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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Fat White Guys Killed the (Internet) Radio Star

Fans of internet radio were likely already aware that today, June 26, is a national day of silence for web-cast radio stations in protest of a proposed rate hike in royalty fees. More casual listeners, like myself, were probably shocked to find that their favorite stations were off the air for the day. In addition to smaller outlets, heavy hitters like, MTV and Yahoo! pulled the plug on their web-casts for the day. Nothing brings folks together like the almighty dollar, eh?

On March 2, 2007, the Copyright Royalties Board — a three member panel which oversees royalty fees for Internet radio stations — passed a rate increase of 300 to 1200 percent by 2010. The increase goes into effect on July 15, 2007 and is retroactive to January 1, 2006. Prior to the rate hike, internet stations were already paying more than twice what satellite radio stations are required to cough up for the same rights. So what gives?

The proposal was initiated by the Recording Industry Association of America, a monolithic organization primarily made up of fat guys in suits who live in constant fear of teenagers downloading the latest Jay-Z track from Limewire. RIAA's hired goons, SoundExchange — who handle royalty collections — were also in on the fun. Oddly enough, these are the same schmucks that were afraid of cassette tapes destroying the record biz some 25 years ago. Good call, assholes.

If the increase goes into effect, a significant chunk of small to mid-size stations — many of whom are already on life support — will cease to exist. For those of us that enjoy the eclectic, free-form nature of 'net radio, that's a big freakin' deal.

So what can we, the concerned public, do?

Go to Save Net Radio and click on the link to contact your state's congressional delegates. There are bills in both houses to overturn CRB's nefarious, greed-driven ruling. There are also several links providing much more info than I have time or space to print here.

If you love freedom, America and weird-ass radio, do your part and let your voice be heard.

On a lighter note, here's a picture of a puppy:



listenist's campaign and the Day of Silence today is certainly generating a lot of publicity around the topic- the traffic on the 'contact your representative' section of their website has gone haywire!

Good post- the public needs to be aware that this has nothing to do with protecting artists and everything to do with the RIAA's and SoundExchange's desperate attempts to hold on to their hegemony and protect their stranglehold on music outlets.

the le duo

thanks for the link- its very important to keep internet radio as free-form and awesome as can be- fuck the riaa! but i just wanted to say, not all us fat white men are out to destroy everything the skinny hip hold dear ;)


Puppy! (I skipped all the big words and went straight for the picture--I'm assuming this post is about puppies....).


That's the best "play dead" I've ever seen!

don eggert - 7D

I'm an avid listener of Net radio. I'm addicted to KCRW's music and news channels out of LA. They consistently provide me all the news and eclectic music that I can handle. I like them so much that I became a subscriber for $1/day. In return, they send me a CD once in a while and the NY Times on the weekends -- not a bad deal!

I know it's a good idea to inform my reps that I think this rate hike sucks, but am I wrong to assume that our stellar reps already get it? I wish someone (maybe you Dan?) would ask them to go on record about it. I would be interested to know if they even listen to Net radio and understand how great it is.

If anyone cares, KCRW is under the "eclectic" tab in iTunes Radio (it's fun to listen to their traffic report and realize how great we have it here!)

Oh, and my puppy is cuter.


I started listening to radio online (via iTunes too) when I moved back from New York and started missing WFMU. Then I started tuning in to Morning Becomes Eclectic on KCRW and recently, the amazingly professional-sounding-yet-still-freeform KEXP from Seattle (great for SO many reasons... tons of support for local stuff, plus live performances, SXSW coverage, etc.) as well as my new tied-for-first favorite, Boston's local WERS (great for all the same reasons, yet makes the odd adult-contempo cheeze-folk choice... however KEXP makes similar mistakes with the odd fuzzed-out-alterna-whine... I guess true to both cities' musical stereotypical profiles). I was definitely taken aback by the news about raised fees and while initially a little conflicted (as someone who occasionally gets, um... TWO-figure checks from ASCAP), quickly remembered that those monies likely get distributed to Rob Thomas and Fatboy Slim. So fuck em, I'm on the bandwagon. Fuck fees!


I'm writing this from a brand-new iphone. Just thought you should know.

Oh yeah -- long live Internet radio!


Holy shit, Casey. Are you wearing polo shirts with upturned collars and playing golf now too?

All ball-busting aside, the iPhone is pretty fuckin' cool.

When VT is able to get the iPhone — I'm thinking six or seven years from now — I'll get one too and then we can snarkily e-mail each other about how much cooler we are than everyone else. That'll be so awesome!


By then I'll have a neural implant.

I know you're in production and all, but can we get a Wilco report?


Happy Birthday, Daniel!

And yeah, I want to hear about Wilco, too.

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