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Doom and Gloom for Web Radio

samzenpus posted more than 7 years ago | from the royalties-killed-the-web-radio-star dept.

Music 118

DailyTech posted interviews with the founder of Pandora and management from Proton Radio (and Proton Music) asking them what SoundExchange's latest rulings mean to them. A lot of net radio stations are dreading the upcoming changes in royalty rates, which are said to be around 400%... a number that would bankrupt most of the industry. An interesting read for anyone who uses online radio.

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What about Canada.. (1)

Adult film producer (866485) | more than 7 years ago | (#20440395)

what are the royalty rates like up there?

Man... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20440399)

If these royalty rates go through, I'll be the first to bail on internet radio in the post-quality era.

Meh... (2, Insightful)

FlyByPC (841016) | more than 7 years ago | (#20440455)

Do a lot of people actually listen to streaming audio from Web radio stations? I would think I'm more likely to hear what I want by listening to my own mp3 collection, than by relying on someone else's idea of the perfect mix.

I'm sure the DJs do a good job of coming up with a mix of songs that work out for most people -- but for any given individual, I would think the best mix would always be one they chose themselves.

I mean, what Web radio station is going to play Weird Al, Jimmy Buffett, Francis Cabrel, Jim Croce, John Denver, Deuter, Enya, ELO, Jean-Jacques Goldman, Buddy Holly, Brannan Lane, Willie Nelson, Peter Paul and Mary, Tom Paxton, Trevor Pinnock, Pachelbel, Pandora, Queen, Starship, Tchaikovsky, etc -- all without playing any of the many (very popular) artists whose works just don't happen to work for me?

Yeah, I have very weird musical taste -- I admit it. ...But don't we all?

Re:Meh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20440505)

Pandora would, that's the whole point.

Re:Meh... (1)

beckerist (985855) | more than 7 years ago | (#20440909)

No. Pandora picks a lot of songs from the same genre. I assume that it IS gathering all the data about your listening habits, I wouldn't be surprised if returning that data to the music labels is in the contract (hence the forcing you to register!) So far though it won't build a "favorite artists based on your picks" station (and I've been using it ~5 years.)
It does do a darn good job of finding other similar artists to what I already listen to. I've found the majority of my new music with this service, as it's STILL much closer than 95% of the DJs these days.

Re:Meh... (1)

superbrose (1030148) | more than 7 years ago | (#20441167)

Pandora does not play classical music, so musical tastes for Pachelbel and friends would not be satisfied.

Classical music set aside, it does do a very good job of running along your criteria regarding music, and introducing you to artists and albums that A - you like, and B - you probably would have never come across otherwise.

I have a feeling that Pandora does a lot more than just picking songs from a genre, unless it has more genres than I am familiar with, because I found that it can run quite narrow criteria.

I would find it a pity to see this service disappear, because I really like the idea of it.

Re:Meh... (1)

B_un1t (942155) | more than 7 years ago | (#20445263)

Pandora really breaks down what you actually like about a particular artist or song. If you read the descriptions of songs they play, they explain what tones or harmonies about the song that you find appealing. I think its part of the whole idea of Pandora and the "Music Genome".

Re:Meh... (1)

DevionNull (966041) | more than 7 years ago | (#20441921)

Pandora has a newish feature that will allow you to randomly play music from your assembled radio stations. So, if you have a Weird Al station, a NIN station, and a Crystal Method station you could randomize between those choices and get a pretty broad mix of stuff.

Re:Meh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20440507)

Nice homepage!

Re:Meh... (1)

FlyByPC (841016) | more than 7 years ago | (#20440535)

Most Webmasters seem to think so, for some strange reason. 8-)

Re:Meh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20440597)

Well Pandora does that very well... not many radio stations play celt punk and rock (with the exception of but Pandora has a great selection

SOMA FM (4, Insightful)

charnov (183495) | more than 7 years ago | (#20440707)

I have been listening to SOMA and Bartok radio for years. It's wonderful stuff and a lot better than whats on broadcast radio. It all flows together and they get new stuff inserted in there, too.

It's a lot better than listening to all my stuff I know by heart and just hitting 'shuffle'.

Re:Meh... (5, Insightful)

ContractualObligatio (850987) | more than 7 years ago | (#20440717)

In terms of choosing tracks you like, you have a strong argument.

However, if your approach to life is that predictable gets boring, or you like the idea of hearing things you've never heard before, then you can see how the "best mix" for some of us cannot be comprised only of artists we already know.

But there's also the question of what you're in the mood for. I like having the choice of radio vs. my own collection. If I'm in the mood for my own selection, I've got it. If I want to hear new stuff, there's the radio. And with both a wide selection of stations and services using predictive algorithms to select tracks I might like, I have a lot of control over the degree of randomness in the mix of music I get from the radio.

It's that mix of my music vs. radio that's the important thing for me - I confess it's a small part of my listening time is to internet radio. But a small percentage across millions of potential audience members is enough to justify the internet radio stations. Unless royalties are raised so high it puts them out of business.

The point of most markets (and commercial arrangements) is to find a price suitable to both parties. Pricing internet stations out of the game, when they could otherwise provide a useful service to a niche market, is an abuse of power. It's a bad thing.

Re:Meh... (1)

Shimmer (3036) | more than 7 years ago | (#20440741)

Yes. Some of us still like to be surprised, be exposed to new music, etc.

Re:Meh... (1)

TroopaCabra (787941) | more than 7 years ago | (#20445043)

I think so too! There is a lot of good indie music out there that won't be heard by most people who might like it. Exposure to new music IS important to a lot of us. --

Re:Meh... (1)

Harlan879 (878542) | more than 7 years ago | (#20440755)

Check out Radio Paradise, which plays eclectic mostly-pop/rock (but some jazz and blues and electronica and country and occasional classical). [] You'll likely hear a lot of stuff you already like, and hear some new stuff too. You'll never hear anything new listening to your own CDs.

Re:Meh... (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 7 years ago | (#20440849)

There must be an audience, or the industry wouldn't be cracking down on them to force them out of business ( except the industry sponsored ones of course ).

Sort of like spam, it wouldn't be there unless there was money to be made.

Re:Meh... (1)

Das Modell (969371) | more than 7 years ago | (#20440955)

I find a lot of new music by listening to Shoutcast, the same way I found new music when I listened to "normal" radio. Most channels play a certain genre or style of music, and not a random mix of everything as you seem to expect. SomaFM [] 's Drone Zone, for example, only plays ambient [] , so you won't be hearing any "popular" music there.

