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Internet Radio In Danger of Extinction in United States

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the not-my-streaming-soundtracks-noooo dept.

Media 229

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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Oh noes!!1! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18412859)

Everybody panic.

ditch corporate music (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18412875)

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

Re:ditch corporate music (4, Insightful)

l0rd (52169) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Re:ditch corporate music (4, Insightful)

smkndrkn (3654) | more than 7 years ago | (#18413021)

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:ditch corporate music (2, Interesting)

l0rd (52169) | more than 7 years ago | (#18413141)

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 face reality and see that they are no longer needed in their current form and they grow less powerful everyday. Just as a meteor one day killed all the dinosaurs and made way for man, so will p2p smite the record companies and finally free the independant artist from their evil chains (please excuse the dramatism ;) )

Re:ditch corporate music (3, Insightful)

Tim C (15259) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Re:ditch corporate music (1)

l0rd (52169) | more than 7 years ago | (#18413357)

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 for let's say $10 / month. That means that normal people that usually buy a couple of cds a year now get a new one every month.

To bad the RIAA doesn't see it that way though.

Re:ditch corporate music (4, Insightful)

daeg (828071) | more than 7 years ago | (#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:ditch corporate music (2, Insightful)

Joelfabulous (1045392) | more than 7 years ago | (#18414123)

"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.

I'm not exactly old now (almost a sophomore in university), but I can still remember being puzzled a good eight years or so ago when people I knew would buy a CD costing ~$25 CAN for only a track or two. It's as if they didn't know that the recording industry uses singles for that purpose, most of the time... Not like that's a perfect solution, since I think a lot of music out there is crap, and yet... The public seems to like it anyways.

Then again, it has its purpose I suppose... It gives Weird Al some good material, and it gives me another reason to be annoyed with the general populace. Huzzah!

Careful With Your Blanket Statements (3, Insightful)

Petersko (564140) | more than 7 years ago | (#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."

Re:ditch corporate music (1)

ari wins (1016630) | more than 7 years ago | (#18413501)

Because of their arrogance the music industry wil now have 0 revenue where before it could get something.

Indeed, and that's when the record companies show congress all the red ink and demand that laws be put into place to protect the future of the "arts". Likely, the politicians will grudgingly agree, as they accept the overstuffed envelope and free subscription to whatever *IAA music service is "new" at the time (meaning years behind anything innovative).

It's a fine example of a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy.

Re:ditch corporate music (1)

l0rd (52169) | more than 7 years ago | (#18413865)

True. But people won't pay for a service that's inconvenient to use (& overpriced) when p2p makes things so easy these days. Why go to all the trouble to subscribe to a piece of shit service when you can download exactly the same (better, because it's not DRMed) quality for free?

Give the artists @ rpmchallenge some exposure (0)

DarrenR114 (6724) | more than 7 years ago | (#18413691)

The parent is right.

Dump the RIAA and its minions - in the the true American spirit, give these independants a shot: []

Re:ditch corporate music (1)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#18412977)

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 clueless mainstream music industry we're talking about.

Re:ditch corporate music (2, Interesting)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 7 years ago | (#18413445)

David Byrne [] 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:ditch corporate music (1)

sosofo (1018700) | more than 7 years ago | (#18414215)

With MTV and Clearchannel as part of the old boys network, it's hard to believe. Compare Frontlines `The way the music died and weep. Most of the hits are generated via large marketing campaigns and 50% is sold via Target, Walmart and Best-buy. The way the music industry works (and the RIAA is an integral part of that) is something different entirely than just providing a buying platform. Not that pressing CDs was that expensive. Basically it's about filtering all the music and presenting something the consumer wants. In Europe we've a nice debate about whether it ought to be allowed to mix journalistic content with advertisement. The way I understand it, this is completely commonplace in the US i.e. in recent movies. As long as you've commercial platforms that do your `content filtering you most certainly won't get rid of the money-can-buy syndrome.

Re:ditch corporate music (1)

Whyte Panther (868438) | more than 7 years ago | (#18414205)

Maybe it's just me, but asking for more money IS a way of recognizing that the internet is becoming a more viable media for music distribution.

Re:ditch corporate music (1, Informative)

evilviper (135110) | more than 7 years ago | (#18413253)

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.

Re:ditch corporate music (4, Informative)

falcon5768 (629591) | more than 7 years ago | (#18413425)

Not true, the RIAA is completely behind this. The fee that this new hike collects goes directly to the RIAA and not the performers which is what the fee's for terrestrial radio go to.

