Archive for the 'internetradio' Category

Eve Of The CRB Rate Rape

As I write this, it is the eve of the Copyright Royalties Board/RIAA/Sound Exchange rape of webcasters. It’s still Saturday the 14th on the West Coast, and in a couple of hours, July 15 will be here—the date that these bandits have set for the new music royalty rates to take effect, rates that none of the webcasters can afford and will put us out of business.

Earlier this week, Sound Exchange tried to sneak one past us, trying to dupe major webcasters such as Live365 and Yahoo Launchcast to sign an agreement to keep the rates as they are pre-July 15th. SE was hoping we would jump on it, but we were smart enough to read the small print before signing the agreement, an agreement that could cost Live365 and Yahoo BILLIONS of dollars a year within the next couple of years.

That small print stated the rates would only stay as they now are until the end of 2008, when SE would again try to bump them up–and there was a clause in there that all webcasters agreeing to the contract would give up their right to ever go to court to stop future rate hikes while dropping their challenge of the current proposed rate hike.

This is the kind of criminals webcasters are dealing with, ladies and gentlemen. They are trying to pass royalty rate hikes that would go 90 percent into their own pockets (which they call “administrative and processing fees”), and the remaining 10%, after a few more deductions, would be crumbs offered to the artists and songwriters.

Even under the current rates, artists sometimes have to threaten court action in order to get their meager royalty payments. By the way, over-the-air radio stations pay NO royalties, and satellite radio pays amounts WAY lower than what they want to charge webcasters. The plan is so crystal clear you can read through it from here. Web stations have Indie artists, the ones the major labels are trying to shut out of the process, in heavy rotation, and this increases their popularity while decreasing major label artists’ airplay.

Webcasters may attempt to pay these exorbitant fees and wind up bankrupt as they try to follow the law, and after they shut down, any money they’ve paid goes into Sound Exchange’s pocket and eliminates the competition for the majors—a win/win for SE.

Whether or not I get back on the air depends on what is decided in regards to the new royalty rates. It won’t kill Internet radio as a whole, but it will drive many of us to do our broadcasting in a “pirate” mode. I’ve been there before, as a DJ for “small market” broadcasters, so I know it CAN work. If we’re driven to that, everyone loses because Sound Exchange won’t get a penny of royalties while we continue to broadcast on the sly, which will make it harder for our audiences to find us .

Support Internet Radio! Get in touch with your Congressperson and demand that they support the Internet Radio Equality Bill TODAY!!!!

Waiting For The CRB Decision

As many of you know, the Copyright Royalty Board is stupidly trying to kill Internet radio by hiking royalty rates to an astronomical level. My Mohawk Radio station and show on Live365 are currently on hiatus because of this. Under the newly-proposed rates, I would have to pay at least $185,000 for 2007 royalties, and some Internet stations would have to pay over $500,000. The latest proposal would TRIPLE these rates within two years.

The CRB says these rates are necessary in order for the musicians to receive “fair use” royalties, but in fact, most of the money the CRB/Sound Exchange now collects goes into the pockets of Sound Exchange and very little reaches the artists.

What this means, of course, is that since almost none of the Internet broadcasters could afford the new rates, we will have to close down. This means the artists would LOSE tons of money, so how idiotic is this?

There is currently a new bill, HR2060, which would set very fair rates for the Internet and allow us to continue to entertain you. Let’s hope this bill passes so I can get back on the air and start my 39th year on radio.