Re:Meh... (1)

LVSlushdat (854194) | more than 7 years ago | (#20441287)

I'm into NewAge music, such as Vangelis, Enya, David/Diane Arkenstone, etc. and I've NEVER heard a radio-frequency-based station that played these and other artists, thus I find that the [] NewAge channel to be right up my alley.. As for finding new artists in a given music genre, I couldn't say how many previously-unknown-to-me artists I've heard on that station that become instant favorites with me... For those not familiar with, they have "stations" for just about every music genre you can think of.. Their 24K shoutcast streams are free, and have premium accounts that are "CD Quality". Since I have the newage station on just about all the time when I'm working at the computer, I dread the thought of losing this excellent resource.. Oh well, nowadays, its all about greed and control...

Re:Meh... (1)

Reaperducer (871695) | more than 7 years ago | (#20446889)

I haven't tried SomaFM, but I do listen to Radio IO Ambient via iTunes. I liked it enough to actually send a few bucks their way.

Re:Meh... (3, Informative)

eli pabst (948845) | more than 7 years ago | (#20440999)

The problem with just playing your own mp3 list is that you're not exposed to anything new. I'm not a big fan of DJ'd web music for the very reasons you list. I prefer Pandora, which basically takes the Songs/Artists you like, deconstructs them according to their fundamental nature (like dynamic male vocalist, major key tonality, rhythm guitar, etc) and then using some complex math finds other types of music based on those properties. You then fine tune it using a like/dislike button. It actually works very well and I've found some new music that I really like. Plus I don't find myself fast-forwarding through songs like I do on Yahoo's music service.

Re:Meh... (2, Insightful)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 7 years ago | (#20441059)

Considering that it's at least slightly harder to collect MP3's of new Renaissance Festival
and Celtic music (It's doable, because it had to be to be able to listen to the stream in
the first place...) because the media moguls have determined that this style of music isn't
available through them- YES. The same can be said of many of the web radio stations.

This isn't about someone picking and choosing the "perfect" mix of MP3's as you put it. It's about
being able to listen to things that the radio stations and labels just won't touch because they're
not strip-mining that part of culture yet or at all. And that's what this whole rate hike is about.

It's not about getting the artists their fair share. It's about killing off a media form that the
current players don't control, and largely can't control. And I question WHY someone who is involved
with the labels setting the rate for "compulsory licensing"- isn't that kind of bass-ackwards? Shouldn't
an independent party be the one setting that rate?

Re:Meh... (4, Insightful)

Gerzel (240421) | more than 7 years ago | (#20441241)

The thing is where did you get that music and hear it in the first place?

A lot of these radiostations, offer more than just music, but also commentary and talk. I've heard a lot of artists for the first time on net radio. Some of the songs I've heard over the net are tapes and recordings where the only copy exists at the station itself or are from local artists who don't have big record deals.

Every artist listed in the above post is main stream.

How about Becket and Frenz, Kraftwerk, or atomisk? How about traditional German, African, or any other ethnic music that isn't run through the pop-radio filter?

What is being taken out here are the artists, music and sounds that DON'T often have a record label or that you probably haven't heard of. Good stuff, that deserves to be aired. Granted perhaps most of it doesn't fit the tastes of enough people for it to belong on a major channel, but that doesn't mean it isn't good enough to be played and shared over the radio, either through the spectrum or the wires.

This is an important issue, and if net radio goes down, even if you don't listen. Just wait till they get around to your corner of the net.

Re:Meh... (1)

nemui-chan (550759) | more than 7 years ago | (#20441293)

Actually, does a really good job of playing what I like without playing what I don't. Check it out. Although I use it mostly to discover new music I like thats similar to music I've heard already...

Ummm....LuxuriaMusic (1)

sracer (534850) | more than 7 years ago | (#20441757)

You might like to think that your have weird musical taste, but based on your list of artists, you are pretty "normal".

There are internet radio stations that play stuff that simply isn't available anywhere... or would take dozens of hours to track down and purchase. One such station is LuxuriaMusic. I'm sure there are other, but that is the one that I listen to.

Provide a way to easily purchase the songs in their playlists and THEN we can talk about how unnecessary web radio is.

Re:Ummm....LuxuriaMusic (1)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | more than 7 years ago | (#20442469)

One contradicts the geeky sense of terminal uniqueness at one's own risk.

Re:Meh... (3, Informative)

ByteGuerrilla (918383) | more than 7 years ago | (#20441823)

It's not just a jukebox playing a set of music. There's a DJ, who talks to the listeners, and builds a rapport with them, adding variety and features to the show. That's why drivetime radio in the morning and evening is so popular - people like the DJ as well as the music he's playing. There's also the prospect of being introduced to new music you've never heard before.

I DJ (or rather, I present a show, since I'm not spinning decks) on EVE-Radio, a web radio station for the MMO EVE-Online, and I can tell you that's what people like about the radio. It's amplified, in the case of EVE Radio, as the listeners can actually come into the EVE Radio chat channel and talk with the DJ and other listeners, so it's far more communal than you sat at home, or in the car, tuned into your favourite station. Radio as a whole, offers more variety than just sticking in a CD you burned, or playing from your MP3 library. That's what people like about it, and that's what other people don't like about it.

Re:Meh... (1)

vtcodger (957785) | more than 7 years ago | (#20442379)

***Do a lot of people actually listen to streaming audio from Web radio stations? I would think I'm more likely to hear what I want by listening to my own mp3 collection, than by relying on someone else's idea of the perfect mix.***

Probably not. Definitely not if Verizon is their ISP. I can rarely hold a stream for as much as hour without restarting using either WIndows or Linux. But it is important to those looking for programming that is not available locally. E.g. expatriates desiring programming from home.

But I don't think the Sound Exchange rates will be that much of a problem. One of two things will happen.

Either the rates will turn out not to be all that cataclysmic, stations will pay them, Internet Radio will survive and the executives at Sound Exchange will be buying yachts with their bonuses.


The rates really are cataclysmic. Operations like Public Radio will quit streaming affected music. The rest of the operations will simply pack up and move someplace offshore where rates are either more reasonable or nonexistent. Sound Exchange will then take legal action, lose, end up with no revenue from Internet Radio and Internet Music Radio in the US will be dead.

Seems kind of dumb. But frankly, I'm more worried about the US balance of trade, excessive use of hydrocarbons, lying politicians (Many Democrats and virtually all Republicans except Ron Paul), nuclear proliferation, the collapsing US healthcare system, etc, etc, etc to much care whether the the US Internet radio business is handed over to a bunch of foreigners. Congress could stop this nonsense in 24 hours if they so desired. They haven't chosen to.

Re:Meh... (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 7 years ago | (#20442387)

I never listen to all of my music at once. I'm not sure how other people listen to music, but I get into music "Moods." It's a bit jarring to come out of Tchaikovsky into Pantera. Web radio absolutely kicks ass for this. If I want to listen to Oldies, 80s, 70s, 70s AND 80s, etc. There is a radio station for each.