Re:ditch corporate music (1)

redsuit (1077959) | more than 7 years ago | (#18413415)

Agreed. What would happen if everyone stopped buying music for awhile? (To be PC... also stop stealing it.)

Classic Radio (5, Interesting)

jshriverWVU (810740) | more than 7 years ago | (#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 (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18413101)

At first glance one would think so wouldn't you. But such is not the case. The radio stations were given permission ( by paying the royalty ) to broadcast the music over the airwaves via radio, not stream the music over the internet. That is another method of distribution and the copyright holder maintains the right to determine how their content is distributed.

Re:Classic Radio (4, Informative)

Klaruz (734) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Re:Classic Radio (1)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 7 years ago | (#18413371)

>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.

Re:Classic Radio (1)

Klaruz (734) | more than 7 years ago | (#18413453)

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.

How to contact your congress critters. (1)

Jaywalk (94910) | more than 7 years ago | (#18414067)

If you're not sure who your congress critters are or how to contact them, go to [] 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 [] where you can urge your fellow citizens to get involved as well.

And What About No Advertising NPR? (1)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 7 years ago | (#18413159)

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 [] nearly 10 hours a day on average. I don't hear any advertisements. How does SoundExchange's logic apply to NPR when they aren't making any money off of advertising?

I donate $120 to The Current yearly, if we're talking a couple cents a song, I'm not extremely worried that they can't pay that but I still think that public radio should be able to avoid this. I've learned about so many good bands via that channel [] ! For the sake of all musicians I haven't heard yet, I hope internet NPR doesn't die because of this.

Re:And What About No Advertising NPR? (3, Informative)

Critical Facilities (850111) | more than 7 years ago | (#18413407)

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 well.

Re:And What About No Advertising NPR? (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 7 years ago | (#18413817)

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."

Re:And What About No Advertising NPR? (1)

superbus1929 (1069292) | more than 7 years ago | (#18413655)

They don't care about the smaller bands. They don't care about the smaller labels. This is all about the Big Four.

See, the RIAA knows that people will buy whatever is shuffled in front of them. Feed a hungry person a shit sandwich, and he'll eat it. Therefore, they know if they can create a virtual monopoly on the market, then they will have complete control over the entire music industry in this country. So what if the smaller bands fall? So what if the smaller independent labels fall? More weight to throw behind the corporate bands, to get those tickets moving, get those CDs moving (with increased copy protection, BTW; how many CDs can't even be played in the car?), get that merch moving... get that money coming in!

And it doesn't even matter who the musicians are. If you put a random band's mug - could be any band - on some posters, and give them glitzy enough production, they will sell, and sell well. It doesn't matter who it is; enough marketing will eventually make a profit. So the RIAA can afford to force people to play by their rules; those that play, they'll get paid attention to. Those that don't... well, you've seen it.

Slashdot users are the exception; we are educated enough to see through this shit. But we're a vast minority, and the fact of the matter is that Joe Q. Randomguy isn't going to bother with a fight of this magnitude; I mean, shit, the new Fall Out Boy is out! That obviously trumps the fact that he could be paying for a $20+ CD that he can't copy, can't play in certain players, and has to register? Obviously, those 10 or so songs are worth it~

Re:Classic Radio (1)

ACMENEWSLLC (940904) | more than 7 years ago | (#18413185)

They have to pay a fee for every track they play, each time they play it, based on the number of listeners. At least that is true for my friend who works at a radio station.

Re:Classic Radio (1)

ubrgeek (679399) | more than 7 years ago | (#18413825)

There are two types of fees: Those that are artist-based (i.e. the creative content of the song) and then there are performance fees. Broadcasting on the internet counts as a separate performance. That fact was one of the primary reasons my former company (which shall not be named here because they are litigious bastards) decided not to offer their content over the Net.

Denial, RIAA style (5, Funny)

speedlaw (878924) | more than 7 years ago | (#18412915)

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.

Re:Denial, RIAA style (1, Troll)

GMontag (42283) | more than 7 years ago | (#18412943)

Better not let Al Gore catch you reading that or he will Global Warm you!

Re:Denial, RIAA style (2, Funny)

GMontag (42283) | more than 7 years ago | (#18413019)

Or writing it either ;)

Re:Denial, RIAA style-sideline story (5, Interesting)

speedlaw (878924) | more than 7 years ago | (#18413211)

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.

