Four years ago, I rediscovered my love of all things musical, primarily due to one independent internet radio station. Perhaps many of you listen as I do, at your desk while working, at your computer while reading, surfing or Googling knitting, playing online games, replying to e-mail. It’s become such a major part of my life that I take it for granted. Regrettably, I can no longer assume that it’ll always be there.
The bureaucratic Copyright Royalties Board (CRB) has just imposed a rule that, if it stands, will force internet radio stations out of business. The CRB has determined that internet radio stations should pay royalties that in most cases will cost 125% or more of a station’s annual gross income. This is in addition to all their other expenses, including the royalties they currently pay. The decision on March 1 would impose impossible royalty payments on internet radio stations. These stations already pay the same royalties as FM stations (ASCAP, BMI), plus they pay an additional 10–12% of gross revenues to record companies now. Major FM Broadcasting corporations like Clear Channel do not pay one penny of this additional royalty. This is all a misguided effort by the record companies to stifle internet radio because they fear piracy. Just like they feared the move from AM to FM, they feared cassette recorders and they fear YOU. Even if you don’t listen to internet radio, you benefit from the diverse sounds available, as artists outside the mainstream are afforded the opportunity to tour and perform for you. Without internet radio, if an artist isn’t played on your ClearChannel commercial FM, it’s very hard to get the word out.
[b]In a nutshell, your local FM radio station that plays crrrrap isn’t affected. It’s the listener-supported independent internet radio stations that will be driven out of business, thereby ending the ability of the average listener (you and me) from hearing thousands of new musicians (and old musicians that we’ve never before heard.)
We’ve purchased more CDs in the past three years than either of us has previously. Until this decision is reversed or somehow abated, we will only buy direct from the musicians at live performances. The RIAA has publicly stated that webcasting has no promotional effect on record sales. :?? Please help by spreading the word or writing your public servant or by not buying any recorded music through ordinary channels this month.
If you want to know more:
Save Our Internet Radio
If you want to speak out:
Write your Congressman
Thanks for listening.