If you’re accustomed to listening to streaming Internet radio or streaming music services such as
Pandora, you may be surprised to discover that when you tune into your favorite streams today you’re greeted with silence. Many Internet broadcasters—including Yahoo!, Rhapsody, Live365 stations, MTV Online, AccuRadio, and KCRW (a popular public radio station in Santa Monica, CA)—have gone silent today in a Day of Silence protest over a change in the way they’ll be charged for their services. This change, which will levy fees based on the number of listeners tuned into a particular song rather than on a percent of the broadcaster’s revenue (as was the model in the past), will likely put most Internet broadcasters out of business.
I’ve detailed the history of this battle in
The Downing of Internet Radio. A couple of things have changed since I wrote the piece on April 17th. The first is that the deadline for the new rates is July 15th rather than May 15th.
The second is that there’s a fighting chance that the new rates may be overturned by Congress. U.S. Representatives Jay Inslee (D-WA) and Don Manzullo (R-Il) filed legislation termed the
Internet Radio Equality Act, H.R. 2060, that would undo the recent rate changes and apply the same royalty rate-setting standard to commercial Internet radio, as well as satellite radio, cable radio and jukeboxes.
SaveNetRadio, an organization formed to help overturn the new rate scheme, is asking those interested in the future of Internet radio to
contact their senators and representatives
and urge them to co-sponsor this bill.
Today KCRW is streaming a one-hour program that features interviews with a variety of Internet broadcasters about this important issue. You can listen to this stream in iTunes by clicking
Want to help? Use the links above to make your voice heard on this Day of Silence.