Me too! (3, Insightful)

jwest (21646) | more than 7 years ago | (#18412931)

I'm also ready for higher payments!

That means I automatically get them, right?

Re:Me too! (1)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | more than 7 years ago | (#18414217)

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.

Well it had to happen sometime (0)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 7 years ago | (#18412933)

I just think this was bound to happen. You couldn't expect them to let people broadcast music for no fee forever. I don't see how it even lasted so long. If I was an FM broadcaster I'd be really mad that I was paying more to broadcast than people broadcasting the exact same music on the internet. I don't think that there's really much they should be complaining about. If they don't like what it costs to broadcast the music, then they should be broadcasting music that doesn't require royalties, or pay the same amount as all the other broadcasters. Just because it's easy to set up a server that has 100 different stations, doesn't mean that they shouldn't have to pay for those broadcasts.

Re:Well it had to happen sometime (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18412983)

You couldn't expect them to let people broadcast music for no fee forever.

Except internet broadcasters have been paying fees. The difference is that the new rules make the fees higher for internet radio stations than for terrestrial radio stations.

Re:Well it had to happen sometime (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 7 years ago | (#18413099)

Maybe they are higher for a reason. Maybe because the broadcast area for an FM channel is maybe 200 miles (I'm guessing, but I don't think it's more than that for most radio stations), and the broadcast range of internet radio is the entire world (or at least the entire US as far as the royalties go). Shouldn't they be paying more if they have a larger potential audience?

Potential audience size is meaningless (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18413167)

Shouldn't they be paying more if they have a larger potential audience?

No, else by your logic, any song played on shortwave radio would have to account for a potential audience of 6+ billion people.

Re:Well it had to happen sometime (2, Informative)

Klaruz (734) | more than 7 years ago | (#18413217)

The fees are based on audience already. They use marketing data to determine how many listeners listen to the FM station (advertisers care too, so if the station deflates figures they make less money from advertisers).

See my other comment, broadcast and internet radio pay the same ASCAP/BMI fees to the songwriters based on listener reach.

Internet radio ONLY (NOT terrestrial radio) has to pay a reproduction fee to the RIAA, because you sit at home all day recording songs off internet radio complete with cross-fades and announcer blurbs. They raised this 'reproduction' fee to very high levels and that's what will kill internet radio. What, you don't sit at home all day taping internet radio stations? Call congress and get this fixed.

Broadcast FM is much more like a monopoly (1)

Mathinker (909784) | more than 7 years ago | (#18413785)

In my opinion, you should look at your argument inverted. Since there are a very limited number of broadcast FM channels at any given terrestrial location, each station has very limited competition (especially since channels often specialize the music they play in order to get more branding identity). Therefore, a broadcast FM channel should pay more for the opportunity to reach a more captive audience.

Of course, logic and RIAA do not mix, so this actually has nothing to do with what's happening....

Re:Well it had to happen sometime (1)

david_g17 (976842) | more than 7 years ago | (#18413851)

Shouldn't they be paying more if they have a larger potential audience?

Should radio stations in large cities (pop > 1 million) pay a tremendous amount more than radio stations in small cities (pop < 100)?

Re:Well it had to happen sometime (4, Informative)

codegen (103601) | more than 7 years ago | (#18413041)

You couldn't expect them to let people broadcast music for no fee forever

If you had bothered to read the article, or the previous article two weeks ago when the decision was announced (I know, I know, this is slashdot), you would have found out that previously they paid royalties similar to that of airwave broadcasting based on tuning hours. The move to per song/per listener is a considerable change in the fee formula that will drive many smaller broadcasters out of business. Its interesting that if I own a bar with non-live music (juke box/radio) I pay per listening hour regardless of how many patrons are in the bar that particular night, but if it is the internet, I have to pay per ear.

Re:Well it had to happen sometime (2, Interesting)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 7 years ago | (#18413149)

Maybe this is because they figured they could actually charge per person listening, which is the most fair way to charge when you think of it. With traditional radio, it is impossible to tell how many people are listening at any one time. With internet radio, it's extremely easy to tell how many people are listening, as least in terms of number of computers tuned in. Maybe the internet radio will just have to start putting on commercials like the FM stations do. Sure it makes the radio suck more, but somebody has to pay for the music.

Re:Well it had to happen sometime (1)

Steve525 (236741) | more than 7 years ago | (#18413479)

I agree that charging per listener makes a lot of sense. But that's not the entire issue. The real issues is the rates are way higher than are reasonable.