Second, my favorite 2 stations are and Techno4ever. I listen to techno when I code because it sets a good pace. I haven't found a place to listen to music like that other than web radio and clubs. It's just 1 'song' that is constantly playing. Both of those are in Germany so I hope that they aren't affected by this ruling.

Re:Meh... (1)

arashi no garou (699761) | more than 7 years ago | (#20442555)

Then you might like satellite radio, though it is a pay service. I have discovered more new stuff that I love (Shiny Toy Guns, Clear Static, Daughter Darling/Natalie Walker, Jesus H Christ and the Four Hornsmen of the Apocalypse, etc etc) via Sirius over the past few years than I ever did listening to either regular radio or net radio. That being said, it is a pay service and while it's not prohibitively expensive it isn't cheap either. The only real advantage it has over net radio -- until net radio goes away thanks to the new fees -- is the sheer variety of stuff to listen to. There's even top-40 on there for the brainless teenagers. Everything is in a themed channel too; if you want Jimmy Buffet and other island-folk-rock stuff, go to Margaritaville. If you want classic rock, well there's four different channels for four different styles of classic rock. It's very compartmentalized, which makes it easy to find the music to fit the mood you're in.

Re:Meh... (1)

Phoobarnvaz (1030274) | more than 7 years ago | (#20443083)

Do a lot of people actually listen to streaming audio from Web radio stations? I would think I'm more likely to hear what I want by listening to my own mp3 collection, than by relying on someone else's idea of the perfect mix.

I am one of those who listen more to streaming audio than to the XM service I subscribe to. The reason...I enjoy listening to non-US stations who will play music you will never hear on a domestic stream. Plus...since many of the stations I listen to are commercial stations with full spots being played...I get to hear variety I never heard or produced when I worked in commercial radio in the US.

Your next I listen to commercial radio in the US??? Only if I forget the XM headunit. I think commercial radio should have been put to death many years ago...since it's the same matter where you hear it from.

Re:Meh... (1)

f4hy (998452) | more than 7 years ago | (#20443277)

My parents have been devastated that all of their favorite radio stations have been closed down. They are not like /.ers and have respect for copyright law so their MP3 collection is limited to what they have on CD's and now starting to rip their old vinyl.

Internet radio has many advantages over a personal music collection. I can be used at home, in the office, or on travels as all that is needed is an internet connection rather than lugging around a hard drive everywhere you go.
Any type of radio, especially Pandora as mentioned in TFA, is ideal for discovering new music that you are interested in. Having a huge library of MP3's is static and will always play the same songs.
I feel it is very sad that this amazing opportunity is lost do to drastic changes to royalties

Re:Meh... (2, Interesting)

meatspray (59961) | more than 7 years ago | (#20444131)

I'm a systems engineer for a mid sized company. Yes, many people listen to streaming radio.

Though a lot of people these days have easy access to mp3's, many people don't feel that bringing their pirated music to work is a good idea.

Add that to the people who have mp3's but can't justify getting an mp3 player of a adequate size, add in the group that can afford it, justify it, but are simply too lazy to get one and those that are afraid of leaving their players around their desk and you have a booming number of desk workers that dearly love their streaming radio.

With streaming radio, they can pick a station that's non explicit and not have to worry about NIN:Closer blaring out of their speakers while they're headed off to the bathroom.

The price of bandwidth in a big city is ever decreasing so our management has decided that it's better to up the pipe than to cut off the users access.

Personally, I think streaming radio is the devil, it's a constant drain on your internet connection that can grow quickly out of control when you throw a few hundred users at it. People feel strongly about it so when you try to tell a user at a 768K site that they need to have people shut down some streams so they can work, they think you're just being an ass. My personal feelings aside, Something needs to be done to keep streaming radio as healthy as possible. Our legal system has us walking a very narrow path. Stray much from that path and it's a long long way back up to get back to where you were.


Re:Meh... (1)

leon.gandalf (752828) | more than 7 years ago | (#20444539)

Well' Uhm Pandora will after you rate a few songs.

Re:Meh... (1)

malbosher (795323) | more than 7 years ago | (#20448401)

Your missing the point. too tired to explain it to you. all I can say is sometimes ya think about someone other than yourself.

Web Radio and new music (4, Insightful)

ClaraBow (212734) | more than 7 years ago | (#20440477)

Web Radio has been a great vehicle for me to discover new music. I have bought a lot more music lately because of discovering new artists which I heard through Web Radio. I Don't know why the industry is hell-bent on destroying a good thing for both the music industry and the consumer. I just don't get it! I'm mad and frustrated...

Re:Web Radio and new music (1)

TheLoneDanger (611268) | more than 7 years ago | (#20440785)

Because they don't own and fully control the web radio stations?

Re:Web Radio and new music (2, Informative)

Sentax (1125511) | more than 7 years ago | (#20441563)

I agree, I've found so much new music on web radio that didn't hit the FM waves for at least another 2-3 months, it was like I was looking into the future. I've DJ'd for 10 years plus and the source for being on top of those new songs was web radio. Call it a keen knack for knowing what songs will work but it seems that I could predict a popular song way before it was popular, then I had it ready to play for people when they ask, all because of Internet Radio... I'm also mad and frustrated.

If the average Joe Internet Radio goes away they we will be flooded with more corporate stations that only play what is hot at the time and insert stupid little adverts in between every two songs and do their station call at the beginning and end of each song. Why?!?!

Hey, just thought of something. Are the Internet Radio station royalties only for American stations? So say your favorite Russian site will soon be the place for that Internet Radio you once heard. It is inevitable.

Re:Web Radio and new music (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20442813)

It's really a simple matter of what the record industry really wants
Quality service for listeners and a chance for artists to grow in popularity based on thier talent, vs. Boatloads of money
It's just sad that the matter is so clear.
I have no doubt that my personal listening to internet radio has gained the record industry money with all the albums that I would have never normally bought. But the record industry knows that they have more money to gain in absolute control (of the radio, artists, and the consumer)

Re:Web Radio and new music (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20444069)

same here. been doing that for years. No need to buy the crud you hear in between commercials on regular radio, even if you are a closet Christina Agulara fan you can find tracks online in a matter of minutes. I hear all kinds of stuff on internet radio that entice me into purchasing albums that would be nearly impossible to locate on the interweb.

Re:Web Radio and new music (1)

hazydave (96747) | more than 7 years ago | (#20449053)

And you're precisely why Web Radio is such a threat! You must be stopped at all cost!

