We now break with this nice stream of blogging silence we’ve actively cultivated for the following emergency message:
Next Monday, July 15, new royalty rates go into effect for Internet radio stations which will effectively kill the entire ‘net radio market. These new rates are upwards of ten times higher than any other type of radio broadcaster must pay (and are retroactive to January of ’06), and most ‘net radio stations would end up having to pay amounts far, far greater than their profits would allow. The new rates say that stations have to pay 33 cents per hour per listener, so a station with only 5000 listeners would have to pay royalty fees of almost $1.2 million per month to continue broadcasting. And that’s a fairly small station. The RIAA got this legislation passed so they could kill ‘net radio and make more money for themselves via record sales and larger broadcasters; it looks like their strategy is going to work if something isn’t done.
(EDIT: I got my math wrong, or rather, my figures: it’s not 33 cents per hour, it’s .33 cents per hour. Still, that figure represents far more than the profits most stations make. A station with only 5000 listeners having to pay $12K month in royalty fees is still excessive. But man, doesn’t $1.2 million for 5000 listeners sound more terrible and impressive?)
If you ever listen to any ‘net radio — whether that’s Radio Paradise or Pandora or AOL Radio or anything in between — please visit SaveNetRadio.org to see what you can do. Really, at this point “what you can do” means “call your Congressional representative(s) and tell ‘em to support the Internet Radio Equality Act.”
Light up those phones, people! Save Internet radio! Give those asshats at the RIAA what-for!