If you look at the history of how the rates were computed, the CRB tried to find real royality agreements to base the rate on. (The CRB dictates compulsive rates: the labels must agree to these rates as a minimum. If there are no compulsive rates, then each radio station must independently get a contract with the labels). Before the CRB got involved, some internet companies were already working on agreements with the labels. Because the internet companies had so little leverage, (the labels had little to loose by just going home), these agreements sucked for the internet companies. The only agreement that the CRB felt was suitable was one with Yahoo. So, a single royalty rate, given to a internet company with no leverage (and at the height of the bubble) was decided by the CRB to be the rate that should be applied to everyone.

If I remember correctly, estimates were that more than 50% of the revenue (a few years ago when the CRB originally came up with rate) that a radio station could hope to get out of advertising would go to the royalty. Bandwidth would eat most of whatever's left, and the radio station would have a hard time being profitable. And these were optimistic estimates from the labels!

Re:Well it had to happen sometime (4, Informative)

tinkerghost (944862) | more than 7 years ago | (#18413053)

They were paying a fee. They actually could pay 1 of 2 fees, either a % of profit or a per-song fee. The dropping of the % profit fee structure is going to put most of the small e-radio stations out of business. The increase in the per-song fee is going to put most of the others out of business too.

Re:Well it had to happen sometime (1)

Steve525 (236741) | more than 7 years ago | (#18413063)

It's not that the internet radio sights didn't expect to have to pay. It's that what they have to pay is orders of magnitude more than what they have to pay to play the same music on traditional radio (to the same number of people). The royalty rate is way out of line. It will likely kill all internet radio, except pirate and large commercial companies who can heavily subsidize it. This is probably exactly what the record companies want, since it'll maintain the status quo over the most powerful marketing tool they have: radio.

Right now, record companies make a lot of money, because they are the gatekeepers to having a hit record. What do you need to have a hit record? At this point, it doesn't take much money to record a good record; you can do a lot in a home studio, (although good producers and engineers do cost a lot). It doesn't take much money to sell a record on the internet. However, what someone can't do without the record companies, is get a song on the radio. Without radio, relatively few people will hear your song, and you won't sell much. However, if the internet radio takes off, suddenly a lot of stuggling artists will have a lot more outlets for their music. Many might find they don't need the record companies anymore.

Not a good thing...for music....or musicians. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18413237)

Music publishers stand to make the most money.

This rule change is not about paying artists more money. It is about controlling concentrating profit channels. Internet radio allows independent and niche genre music a place to be heard and promoted. If these rule changes go into effect internet radio stations will see a ten fold increase in fees paid to rights organizations.

A few Music Publishers hold the vast amount of rights to music. They want nothing else than all the available bandwidth for broadcast to be dominated by titles in their catalogs. So they seek to raise fees across the board with one purpose. To shutdown alternative channels of music delivery. They want the control and the money. All of it. This is the only way they see to do that.

SOMA FM Internet radio including my personal favorite Indie Pop Rocks (found iTunes radio tuner) is threatened with huge increases and will likely be forced to close. That would simply be a tragedy.

Being a independent musician myself I know all too well the lengths that the industry has gone to crush people from making music on their own. They export money from venues and threaten litigation to club owners if they don't pay and return to a "cover band" formats. Or simply do away with live music. Some give up and leave the hassle of live music behind.
Once again taking away channel of exposure. Granted there always will be musicians willing to starve and scrape by, but you can only do that for so long...the old phrase "don't quit your day job" was at one point almost going away, but they are working hard to make sure they make the decisions about who listens to what when.

Re:Well it had to happen sometime (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18414253)

You couldn't expect them to let people broadcast music for no fee forever

They had fees. They were paying. The change retroactively increased the fees resulting in some internet radio streamers getting bills for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Thanks for playing the clueless troll game, though.

Watch out, other countries (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 7 years ago | (#18412963)

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? (3, Interesting)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 7 years ago | (#18412969)

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.

Re:Outsourcing? (2, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 7 years ago | (#18413003)

Hardly a guarantee of safety. The RIAA and WIPO have already shown their ability to flex muscle in even the most liberal countries [] .

Re:Outsourcing? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18413369)

Not really a fix - if the business itself is a US business entity, it doesn't matter where the servers are.

Now, offshore business entities ... another matter. Although they'd still probably be taken to task by their own jurisdictions.

Well... (1)

vhogemann (797994) | more than 7 years ago | (#18412971)

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...