For decades, the major labels and, quite often, major radio stations have worked, increasingly in collusion, to limit your exposure to music. In particular, they're concerned about independent label music, unsigned bands, etc... anyone they don't own to whom you might be targeting your cashish, which should "rightfully" be theirs. This is precisely why Big Radio has done everything in their power to shut down the local low-power FM initiatives. This is why they, via strong armers like the RIAA and SoundScan, have gone after net radio, not just now, but several times in the past.

Ok, until recently, small internet radio outlets paid a 12% flat fee on royalties... larger companies paid what amounts to a per song-per user fee, independent of profits. The push here is to apply this across the board, making non-profits essentially impossible, and very likely shutting down any small for-profit companies.

And this isn't even remotely an effort to get net radio services to pay their fair share... it's greed, plain and simple, from the record labels... either make big bucks on interent radio, or they shut it down... either way, they think they have win here. Even some of the big radio stations have a problem with the forthcoming changes... that's because this plan also calls for this per listener/per song fee to increase from $0.0008 to $0.0019 by 2010, AND anyone affected by the increases will have to pay 18 months retroactive increase!

These are very specific to net radio, too. Satellite radio, for example, currently pays only about 7.5% of revenue in royalties. Commercial OTA broadcasters had been paying only 1.6% of revenue, and more recently have to a fixed-fee deal with ASCAP (they're one of the three major companies to whom the royalty cash is directly paid... in theory, they represent the artists, but keep in mind most recording artists will only see single-digit percentages of these royalties collected, assuming their record label isn't ripping them off), 2001-2009, covering both OTA and THEIR internet broadcasts. It's a total of $1.725 billion in royalties, but spread across the 12,000 Radio Music License Committee members and nine years, means an average of just under $16,000 a year for each station, or $43 per day (pretty much all major OTA radio stations belong to the RMLC).

If you ran an internet radio station playing 15 songs an hour, with an average listenership of 150 people, you'd be paying more... and that OTA station could not only be playing to thousands or millions over the air, they could be playing that same stuff via internet radio, to 100x more people than you, the little guy.

offshore it! (1)

mwilliamson (672411) | more than 7 years ago | (#20440479)

I'd like to see Webcasters move to jurisdictions that sound exchange cannot touch and end this BS once and for all. Russia comes to mind.

Re:offshore it! (1)

Mathinker (909784) | more than 7 years ago | (#20440649) claims:

> Before this ruling was handed down, the vast majority of webcasters were barely making ends meet as Internet radio
> advertising revenue is just beginning to develop.

so moving all or part of their business off-shore doesn't sound realistic. (caveat: is a partisan group looking out for the webcasters, so they wouldn't of course tell us if the webcasters were making money hand over fist, so you'll have to apply your own reality filter to this.)

Americans will probably just end up listening to RIAA-run internet radio, or foreign stations, at least until the latter are legislated away....

Re:offshore it! (1)

supremebob (574732) | more than 7 years ago | (#20441505)

That will work for a few months, until the RIAA uses the WTO to come after them as well. Look at what happened to Allofmp3, for example.

Re:offshore it! (1)

jmauro (32523) | more than 7 years ago | (#20443343)

AllOfMp3 is in operation again based on the fact according to Russian Law they did nothing wrong or voliate copyright. Don't you read Slashdot []

Everyone sing with me: (5, Funny)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 7 years ago | (#20440527)

Royalties kill the internet radio star....

begs the question (5, Funny)

bit trollent (824666) | more than 7 years ago | (#20440545)

What do nerd libertarians that listen to internet radio think about this?

Re:begs the question (1)

SilentOneNCW (943611) | more than 7 years ago | (#20441169) [] Come on guys.

Re:begs the question (1)

Adambomb (118938) | more than 7 years ago | (#20443659)

Come on guy, he obviously only used the line given the guaranteed reaction.

Only a matter of time (2, Funny)

Warbothong (905464) | more than 7 years ago | (#20440549)

Doom has been ported to everything in existence, so it was only a matter of time before it became playable on Web Radio. It will be interesting to see Gloom running though, since I don't have much reason to bring one of my Amiga 1200s down from the attic these days to play it.

Re:Only a matter of time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20440745)

lol. mod parent up!

Re:Only a matter of time (1)

doti (966971) | more than 7 years ago | (#20442923)

If I had mod points, I would vote him down for stealing my joke!

Re:Only a matter of time (2, Insightful)

MrCopilot (871878) | more than 7 years ago | (#20443121)

Doom has been ported to everything in existence, so it was only a matter of time before it became playable on Web Radio.

I know you are joking but, I open Amarok and click Radio, Shoutcast, Game and 40 stations pop up many of which include Doom1,2,3 Level music, in regular rotation.

Not to mention the plethora of sites like p []

Sometimes its comforting.

It's the big media conglomerates, silly.... (1)

jddeluxe (965655) | more than 7 years ago | (#20440617)

Isn't the assault on internet radio really being perpetrated by the media overlords like Infinity and Clear Channel who own US politicians and see any encroachment into their space as competition?

Re:It's the big media conglomerates, silly.... (3, Insightful)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 7 years ago | (#20441295)

Actually, it's the RIAA labels doing it. SoundExchange charges royalties on behalf of RIAA members and others- it is
the creation of RIAA, in reality. Now, think about it... They largely have control over the media markets through
the means and connections they already have with Radio- but don't have any positive control over anything in the
case of web radio. Very probably never will because the bar to entry is very shallow. Sure it kind of scares the
ClearChannel's of the world, but in the end, it's just another format for them to step into. In the end, they can
compete decently well in that space- but there's still no way to control you or I stepping up to the plate and putting
out stuff that's got NOTHING to do with the labels. Classical. Renaissance. Celtic. And, so forth.

RIAA's members and RIAA themselves do not like that thought at all.

They exist right at the moment to strip mine what we call culture right at the moment. In order for them to maximize
profits (and make the Daytraders happy...) they need to have nearly absolute control on what comes out as usable
music, etc. so that they can extract every dollar they can out of us. Well, so long as people don't realize they're
getting short-changed by these jokers.

Web Radio was helping people find music that the big media conglomerates (You had it right- just the wrong conglomerates)
like Sony BMG, Warner, etc. just have no interest in backing and producing content for- EVER. They don't want that.
Which is why we're here now, discussing this.

The players involved with the compulsory licensing should not be involved in setting the pricing, etc.

Someone that doesn't ever touch content covered by the licensing should not have to pay for it- if they've
got deals with all the performers that are being given "airtime" online, they shouldn't have to pay and if
they break the rules, then they should pay a dear price for that act of infringement.

But, that's not what is going on, now is it?

deezer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20446973)

There was a story a little while back about the french version of riaa agreeing to allow music on deezer. I hope this is not a stupid question but how will be effected by this. Are the rate increases an attempt to gain market share? This is my first post ever though I have been reading for a year and a half. If I am being an idiot I am sorry.

