government quite so easily...)

2007-04-17, 09:30
Got this email from tim last night. His link points to a different site, so I thought I would post it here so that we could hit folks from a couple of different directions:

Hi, it's Tim from Pandora,

I'm writing today to ask for your help. The survival of Pandora and all of Internet radio is in jeopardy because of a recent decision by the Copyright Royalty Board in Washington, DC to almost triple the licensing fees for Internet radio sites like Pandora. The new royalty rates are irrationally high, more than four times what satellite radio pays and broadcast radio doesn't pay these at all. Left unchanged, these new royalties will kill every Internet radio site, including Pandora.

In response to these new and unfair fees, we have formed the SaveNetRadio Coalition, a group that includes listeners, artists, labels and webcasters. I hope that you will consider joining us.

Please sign our petition urging your Congressional representative to act to save Internet radio: http://capwiz.com/saveinternetradio/issues/alert/?alertid=9631541

Please feel free to forward this link/email to your friends - the more petitioners we can get, the better.

Understand that we are fully supportive of paying royalties to the artists whose music we play, and have done so since our inception. As a former touring musician myself, I'm no stranger to the challenges facing working musicians. The issue we have with the recent ruling is that it puts the cost of streaming far out of the range of ANY webcaster's business potential.

I hope you'll take just a few minutes to sign our petition - it WILL make a difference. As a young industry, we do not have the lobbying power of the RIAA. You, our listeners, are by far our biggest and most influential allies.

As always, and now more than ever, thank you for your support.

-Tim Westergren
(Pandora founder)


2007-04-26, 19:07
keep those cards, letters and phone calls coming to your congressmen and senators. Here is the latest info hot off the presses today:


Lawmakers propose reversal of Net radio fee increases

By Anne Broache
http://news.com.com/Lawmakers++propose+reversal+of+Net+radio+fee+incre ases/2100-1028_3-6179627.html

Story last modified Thu Apr 26 15:52:28 PDT 2007

A bill introduced in Congress Thursday aims to overturn a controversial royalty fee increase that Internet radio advocates say threatens to cripple their services.
The "Internet Radio Equality Act," introduced by Reps. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.) and Don Manzullo (R-Ill.), would invalidate a March 2 decision by the U.S. Copyright Royalty Board that calls for raising royalty rates paid by Net radio operators.

"You can't put an economic chokehold on this emerging force of democracy," Inslee said in a statement e-mailed by a spokeswoman. "There has to be a business model that allows creative Webcasters to thrive and the existing rule removes all the oxygen from this space."

The bill's introduction comes less than two weeks after the CRB declined to reconsider most of its decision. Small Webcasters, National Public Radio, Clear Channel Communications and others had filed petitions for a rehearing. Some have indicated they are considering filing an appeal of the rules in court.

If it were to stand, the CRB's existing ruling (PDF) would result in fee increases on Internet radio operators ranging from 300 to 1,200 percent between 2006 and 2012, according to a group called SaveNetRadio, which has been lobbying Congress for relief.

Specifically, the rules call for rate increases of .08 cents per song per listener retroactive to 2006. They would also climb to .19 cents per song by 2010, which amounts to a 30 percent increase per year. Each station would also have to hand over a minimum $500 royalty payment under the ruling.

The congressmen said they had already received more than 1,000 e-mails and letters opposing the decision.

In addition to repealing that regime, the new House bill offers a compromise: It would set the rate at 7.5 percent of the Webcaster's revenue "directly related to" its transmission of sound recordings, or 33 cents per hour of sound recordings transmitted to a single listener. It would be up to the Webcaster to decide which model to use. That rate would also apply to satellite and cable radio operators, Inslee's office said in a statement.

The proposal drew applause from SaveNetRadio, whose members include Internet radio listeners, Webcasters and artists.

"This bill is a critical step to preserve this vibrant and growing medium, and to develop a truly level playing field where Webcasters can compete with satellite radio," said organization spokesman Jake Ward.

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The bill also calls for public radio broadcasters to submit a report to Congress on how to determine rates for their class of services. Andi Sporkin, NPR's vice president of communications, called that idea a fair solution that is consistent with more than 30 years of copyright law, which "has recognized that public radio has a very different mission from commercial media and cannot pay commercial-level royalty rates."

Representatives for SoundExchange, the nonprofit entity that collects the fees and lobbied for the royalty rate changes, said they were still reviewing the bill and had no comment on Thursday.

The organization in the past has defended the CRB's decision as an appropriate way of ensuring artists are adequately compensated when their work is broadcast over the Internet.

Copyright ©1995-2007 CNET Networks, Inc. All rights reserved.

2007-04-26, 19:22
Sounds encouraging!

Mark Lanctot
2007-04-28, 14:00
Just received from Live365:

Re: Ask your Representative to cosponsor the Internet Radio Equality Act!

Dear Live365 Listener,

The Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) recently denied webcasters' requests for a rehearing on its ruling of unfairly high new royalty rates -- a stunning 300 to 1200 percent increase -- for Internet radio for period 2006-2010.