Re:Well... (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 7 years ago | (#18413051)

Yes, because Russia and China are well-known for both their internet freedom [] and their unwillingness to kowtow to the RIAA [] and its ilk. Nowhere is safe.

Re:Well... (3, Funny)

djasbestos (1035410) | more than 7 years ago | (#18414019)


Should mimic broadcast radio (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18412985)

Internet radio should be handled the same way broadcast radio is. The record labels pay the radio stations to play what they want them to.

As the adage says, if you outlaw Internet Radio (4, Informative)

vivaoporto (1064484) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Re:As the adage says, if you outlaw Internet Radio (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18413081)

Thank god mine are slowly returning to indie labels...there are moments where it is good to be a fan of Ska and punk (and I am talking real punk).

Some useful links... (5, Informative)

rly2000 (779141) | more than 7 years ago | (#18412993)

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

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

Re:Some useful links... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18413251)

Sandcastles can only be built so high. Leave them be, I say. Let them do their worst. After the war, they will realise nothing is left, leaving the door open for change.

Re:Some useful links... (1)

thenet411 (993531) | more than 7 years ago | (#18413759)

What about the Internet broadcasters that make their entire living from Internet radio? What will they do until the war is over?

Re:Some useful links... (1)

tut21 (860295) | more than 7 years ago | (#18414145)

Here's an easy way to paste a letter into a form and e-mail Congress [] about it.

What's To Stop International Broadcasts? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18413013)

How is this going to affect streaming radio from other countries? What are they going to do to stop me from listening to a radio stream that doesn't pay any fees being broadcast from say...The Cayman Islands? How long till the U.S. Government starts actively blocking data entering the country much like China?

It will sort itself out... (1)

PhysicsPhil (880677) | more than 7 years ago | (#18413017)

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 end.

Re:It will sort itself out... (5, Insightful)

Steve525 (236741) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

What was that song again? (5, Funny)

Bastard of Subhumani (827601) | more than 7 years ago | (#18413023)

The Buggles 2.0 # Streaming video killed the internet radio star #

In other news... (1)

Cythrawl (941686) | more than 7 years ago | (#18413027)

Piracy of music goes up even further as people are no longer allowed to listen to Internet Radio for free... This kind of ruling is detramental. How long will it be before Radio stations run off shore like the Pirate radio of old...

Profit? (2, Interesting)

SCHecklerX (229973) | more than 7 years ago | (#18413059)

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.

Two scenarios (1)

rueger (210566) | more than 7 years ago | (#18413075)

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 really miss KFAI Minneapolis [] , a station that I listen to religiously.

Re:Two scenarios (1)

Gr8Apes (679165) | more than 7 years ago | (#18413221)

Scenario #3 is what they want. You do recall who owns 33% of XM, right? (ClearChannel)

Re:Two scenarios (1)

THESuperShawn (764971) | more than 7 years ago | (#18414207)

BUT...a good deal of XM/Sirius subscribers listen to satellite radio vie internet stream at work/home where they either don't have units (most still use the satellite radio in their car) or cannot get a signal.

I have had XM for a few years now and haven't listened to terrestrial radio since. While at work,if I am not listening to an MP3 player, I am streaming XM over the internet to my cell phone or laptop.

How is this fee going to impact listeners like me? XM Canada (not truly an XM Company) has recently raised their internet streaming fees by several fold due to licensing fees- will XM USA/Sirius be forced to do the same? If I am forced to pay for my streaming XM account (on top of my multi-unit XM subscription), I will seriously re-think my XM subscription.

In all honesty... (1, Flamebait)

physicsboy500 (645835) | more than 7 years ago | (#18413093) should have to pay something for radio in general whether it be in ads or a subscription fee... that I have no problem with. What I have a problem with is the RIAA taking a healthy share for themselves and leaving much less for the bands and the stations that actually provide the music. Why do you think it is that small towns don't have stations with big name songs and artists... It's simply a factor of RIAA fees. If the artists had a better spokesperson music would be how it was intended and reach everyone that wanted to hear.

I didn't log in right away... It's funny that my image verification word was detest

Internet Radio isn't going anywhere (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18413173)

They will just have to raise money to pay for the music they use. Wow, someone actually pay for something besides electronic gadgets, what a novel concept.

Less government (1)

genrader (563784) | more than 7 years ago | (#18413175)

If the government wasn't known for saving big business we wouldn't be having this problem. Laissez faire is needed, then these companies will either learn to compete or die, they will have no ability to use force for this gay crap.