Jimendo (1)

nbucking (872813) | more than 7 years ago | (#20440655)

I'll stick with for my online music, thank you very much.

Pandora (1)

damburger (981828) | more than 7 years ago | (#20440669)

I really hope Pandora isn't affected by this.

Its the only internet radio station I listen to, because it offers up music I haven't heard before but is based on my previous preferences. I'm worried my taste will stagnate without it. (2, Informative)

Virgil Tibbs (999791) | more than 7 years ago | (#20443447)

pandora IS affected why are you listening to it anyway? is much more efficient and has a much wider range than pandora. like you i first found pandora but now i only listen to you can be more selective and in general it is better at guessing. (1)

Reaperducer (871695) | more than 7 years ago | (#20446581) IS affected why are you listening to it anyway? is much more efficient and has a much wider range than like you i first found but now i only listen to because it lets me criticize other people for their musical tastes and i can pretend that i'm better than other people even though i never learned what the shift key is for on my keyboard. (1)

Mike89 (1006497) | more than 7 years ago | (#20447737)

I also use, but I still think Pandora is much better. Sure, will introduce me to similiar bands, but sometimes I find specific tracks from a band that aren't really like the rest of their music. Then, I enter that specific track, and get to hear more like it. hasn't 'recommended' me anything I like, but my neighbours have (infact I ended up meeting one of my neighbours and now we've been dating for 5 months :P. Thank you!)

Re:Pandora (1)

loki1978 (532644) | more than 7 years ago | (#20449287)

It IS already affected by this. Being from Germany i already suffer directly from a block of
all non-US ip-adresses

ho8o (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20440865)

that *BSD 0wned.2 the BSD license,

Common new-business problem (2, Interesting)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 7 years ago | (#20441191)

There is certainly a market for "Internet radio" in some form. It just isn't a market that pays anything meaningful yet.

This leaves the content owners in somewhat of a quandry. They can allow "Internet radio" (whatever that means) to skate by without paying anything and try to convince the rest of their market that the music is worth paying for, or they can pretty much say "everybody pays!" Obviously, "everybody pays!" is more lucrative but it also doesn't start the worrying notion that the music is worthless. There are enough sources for that idea today as it is.

By forcing everyone to pay they may indeed be shutting the door on a possible future paying market. But they may also be preserving the current source of their revenue. I don't think the music industry is ready to go to an ad-supported business model, and I don't think you want to hear ads for Pepsi at the end (or in the middle!) of every song.

Re:Common new-business problem (1)

DigitalSorceress (156609) | more than 7 years ago | (#20441799)

may indeed be shutting the door on a possible future paying market. But they may also be preserving the current source of their revenue

I think this is actually the crux of the whole problem. The Music industry's very business model is based on a high barrier to entry. Namely, it used to be nearly impossible for an artist to record, mix, produce, duplicate, market, and sell their music without this huge infrastructure behind them. With really high quality digital recording, mixing, and editing hardware and software available, and with the ability to directly market and sell via the Internet (even producing really professional quality CDs with cover art and labels on demand a-la the former, the current Cafe Press, etc...), the music industry is running scared.

So long as the music industry can buy lobbiests and lawyers aplenty (thus buying the courts and politicians, or at least their ears), they're going to do everything in their power to stifle disruptive technologies. Frankly, I think they're going a pretty good job at it too (good as in effective, not as in 'the right thing').

Probably the only way to stop them is to stop buying AND stop downloading music produced by artists and labels working within the established recording industry, and it seems a bit unlikely that the majority of music fans will be willing to go that far... ~sigh~ quandry indeed.

Re:Common new-business problem (1)

Televiper2000 (1145415) | more than 7 years ago | (#20445637)

I agree, it's mainly the consumer that's been bought by the major labels. Everybody agrees that the major labels have a broken system, yet they still look to the major labels for their music. They still accept that there is some direct correlation between popularity and quality. They'll just narrow it down to popularity amongst peers.

Re:Common new-business problem (1)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | more than 7 years ago | (#20442831)

There is certainly a market for "Internet radio" in some form. It just isn't a market that pays anything meaningful yet.

Indeed, and you could argue that this is a circular arrangement. Not many people pay for net radio, because nobody has to.

If these new rates come in, it'll bankrupt some net radio stations, and others will go the way Digitally Imported have done with a Premium channel that you have to pay for. To be honest, I love net radio so much I'm willing to spend a significant amount of cash on it. Right now I pay for DI and I sent a regular small donation to another station, but really, I'd be willing to pay more to keep it (as long as there are no ads!).

These changes will cause a shakeup in the net radio industry. It'll shrink. But, it won't die. And arguably, having much reduced rates for net radio because it was new (the current arrangement) was always going to be a temporary thing ...

Re:Common new-business problem (1)

Reaperducer (871695) | more than 7 years ago | (#20446663)

It just isn't a market that pays anything meaningful yet.
IMO, that's mostly because internet radio hasn't given us anything really meaningful yet.

Once you get past the unreliable connections, ever-changing URLs, and random player options... internet radio still hasn't figured out how to be radio yet.

Playing obscure music back-to-back on a loop isn't radio, no matter how obscure a person's taste is. That's called a jukebox. Or an iPod.

Real radio has personality. It informs. It entertains. It communicates. Of the hundreds of internet radio stations I've tried, none achieve that simple premise: communication. They're just pumping out bits and hoping to make some money.

Unfortunately, regular radio has also lost its way and most stations have become little more than juke boxes with voice-tracks. There are notable exceptions, but they are rare. The problem is that internet radio is more of what's WRONG with radio, and little of what radio does right.

I've Stopped LIstening To Internet Radio Anyway (2, Interesting)

hedkandee (1148031) | more than 7 years ago | (#20441297)

The only internet radio I listen to these days is BBC radio [] , you can't beat it for quality programming and no ad's, that's unlikely to get affected by any internet radio royalty ruling because (a) it's main listener base uses old fashioned radio wave technology and (b) it's in the UK where licensing clearly controlled by some more enlightened individuals. There is another place to go if you want more control over your listening - [] is kinda like youtube for music - people upload music and then you can listen to music. Imeem does some mojo to figure out who the artists are and pays them a cut of the ad revenue, but if the artist has said no then all you can hear is a 30 second clip of the tune. The most astonishing thing is that somehow they've managed to convince one of the major labels - Warners - to sign on, this means that artists like Metallica and Madonna who used to sue site like napster are now supporting 'free' sharing of music. Sure there are a lot of artists still blocking their music, but there's so much in the way of fully licensed music that it's hard to run out of things to listen to. In a way it's like napster was, but with instant gratification and with the warm fuzzy feeling that the artists are getting compensated every time you listen. Forget most internet radio, much of it remains at the same production values as a winamp playlist in shuffle mode, I left that behind as soon as imeem turned up.

