Today is a day of silence in the Land of Internet Radio. Thousands of webcasters have gone silent including Pandora, Yahoo Radio, MTV Radio, Rhapsody, and many, many others. The reason? Online webcasters are wanting to give their listeners an idea of what radio will be like (silent) come July 15th when new royalty payments are due at outrageous rates that would prevent any of these services from being profitable. In other words, Internet Radio will be dead on July 15th unless something changes.
According to Pandora, fees to license the music have increased three-fold due to an arbitration committee in Washington DC “ignoring all rationality and responding only to the lobbying of the RIAA.” They’re asking that users call their Congressional reps and ask them to become co-sponsors of a Bill called ‘Internet Radio Equality Act” which would help save all of your favorite online radio services.
Over at the Yahoo music blog, they go on to explain even further why the rates set-forth for Internet radio are so outrageous. Under the most recent rates, Internet radio will be required to pay more than 100% of their revenue in royalty fees. This is in comparison to satellite radio which is required to pay about 7% of their revenue, and terrestrial radio which pays 0% of their revenue towards royalty fees. If you ask me, this hardly seems fair.
One thing is for sure, and that is that the Internet Radio Business is a tough place to be right now. Hopefully this will be the last of their problems and they can continue as they had been previously, providing a service that millions enjoy.
If you want to help, as mentioned, call your Congressional representatives (find yours here). They’ve set-up a website so that you can follow “the fight to save Internet Radio.” Visit www.savenetradio.org.