Your favorite Internet radio station is probably dark today in observance of a nationwide day of silence.
Day of silence protest hits Net radio
– Stations battle royalty hike
By Cade Metz in San Francisco
Published Friday 22nd June 2007 23:16 GMTOn Tuesday, more than 10,000 U.S. web radio broadcasters will participate in a nationwide “day of silence”, canceling their usual programming in protest of an impending royalty hike that threatens to put most of them out of business.
Members of the SaveNetRadio coalition – including everyone from Yahoo! to WebRadioPugetSound – will either shut down their stations or broadcast public-service announcements urging listeners to support a repeal of the new royalty rates.
In March, the U.S. Copyright Royalty board laid down new rules that would require broadcasters to pay $0.0008 each time a song is played â€“ retroactive to the beginning of 2006. According to Jake Ward, a spokesperson for SaveNetRadio, this amounts to a 300 per cent rate hike for even the largest stations. By 2010, the per-play rate is scheduled to hit $0.0019.
The first bill comes due on July 15, and as the date approaches, SaveNetRadio is battling the new rates in Congress. Next week’s day of silence is an effort to gain support for the coalitionâ€™s Internet Radio Equality Act. (Story.)
S&R has written about this before (Martin here and me here), and the short version is that the RIAA, big corporate radio and their hired government thugs are trying to shut down, well, everything except themselves. The new royalty rules are bad for independent artists, bad for music generally, bad for American culture, and unless you’re a label whore, bad for you.
Here’s hoping Congress can hear the silence loud and clear. For more on Internet radio, stay tuned to SaveNetRadio.org.