Re:I've Stopped LIstening To Internet Radio Anyway (1)

Virgil Tibbs (999791) | more than 7 years ago | (#20443485)

i do laugh when people called the bbc enlightened! and then i shit myself thinking what the rest of the world has to put up with..... anyway UK radio broadcasters web or not already get much higher rates than US ones... its tough being a UK broadcaster.... i take it you have not heard of - you should check it out - thats london based and its owners REALLy have their heads screwed on. - THEY are enlightened!

Re:I've Stopped LIstening To Internet Radio Anyway (1)

hedkandee (1148031) | more than 7 years ago | (#20445309)

Sure I've tried, but I prefer imeem since it has a more extensive music selection. In my mind the listenability goes something along the lines of & > bbc radio > NPR > internet radio > US commercial radio > Soviet Propaganda radio > American Idol

Re:I've Stopped LIstening To Internet Radio Anyway (1)

Virgil Tibbs (999791) | more than 7 years ago | (#20446175)

in the uk we dont have non profit radio or community stations, the best you get towards those are pirate radios in urban areas or internet stations
my listenability ratings:
music collection > > specialist genre internet radio > pandora, imeem, deezer, jamendo, opsound > podcasts > shortwave foreign radio > virgin radio [uk commercial] > bbc > uk commercial radio > pop idol, xfactor, any reality tv music contest > music tv channels > any music played from someones mobile (cell) phone

i know i have added in various different mediums that you didnt, but i'm sure you get the idea.
personnaly i don't find bbc radio that amazing, not because of the no-adverts bit - thats good - just the content a bit lame. radio 2 is my favorite but flatterns that in seconds.

radio 1 just plays the same as us commercial radio except with out the adverts,
radio 2 plays classic/older rock for older/people with brains
radio 3 mainly plays classical, if you are lucky you might get some folk
radio 4 is talk only, this is loved my most ex-pats, foreigners, probably you because really, nothing else exists like this.

radio 5 live is sports based and has general easy going chats and debates. often covers football (soccer) games with live commentary, has decent travel information

internet only;
radio 6 music plays the more modern alternative stuff that radio 1 doesnt, the uk guitar pop stuff that the usa generally doesnt go for.
radio 1xtra - more radio 1 like stuff but more of it
bbc asian network - you guessed it asian music... i havent listened much so i dont know

also the bbc runs local radio stations all around the uk on fm frequencys... these almost always feature old men doing phone in shows about what in the newspaper wit the occasional 80's b side record being played. these are good for travel information.

the bbc also runs bbc world service on sohrtwave and various other transmission methods... similar to bbc radio four but aimed at a world audience....
radio 1xtra is a

Note to self... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20441343)

If and when pandora and finetune are shut down due to ridiculous royalty schemes.


I've really had it. I've found that its far easier to listen to internet radio then it is to download all those songs and build my own playlists. All the music I do buy I get from iTunes, but shit, if the greedy bastards at the RIAA succeed in their misguided goal of killing internet radio, I'll just steal the all the music. I mean if they cannot deal reasonably with the internet radio listening public, then screw 'em.

When you take away reasonable means of legally listening to music (in an effort to prevent privacy no less!!) you are just going to drive more and more people to illegally download music.

revolution is not for sissies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20441347)

When you try to upend an industry, as Web radio seems
to be trying , the incumbents will fight tooth and nail
to prevent it.

The incumbents' hegemony is based on geographic and radio
frequency monopoly and the calculus of mass markets. Web
radio threatens to bypass all of that. Content distribution
monopolies (RIAA, MPAA, etc) help the industry, too.

Upstarts might be lucky enough to have traditional competitors
follow the rules (although that, of course, doesn't always happen),
but giant incumbents can always get the rules changed.

I think this round goes to the industry, but the fight is not

Sad time... (1)

Sentax (1125511) | more than 7 years ago | (#20441463)

It's a very sad time for internet radio right now. It's always a shame how rules, regulations, and laws can ruin such a convenient piece of technology.

I kinda hope internet radio dies (1)

gelfling (6534) | more than 7 years ago | (#20441511)

Because I think the time has come to call the RIAA's bluff and simply refuse to kowtow to their extortion. Maybe Jay-Z will have to sell one of his solid gold Bentleys to pay for the crack rehab for his pit bulls.

Re:I kinda hope internet radio dies (1)

billsf (34378) | more than 7 years ago | (#20445631)

Yes, if you are talking about "legal stations". They sound like shit at any rate even 320kbit/s which should, in theory be better sounding than CDs. (Think before you flame -- Try it first on Unix :) I don't care about the 'commercial outfits' or those that pretend to conform to the (impossible) rules.

You can't stop 'pirate Internet radio', particularly when its legal. (How can it be stopped?) I want more "pirate stations" on the Internet. Use of any "quality-reducing" technology (read: 'loud-sounding' stations) are quickly tuned away from. "Pirate" Internet radio solves both problems.

Everyone knows its a flush out by those with ..... (1)

3seas (184403) | more than 7 years ago | (#20441637)

....lots of money and kick back ties to the music industry....

The Kickbacks in the music industry have been uncovered before and laws passed to make such illegal.
So its now going on at a higher level of abstraction and harder to prove. Fewer involved at the proof point.

With todays technology there is no reason for middle men to exist to plunder the process of paying the artist.

What is lacking is the exchange system to make it all work without plundering.

Seems to me that the labels should be a service the artist go to and pay for, rather than the other way around in a contract distorted manner. And with this it means all proceeds of sales goes to the artists. This way the artist are in control and the labels become competitive in service they provide to the artists.

All artist start small and work their way up and on the way might find investors outside of the label service which should be prohibited from doing so. Where the label service may then be more motivated to protect the artists from abusive investors..

The point is that there is apparently a serious lack of checks and balances, that such lack of allows for abuses and kickbacks that bias what choice of music the rest of us get to hear and know about.

Things change!

Record Club of America changed the way record clubs worked.

The internet technology has changed the way Real estate is done (in the process uncovered abuse techniques and resistance to improvement).

Isn't it time to change the way the music industry works so to genuinely reflect what the consumers are interested in?

Net radio is free advertising! (3, Insightful)

ZorinLynx (31751) | more than 7 years ago | (#20441651)

I have purchased dozens of songs from iTunes because.... ...I heard them on net radio.

WHY THE FUCK is the industry trying to kill something that is MAKING THEM MONEY!? I don't understand these morons! Internet radio is like FREE ADVERTISING. It has introduced me to songs I've NEVER HEARD BEFORE, and ended up enjoying enough to purchase legally!

