Internet Radios Go Silent

06/26/07 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Tuesday | Listen to this entire show:

Thousands of Internet radio streams have gone silent today in protest of new music royalty rates that Webcasters say could drive almost all of them out of business. According to the New York Daily News, Internet radio, has exploded from an estimated 37 million monthly listeners in 2005 to an estimated 52 million today. But new royalty rates scheduled to go into effect July 15 could potentially shut down many Internet readio stations. (roll tape#1 o.q.”internet broadcaster”)Vicki Santa is the station manager at WMNF. She said after some internal discussion, she said the station decided NOT to cease broadcasting on the Internet today (roll tape#2 o.q.” for themselves”) In March, the Copyright Royalty Board announced that it would raise royalties for Internet broadcasters, moving them from a per-song rate to a per-listener rate. The increase would be retroactive to the beginning of 2006, and would double over the next 5 years. Thus the more listeners a station has, the more it would have to pay. Ted Leibowitz is with Bagel Radio…He runs his online operation out of his apartment in San Francisco. He told KCRW radio that he can serve an underserved radio audience and do it without a lot of money (roll tape#3 o.q.”or compeltely superceded”) WAMU in Washington DC General Manager Karen Matthis airs 3 different streams of broadcasting on their website. , including 1 24 hour stream of bluegrass music. She told Southern California radio station KCRW that those choices bring a lot of listeners to their internet station. (roll tape#4 o.q.”we hear from”) But WMNF’s Vicki Santa there is Congressional legislation in the works to try to thwart the July 15th planned increase in royalty rates. (roll tape#5 o.q”be rectified”) House Bill 2060 and Senate Bill 1353 are the pieces of legislation now in Congress called the Internet Radio Equality Act.

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