Internet radio is this sleeping giant of sorts. Most people have at one time listened on the internet to a radio stream, and some make it a daily habit to tune in online. While having millions and millions of listeners, internet radio still has an underground feel it. That may be partly because that there are a lot of independently run Ã¢â‚¬Å“start upsÃ¢â‚¬. When The United States Copyright Royalty Board proposed a rate increase in the royalties payable to performers of recorded works broadcast on the internet it caused a grassroots movement of sorts to stop the seemingly greedy injustice.
The new ruling which would bill based on the number of people listening rather than a potion of the profits. So what does that mean? Very simply it means the more people that tune in the more you pay. Does that make these new fees a popularity tax?
There is a great breakdown on Saveourinternetradio.com/about, to show how this could hurt the small broadcasters. If a station has 1000 listens (which is not much) the royalties for the station would come out to $134,000 for the current year along with having to pay for the previous year on top of that. How is an independent station supposed to make what would essentially be $11 a person (if we use the $134,000 figure).
An interesting point in all this is that major radio such as clear channel (eww), and NPR, is just as upset with these new fees as the person that runs an online station from their house. NPR, along with others, works on a non-profit base and thus does not push advertising heavy, if at all. Little or no advertising is one of the things that attract many people to the online streams.
Unfortunately there may not be much that we can do to change the increased fees and thus can’t save many of the online stations that will shut down because of funding. There are still many sites out there trying to make a difference and so we do encourage those who feel obligated to do so.