Are these people morons? I know the answer is obviously yes, but damn! Why are such idiots in control of such valuable intellectual property? Radio play can MAKE or BREAK a song.

And the funniest part? A lot of songs that net radio introduces to people may be older, more obscure back catalog stuff. Stuff that costs the record companies $0 to produce, because it's ALREADY PRODUCED. It's like FREE MONEY.

*grumble* I'm just exasperated at how STUPID record company execs are sometimes. They can make their millions without being total ASSHOLES, but they chose to be assholes anyway.

Re:Net radio is free advertising! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20444217)

It is not now, nor ever been about money. When Napster said that they would charge a small fee to use their service, and give all the money to the industry for the first few years (which amounted to *billions*), the industry turned them down. It's about control. If they don't have control over distribution, then they are no longer needed.

Re:Net radio is free advertising! (2, Informative)

rantingkitten (938138) | more than 7 years ago | (#20444975)

You got all that right. I run a darkwave and futurepop radio [] station myself and play stuff that most people have never heard of before outside the hazy drunkenness of a goth club somewhere. There are a few groups I have in rotation that have acheived some commercial success, but most of them, despite being signed to labels, are almost totally unknown beyond a pretty tight-knit circle.

I have personally had people email me and tell me they loved such and such song, this or that group, and ended up buying some songs off iTunes or CDs or whatever. I know one guy who attended the VNV Nation concert here in Atlanta, after hearing them on my station. Had he never tuned in he'd never have known who VNV Nation was, but he did, and paid for a ticket. What's that mean for VNV Nation? At least the sale of a ticket, plus whatever swag he may have picked up while he was at the show (shirts, albums, buttons, who knows).

This sort of thing happens all the time. Artists seek out net radio broadcasters and send them free tracks, promo kits, and other stuff to get exposure. I'm not even that big a player as internet radio goes, and I've gotten a bunch of CDs in the mail, mp3s, release kits, promotional tracks, and other goodies. More important broadcasters than I am, they get way more stuff.

And why would the artists do this? Because they want exposure, which is something that's actually pretty hard to buy. You can advertise but people learn to tune out and ignore advertisements pretty quickly, in any medium or format. Or you can just spread the word and let your work speak for itself, which is what the musicians are doing.

The RIAA really is killing off a fantastic source of free advertising, and I can't understand what their problem is. It's not as though anyone refrained from buying music because they can just listen to it on the radio. Hell, most of the music I own, I got because I heard it on the radio and just had to have it.

And it was usually internet radio that brought me to it.

You're right... (1)

msimm (580077) | more than 7 years ago | (#20445901)

You don't understand them. The abundance of music available on the internet and the growing social and commercial awareness of this is actually hurting the big players in the market. For years now they've managed to maintain a monopoly on what you listen to. From the payola scandals to the market consolidation, to the ever present billboard and it's impact on radio scheduling.

They've had a nice clean business model that's worked for them for some time. They invests thousands and thousands of dollars promoting a small number of billboard approved artists. Promoting them then reaping the profits.

As the market pool increases the value of their product decreases. It's competition, something they haven't really had to deal with in a long time. I listen to a wide variety of music I make purchases from retailers and labels from all over the world. In this scenario the only people who win are the artists (ew?) and the small dispersed labels. The markets moves too organically to control. I realize a lot of people don't spend nearly as much time digging up music but what used to be considered indie is swiftly moving into the mainstream. The recent sales slumps and the admittance that quality might be an issue is only relevant because right now they are having a very hard time telling you, the consumer, what quality is. You're discovering artists accidentally, via friends and god forbid, if you do listen to internet radio theirs a world of music that the RIAA doesn't even see. Couldn't possibly.

So their's no free money. I mean it's going somewhere but without the fine grained control they've had it's not going exactly where they'd like it to. And this trend will only continue.

Their not stupid, their confused. Their circling the wagons.

And, FTR, it's still us who gives them their power. We can get angry but until we actually choose to do something about it we've got about as much right to complain as someone who doesn't vote. So keep tuning in. Let them clamp down. I hope eventually they bite off more then they can chew. Their an impediment to innovation.

hmmm (1)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | more than 7 years ago | (#20441805)

It sounds as if the record industry is upping the rates for people they know they can get it out of. I would draw a parallel between this and colleges upping tuition to current students.

Last night I read an interesting article [] in the New York Times that centered around Producing Guru Rick Reuben: for whom I have tremendous respect. In amongst the 10 pages typed is what he deems to be an effective model to bring the recording industry back: charge everyone a subscription fee.

I'm not too fond of a model where the user only owns a subscription and the record companies have 100% control over the content. But Reuben is right, if only in principal. The only way the recording industry can sustain itself over the long term is to change its way of doing business.

Re:hmmm (1)

brady8 (956551) | more than 7 years ago | (#20441927)

If you want to compare it to University tuition, it's more like a University raising tuition by 400% or so in one shot, and then realizing when it's too late that they have to shut down for good since every single one of their students left. If they were smart, they would gradually increase royalty percentages until they started getting close to maximizing their revenue (more money from the big radio players, and only losing a few small time guys to the increases). One big jump as big as this seems to be is just going to lose them money when everyone drops out of the business.

Re:hmmm (1)

jmauro (32523) | more than 7 years ago | (#20443419)

You're assuming that they want to keep them around in the first place. It could be a ploy to force all competition out the market then to come in with RIAA controlled stations so they can keep more of the profits in house.

Re:hmmm (1)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | more than 7 years ago | (#20443535)

What they're doing isn't strategic. It's reactionary. Even a business student would tell you that is good for the short-term, but it's more like a bandaid. It's not good for the long-term survival of the business.

Nerds Don't Care (0, Flamebait)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#20441861)

Whenever this "land grab" by copyright owners and corporate mass media is reported, on Slashdot or anywhere else, no one cares to even discuss it. Slashdotters will get all up in arms over DRM and other copyright abuse, but directly extorting independent content publishers into extinction doesn't even generate a yawn.

Then the nerds complain when the "free stuff" disappears.

Why bother with a lot of stories and discussions of why the corporations act like they own all our content and media, when we ignore them whenever they grab it?

Why is this a problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20442459)

The market will just decide and people will listen to web radio from countries where web radio is free.

Whole Industries decide to move their businesses to other countries because of restrictive laws and regulations.

Why is it so difficult for a web radio listener to change the channel?

