Friday, April 20, 2007

Where will you be when the music dies?

SaveNetRadio.orgSean asked me last night if I only blog now when I'm angry about something. It almost seems to be the case, but I swear it's not done on purpose. But this, in fact, a great place to rant and rave, so if you get the impression that I'm some nutcase who is constantly angry at the world, know that it's only one part of me. The other part likes puppies. And flowers.

But here we go with a little bit of a rant, that hopefully (*crossing fingers*) will work out for the best.

If you've been keeping up with some news, you are aware that the Copyright Royalty Board has implemented a royalty rate increase to all internet radio stations, nearly double what they are paying right now. What does this mean? Your favorite radio stations may not survive. And for someone who is head over hells in love with WOXY, among others, this makes me very concerned.

You see, it's kind of ridiculous. First of all, internet radio stations are the only ones who are playing a diverse range of music and aren't controlled by Clear Channel. They are the ones supporting the artists that need it the most. And they are happy, yes thrilled, to pay the artists their royalties, but there is no need for this absurd increase. Streaming online content is not the same thing as downloading an MP3. Ask the artists. They'll say the same frickin thing.

Okay, enough with the ranting -- let's look to what can be done. The Copyright Royalty Board is done with the case. They can't change their ruling now, but Congress can. And thanks to organizations like the newly formed SaveNetRadio, you can do your part by writing to your Congressman. Within its first three days of existence, the campaign has sent more than 250,000 messages asking them to set a reasonable rate that will save internet stations from going under. Check out their website for more information, and cool nifty little banners you can put on your blogs, myspaces, etc.

I interviewed spokesperson Jake Ward for a CMJ News Article. Here's what he said about the future, if nothing is done:

"Very few [Internet radio stations], if any, will survive," says Jake Ward, a spokesperson for the SaveNetRadio coalition. "And those that do survive will be challenged to provide the service we enjoy today, because Internet radio's greatness is driven by its diversity, which is a result of technology, no limitation of 'space' for the stations, and creative competition and energy."

Don't let this happen. Please, please, do what you can to make this known. And if you are in a band, you could follow the Truckee Brother's actions: they won't release their next single to anyone but the internet radio stations, and for free.

Can you imagine what would happen to indie music if there are no longer internet radio stations? My goodness, I don't even want to think about it.


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