View Full Version : USA: Internet Radio: last week's deal includes Squeezebox-crippling DRM?

2007-07-16, 11:00
Here's the SoundExchange press release:
http: //www.soundexchange.com/documents/07_13_07%20SoundExchange%20Confirms%20Minimum%20Fe e.pdf

And analysis from Ars Technica:

After news of the temporary compromise broke, SoundExchange eventually distributed a press release (PDF) that characterized its compromise offer. It speaks for itself ...

"SoundExchange has offered to cap the $500 per channel minimum fee at $50,000 per year for webcasters who agree to provide more detailed reporting of the music that they play and work to stop users from engaging in 'streamripping'—turning Internet radio performances into a digital music library," reads the statement.

A source at a major MP3-based Internet radio station who did not want to be named told Ars Technica that this is not the first time that SoundExchange has expressed interest in seeing streaming media locked down with DRM, but this is the first time it has been laid down on the table as absolutely necessary to any compromise that would deviate from the royalty agreement already approved by the Copyright Board.

The source also tells me that DRM is the only plausible "tool" at the disposal of webcasters to accomplish SoundExchange's goal of working to stop music "streamripping."

Since Slim Devices clients don't play DRM-encumbered music, this deal could not only cripple smaller webcasters (they'd have to incur the costs of wrapping streams in DRM), but could make even big players' content inaccessible to us. Bye, bye, Pandora on Squeezebox? Bye, bye, regular MP3 streams???


Paul Webster
2007-07-16, 15:29
Not including artist/track metadata with the stream might be sufficient to meet this demand.
There are free streamripping applications that include the ability to watch for your favourite artist across multiple stations and then record tracks that haven't already been snagged.
If the broadcaster doesn't provide a real-time playlist then it discourages that sort of ripping.
However, if the station has no DJ (or even a synthesised, voice tracked one) then this makes it annoying for the listener wants to know what was playing so that they can make a mental note to go out and find more by that artist and even buy a CD.

All seems somewhat futile and even self-defeating to me.