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15 Mar 2007 / Julie

Death to Radio Streams?

This morning I received an urgent email from my favorite radio station (the wonderful WXPN who picked up y100rocks.com who was fighting to get alternative rock back on the air in Philly after Y100 died… more on that here) informing me that “the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB), an oversight body created by Congress to settle royalty disputes in the music business, issued a new, higher fee structure for Web music broadcasts, on March 5 that Web radio executives see as crippling” (CNN article- link will open new window).

By XPN’s estimates, they could be paying about $1 million a year in royalties under the CRB’s ruling. That could mean the end of streaming.

As a dutiful citizen, I emailed my congress people:

As your constituent and a fan of Internet radio, I was alarmed to learn that music royalty rates were recently determined by the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) which, if enacted, would certainly silence most or all of my favorite online listening services. For most webcasters, this royalty rate represents more than 100% of their total revenues! Specifically the one I listen to- a non-profit radio station out of my market area that streams online- would be paying $1 million dollars a year.

The shuttering of the webcasting industry would be a loss for not only independent business owners, but also for musical artists, for copyright owners, and for listeners like me who enjoy the wide variety of choices available via Internet radio. As there are no alternative rock stations in my market area, I rely on Internet streams for my music. They keep me up to date on the new music that is out there and inform my cd purchasing and tune downloading decisions.

I respectfully request that your office look into this matter and take action to prevent it. As the CRB rate decision is retroactive to January 1, 2006, please understand that time is of the essence — as the immediate impact of this decision could silence many Internet radio stations forever.

If you’re interested in helping out, or to learn more- http://www.savethestreams.org

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