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This is Leo Notenboom for askleo.info.
On July 15th, many streaming audio sites on the internet will likely close down.
The problem? The Copyright Royalty Board, the group which handles setting and collecting recording royalties, increased the amount that Internet radio stations must pay by at least a factor of 3.
The bottom line is simple: many, if not most, independant internet radio and streaming audio stations simply cannot afford the higher payments. They'll have to turn off the music.
There's at least an issue of fairness as you might expect. Apparently internet radio has already been paying twice what satellite radio does for the same content.
But there's also a concern for control. One school of thought is that music labels will make deals for those stations willing to allow the label to control the content. The whole concept of "independant" internet radio would just disappear. Instead, we'd be faced with what we have on most commercial radio today: the same music, the same songs, the same artists, over and over and over again.
So, what can we do?
The Save Net Radio coalition has organized to coordinate an effort to get U.S. Lawmakers to address the issue in Washington. They're urging everyone to contact their senators and representatives to express their support for bills overturning the new rates.
In some of the many articles I've seen on the topic, I've heard it referred to as the music industry trying to sue its way into profitability. Just as with draconian anti-piracy approaches, the industry seems to be bent on using rules and regulations, threats and lawsuits, to their own benefit before actually considering their customers.
In my opinion it's a losing battle for both sides. I'm in no way advocating piracy, but if strong arming your customers is the only way you can think of to promote your product, it seems like an increase in piracy might be an inevitable result.
In the mean time honest consumers and musicians lose. Consumers lose choice, and musicians lose yet another venue.
And all the while we get to listen to the music industries pop-star du jour over and over and over...
Go visit SaveNetRadio.org and find out how you can help.
I'd love to hear what you think. Visit askleo.info and enter 11615 in the go to article number box to access the show notes, the transcript and to leave me a comment. While you're there, browse over 1,200 technical questions and answers on the site.
Till next time, I'm Leo Notenboom, for askleo.info.