You wont reverse this move by complaining. You might reverse it by listening to web radio from Iran because that's the times we live in. You can't go onto the streets with signs and voices and think you change something. You have to work and think like mild terrorists instead. Look how little the terrorists of 9/11 had to do to turn your country into hell :D

Re:Why is this a problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20442645)

Actually that works out pretty good for me, because although I'm american, I don't like american music. In fact, for the most part I find american culture completely retarded. These days when I listen to the internet radio, it's typically stuff from the middle-east, india, or pakistan. I also like old european folk music.
Also, I haven't bought a music CD since 1994, because the prices are totally insane. When I'm driving around, I usually don't have the radio on, but if I do it's tuned to an AM channel (mexican or other latin stuff).

It's all about the DRM folks (5, Interesting)

ObjetDart (700355) | more than 7 years ago | (#20442793)

Once you understand that, everything SoundExchange is doing makes sense. These seemingly counter-productive actions by SoundExchange lead to a lot of head scratching by a lot of people. Why would the music industry want to kill such a seemingly obvious way to generate more music sales? Etc.

The RIAA has been trying for years, without success, to pass legislation to require all internet radio broadcasters to use DRM in their streams. In practice this means only one thing: they desperately want to make it illegal to broadcast internet radio in mp3 format.

The RIAA has got in their heads that the combination of DRM-free readio broadcasts in mp3 format with tools such as StreamRipper is leading to rampant music piracy. I have no idea how rampant the piracy actually is, but it could be bad at least in theory. The problem is that it is possible, with relatively little technical know how, to point a tool like StreamRipper at, just for example, one of the many fine music 128k music channels available at, leave it running, and come back a day or 2 later to a directory containing gigabytes of free MP3 music.

Anyway, since they have not been able to make mp3 broadcasting illegal, SoundExchange's behavior is simply the RIAA attacking the "problem" from a new front. They want to shut web broadcasters down. They know the new rates are way too high! That's the whole point. They want to bankrupt all the broadcasters who are streaming near-CD-quality mp3s out to the world for free.

One problem with that theory... (2, Interesting)

daBass (56811) | more than 7 years ago | (#20446003)

The problem with that theory is, why go through all that trouble only to end up with songs whose start and end overlap with other songs and have gone through audio processing when you can simply get onto the usual torrent sites and other P2P networks and get CD rips?

I have no doubt P2P is costing them money, though not to the tune they calculate; just because someone downloads it doesn't mean they would have bought it otherwise. But online radio is not costing them money, it is free advertising. I have nothing against revenue sharing; that is how radio in Europe has worked for a long time and at the end of the day the station is making money off the music too. But the rates need to be reasonable as the stations are also advertising the music.

Right now, SoundExchange is being rather unreasonable.

Re:It's all about the DRM folks (1)

hazydave (96747) | more than 7 years ago | (#20449123)

It's not really DRM here... they could easily have the SoundScan people post different rates for DRM vs. non-DRM. The bottom line is that the RIAA only represent the major labels. They're comfortable where they are, and they're comfortable with you listening to Big Radio. They don't want internet radio (currently at over 50 million regular listeners) leading you to new music they don't control.

The power of the big labels has always been, well, being big. Back in the 1950's, they took the approach of the old Hollywood studios, taking in artists and pretty much running the whole show: hiring songwriters, doing the recording, etc. They stamped the records, they had distribution, etc.... no way to functionally work around this system.

As technology has improved, they started losing that power. Musicians learned to work in the studio, rent their own studio time, then build their own home studios, and that power of the Labels was no longer important. More recently, the advent of both online distribution and large independent distibution (Apple, Amazon, etc). meant that the big labels on longer had a grip on the corner record store... it's much easier to get your small project into a store online, and ANYONE can distribute from their own web site, which is more or less just as accessible as any major label's.

In sort, their reason for being has largely evaporated. Nothing obsolete dies overnight, of course, and so they've been concentrating their power increasingly as a tool for maintaining the status quo. This is why they opposed digital distribution for so long, and worked on all those failed attempts to control it directly. And this is why they fought local low-power FM, and continue to fight internet radio -- nothing good for the major labels is likely to come out of internet radio. It's main outcome is to offer exposure to independent and small label artists who otherwise would get no airplay, period.

It hasn't been great for Big Radio either. If you're a Clear Channel, you can play the same drek in two dozen major markets across the country, via virtually automated systems linked by satellite. If you're a small local radio station (assuming you still exist), your stuff is limited, and probably ranging far less than your Big Radio competition. But via the net, all can be rendered essentially equal, and if I really wanted to listen to that free form rock station from San Francisco or the one up in Wolfeboro, NH, I can do that online. And when I'm doing that, I'm not listening to the local stuff, which statistically speaking, would be Big Radio.

Non-label content (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20443059)

I apologize if this is a dumb question but does this whole shitstorm impact Internet radio stations that play only completely independent stuff (ie. non-label content)? Or is SoundExchange trying to extract a pound of flesh from anyone running their own station regardless of what actually plays?

Re:Non-label content (1)

BlueStrat (756137) | more than 7 years ago | (#20444845)

I apologize if this is a dumb question but does this whole shitstorm impact Internet radio stations that play only completely independent stuff (ie. non-label content)? Or is SoundExchange trying to extract a pound of flesh from anyone running their own station regardless of what actually plays?

In a word, yes. Technically, *if* the station and artist sign an agreement, and *register* it with SoundExchange, then no royalties will be taken. However, lacking an agreement that is registered with SoundExchange, the station *is* liable for standard royalty payments to SoundExchange, and the artist must then register with SoundExchange to receive said royalties (minus SoundExchange fees).

This places a burden on both stations and artists to manage and archive copies of agreements. There is no central clearinghouse to which independent stations and artists can turn to, to assist in streamlining this process, akin to a 'Indie-SoundExchange'. This might be a good idea, if a way were found to pay for it, and if the RIAA doesn't litigate or legislate it into illegality.

Here's the scoop from the SoundExchange site: [] Click on the "Licensing 101" link in the right-hand column.



My question (1)

aztektum (170569) | more than 7 years ago | (#20443623)

Why not switch to a non-RIAA music format. Sign local indie bands only. Anyone with a big business contract is SOL

Re:My question (1)

Reaperducer (871695) | more than 7 years ago | (#20446825)

Why not switch to a non-RIAA music format. Sign local indie bands only.
Because they want to attract thousands of listeners, not five people who are already fans and family.

Re:My question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20447865)

Thats not an option. SoundExchange is authorized by the US govt to collect royalties for all artists that are broadcast, indie or major label. Does that make sense?

Once again our govt screws us over.

it isn't over... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20447525)

until the fat lady sings.

Internet radio: "We couldn't afford the royalties..."

Whoa! Whoa! Wait up (1)

kitsunewarlock (971818) | more than 7 years ago | (#20448241)

We get free music and now DOOM AS WELL?! Woah! Shooting up robots to some awesome techno and rock...What's gloomy about that?
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