Will Internet Radio Come to an End on July 15th

That could very well be the case. Thousands of internet stations have stated that the new rates will quite simply bankrupt them. Since this issue is over seen by a government entity, the Copyright Royalty Board, webcasters and their listeners expected a different decision than the one that was handed down. The collection entity Soundexchange, a division of the R.I.A.A. (Recording Industry Association of America) got exactly what it asked for in the rate hearings. The R.I.A.A. represents the major record labels in the U.S. The way the laws are set up for this decision it is based on a willing buyer willing seller basis. The Copyright Royalty Boards job is to determine if the prices are fair. In this case they agreed with Soundexchanges offer even though arguments and evidence was presented by the opposing group, the webcasters. These rates are as high as 1000% more than some internet stations make. That is a very extreme raise in rates for a royalty that is not even paid by other broadcast mediums. Only internet radio and satelite radio pay this royalty. Satelite radio pays a fraction of this royalty compared to the new rates imposed on internet radio, a mere 7.5 cents of their income. Doesn't seem fair to penalize internet radio which is exactly what the new rates do.

Who wants or needs internet radio The benefits of internet radio are many just as the people who want it to remain are. Roughly 52,000,000 listeners a month tune in to internet radio stations and that number is growing. They choose internet radio for the diversity of genres only found on internet radio and the search for new artists. On internet radio approximately 30% of the music played industry wide are independent artists not found on your terrestrial fm stations. These artists receive airplay from internet stations. This in turn allows them to be heard worldwide and creates a market for their music as most internet stations include a buy link for their cds. Many internet stations play independent artists only to expose listeners to something besides the top 40 generally heard on am and fm stations. I think it is safe to say the majority of artists benefit greatly from internet radio. With all the listeners and all the artist benefits why would Soundexchange propose such high rates forcing internet radio to shut down There are many opinions about this and many explanations offered by Sound Exchange.

One such explanation is that no benefit is gained from internet radio airplay and that it somehow leads to illegal downloads. Internet radio is a streaming media, not a peer to peer download industry. Internet broadcasters go to great lengths to prevent what is commonly called stream rippers. Stream ripper programs are designed to record streaming media. There available solutions to this problem that prevent the ripping programs from recording the stream. These solutions are persued and utilized by tne majority of internet broadcasters. Just hearing a song on the internet does not mean I can download it. I can hear it on a am or fm station and go try to download it to. If that's the case then all broadcasts in all mediums should cease so no one can hear a song and go try to download it. But wait, isn't music meant to be heard If no one can hear it then everyone loses don't they Or is it that Soundexchange and the R.I.A.A. simply want to control what we can listen to. If they eliminate the stations that are playing music they aren't making money on then they get more money by playing their own artists music. Could it be that listeners in the U.S. are simply tired of the top 40 artists constantly thrown at them and seek something different. Maybe thats why internet radio listenership has grown so dramatically. I know one thing, if people don't act now soon they will be listening to the top 40 only once again.

Another explanation by Soundexchange is that artists deserve more money for their works. If you talk to the majority of music artists and even some very famous ones, they have never even received a royalty payment. Why Many reasons. First and foremost is that most royalty monies are taken by Soundexchange and the record labels. The artists that can benefit from the rate increase are only the major label artists. Do those artists really need more money They make millions a year already. I'm not against making money, but not at the expense of or by harming others. By eliminating internet radio the competition in the music market is greatly reduced for the top labels and the top artists. Those struggling independent and unknown artists are squeezed out of the market with this strategy. Yes, I can see how artists will benefit from these rates, it's very clear now. Make the 52 million internet listeners hear what you want them to hear so they will buy what you want them to buy. I think I understand now. The words uncaring and greed come to mind.

These rates benefit the few, not the many. They are designed to pad the pockets of the corporation not the artists. Let's get real. Anyone that has kept up with this issue knows that if the senate and congress don't intervene internet radio in the good ole USA will die along with the diversity of music it offers the public. That's why the SaveNetRadio Coalition was formed. Thousands of artists have joined with them in support of the proposed bills in the senate and congress. A senate aide stated that they had received more calls about the internet radio royalty rates than they had the Iraq war. The government is well aware of the issue and the peoples concern about it. I would venture to say that represenatives that do not support the Internet Radio Equality Act will see a decline in votes come election time. Those corporate favors won't win votes. Listening to the citizens of the United States will. I believe a long hard look at this issue and the effects it will cause should be on the minds of everyone that is involved.