Internet radio is singled out from all other radio, burdened with fees not paid by AM or FM stations, and at rates at least 3-4 times paid by satellite and cable radio. The ruling even included absurd minimum of $500 per station per year to penalize the smallest webcasters with the highest rates.

Should this ruling stand, many of your favorite stations will be silenced. You will find Live365's 260 genres reduced to the same meager, homogenized list carried on AM/FM radio, because the unfair rates would drive webcasters in niche genres with unique content unavailable elsewhere out of business.

You can, however, help protect your favorite tunes of your favorite DJs from being silenced.

The Internet Radio Equality Act (HR 2060) has been introduced in Congress by Representative Jay Inslee (D-WA). A simple phone call to your Representative to ask for their support on this Bill will go a long way toward ensuring your right to diversity and choice in radio. Better yet, please also write and fax to show how serious you are. They need to know how much your music means to you.

Click here for the number of your Representative. Call NOW!

Mark Lam
CEO, Live365
To learn how your single call can make the difference, visit www.live365.com/choice, and the SaveNetRadio Coalition we formed with listeners, webcasters, artists, and labels: www.savenetradio.org.

2007-05-11, 07:04
Please continue to write your congreesmen and Senators to encourage them to support the proposed legislation. Here is the latest news:

In the latest breakthrough for net radio, Sens. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) Thursday introduced legislation to nullify the Copyright Royalty Board’s March ruling to hike royalty fees for net radio broadcasters by as much as 300 percent from 2006-2010.

2007-05-25, 02:17
Have signed the savenetradio petition but wish I was in the US so I could perhaps shout a bit louder - whay happens there happens here shortly after!

Just for my 3 pennies worth "Main stream radio is shit" (nicked from NYUB podcast radio:-) it is regional, based on what the record company cartel wish to promote and is of little interest to me. Internet radio on the other hand brings new music to my ears and constantly encourages me to go out and buy artists CD's I would never have heard of if left to the 'label' system.

By trying to shackle internet radio the record companies are being thier usual short sighted selves - I BUY music I want to keep, after I have been introduced to it by ripping friends CD's or listening to internet radio!!!

Mr.Record Company Man you will NEVER STOP THIS and in the very near future YOU WILL NOT EXIST AT ALL unless you embrace this concept.

If the record companies don't stop fighting their corner and help us shape the future of music distribution their involvement will inevitably be sidelined, the days of massive profits off the back of a major artist are already waning. Together we can make a viable distribution model that serves artist, promoter, distributor and listener - if not then the record companies will be left with only their back catalogue and they will have no place in the future of new music distribution!!!

2007-05-29, 14:38
Unfortunately this crazy law has already hit my favourite radio station and it has now ceased broadcasting. Music One (www.m1live.com) was the _best_ dance station around. Rich the stations owner and sole worker has stopped the station prematurely to try and formulate a business plan to get everything back and running. But there is no guarantee that if this law sticks it will be financially viable at all.

This world is crazy. I'm saddened and annoyed at the same time.
How do music execs think they are gonna make their millions if they close down the emerging avenues of music dissemination?
I, for one, have _bought_ countless tracks/CDs purely through hearing and loving them on Music One.

RIP M1, you are already missed greatly by many of us fans.


Mike Anderson
2007-06-27, 22:55
Go to http://www.savenetradio.org/

Contact your congress person to keep net radio free!

All you have to do is click on the link above, and click on "Call you Senators and Representatives". Then just enter your zip code, and it will give you the phone number for your Congress critter's office.

It's very easy to do, just takes a minute or so.

Internet radio is really the best way for unknown artists to get heard these days. PLEASE don't let the RIAA kill it. That would be really, really sad...

Paul Webster
2007-07-06, 00:30
Latest news I have seen is that the proposal from SoundExchange at the end of June has been rejected.


Net Radio Rejects SoundExchange's Offer
2007-07-02 17:31:13.487,
Story by: Rachael Darmanin

Last Friday afternoon, SoundExchange announced a voluntary cap on the minimum royalty fees charged to webcasters, capping advance payments at $2,500 per service no matter how many stations or channels one has. This comes as the only change currently offered by SoundExchange to how the July 15 ruling now stands, where currently webcasters are required to pay a $500 minimum fee per station or channel. Even though negotiations have been taking place with the Digital Media Association (DiMA) last week, they responded to SoundExchange today stating that although they agree to the cap, they do not agree to its time constraint. The proposed capping would only last until 2008.

"Any offer that doesn't cover the full term is simply a stay of execution for Internet radio," said Jonathan Potter, executive director of DiMA in a statement. "The looming 2009 billion-dollar threat is destabilizing and inhibits investment and growth. A billion dollar 'minimum fee' is equally absurd in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 or 2010. It should be elimated—period."

SaveNetRadio agreed, stating that it was "disappointed" in the claim that SoundExchange has "successfully addressed" the royalty rate problem. In a press release, the coalition said the proposal "falls well short of even the lowest standard of a temporary fix."

SoundExchange still stands by the July 15 ruling—which will more than double the current royalty rates—claiming that the Copyright Royalty Board judges are "fair" and "reasonable." The DiMA would prefer for them to continue negotiations with them directly, rather than issue press releases.