Counterproductive (2, Insightful)

Experiment 626 (698257) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.


xtracto (837672) | more than 7 years ago | (#18413455)

Where is the MAFIAA tag? they are the ones at the back of this too.

WOXY discussion (1)

Luyseyal (3154) | more than 7 years ago | (#18413487)

There's been some discussion of this on my favorite Internet station, WOXY [] . 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.


fros#t 4ist (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18413599)

Can reaaly ask of BSD's codebase national gay niiger

Whew! (1)

spikesahead (111032) | more than 7 years ago | (#18413617)

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 Groove Salad and Monkey Radio, playing mostly independent and small label bands playing music in a specific (and non-mainstream) genre. Those bands have everything to lose by opting out of internet radio, so hopefully the majority (enough to make a station worth listening to) will waive the royalties for the very real return of me purchasing CDs from bands that will never see the radio dial.

Re:Whew! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18413809)

Really? What Groove Salad are you listening to? I assure you a large chunk of my music library comes from Groove Salad and most of those CDs were NOT indy. Groove Salad would go away under these rules.

Now the Indy Pop Rocks stream might be able to stick around...

But face it: under the great 2002 blackout CARP crap, SomaFM shut down it's streams. This is far worse, and they are already hurting for money even before this idiotic ruling.

Annoying, yes. A problem, no. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18413623)

Let's get real. What this will do is force Internet radio stations to begin chargin subscription fees and limiting the rate at which you switch between songs. Using the numbers supplied by RAIN where the average Internet radio station serves 16 songs per hour at a rate of $.0008 per song. One hour equals 1.28 cents. If you listen for 40 hours a week all month long that's $2.05 USD. If you were listing 24/7 for the whole month that would be $9.52 USD/month. So going back to a 40 hour week, if the station charged you a monthly subscription of $5 a month, most of that would be profit. They'd be able to completely do away with ad revenue, a huge benefit over normal radio, and offer a free 1 week trial to new users. It would be annoying all right, but most people can afford that.

Speaking as a musican (3, Insightful)

Critical Facilities (850111) | more than 7 years ago | (#18413643)

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.

Re:Speaking as a musican (1)

dbcad7 (771464) | more than 7 years ago | (#18414017)

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.

I'm surprised... (2, Insightful)

jas_public (1049030) | more than 7 years ago | (#18413647)

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.

It jsut makes the royalties system redundant (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 7 years ago | (#18413661)

All internet radio stations are free to negotiate their own deals with the record industry. Even better, they can ask for, and usually receive substantially better deals from the independents, who would be delighted to get some airplay for their artists.

The only thing that bugs me about this argument is that surely the record industry knows this. I can't imagine they're intending to actively encourage their competition.

Prog Rock vs Punk (1)

Sporkinum (655143) | more than 7 years ago | (#18413739)

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

Retroactive (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 7 years ago | (#18413755)

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 pretense of a reason...?

Golden Eggs (2, Funny)

boyfaceddog (788041) | more than 7 years ago | (#18413797)

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? (4, Informative)

Jaywalk (94910) | more than 7 years ago | (#18413827)

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?

This is what the US needs (5, Insightful)

zerofoo (262795) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.


Re:This is what the US needs (2, Interesting)

wandazulu (265281) | more than 7 years ago | (#18414119)

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? We've got every type of climate and terrain, somebody from every country in the world, and "all the brains to last my lifetime" (his words). He has no kids so he doesn't give a flying fig about the future more than the next release of GTA.

I get the impression there are a lot of these people about.

Petition to save internet radio (2, Informative)

Zanix (684798) | more than 7 years ago | (#18413989)

Here is a link to the petition to save internet radio. io/ [] Please go sign it. The more people the better.

Tipping Point? (1)

Temujin_12 (832986) | more than 7 years ago | (#18413991)

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 leaving the RIAA doggedly holding on to their antiquated business model.

Oh, and by the way RIAA, if you but lay a hand on NPR I will never buy one of your CD's again and will go around to everyone I know promoting artists that do not associate themselves with you. That's a promise.

Last.FM (1)

DorkRawk (719109) | more than 7 years ago | (#18414003)

Would this affect something like [] , where users have uploaded all the music that's streamed by their radio station?

Re:Last.FM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18414273) are London-based, so their royalty agreements will be with (AFAIK) MCPS-PRS []

Radio (1)

Skythe (921438) | more than 7 years ago | (#18414159)

They have the radio on computers now?
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