If you’re wondering where your favorite internet radio station went this morning, that’s because today is the “Day of Silence” for internet radio.
To administer rights for songs played on the radio (you didn’t think it was free, did you?), Congress created a group called SoundExchange to collect and distribute royalties. With online sales increasing while traditional CDs decline, the RIAA’s members decided they wanted more money to promote their music. So SoundExchange changed the way they count listeners and increased their fees.
The result? Internet radio is now several times more expensive per listener than regular over-the-air radio. This means that public radio stations who rely on a mix of donations and government funding to operate will see dramatic cost increases and have to shut down if you, the taxpayer or you, the donor doesn’t step up to the plate. It’s even worse for niche internet radio stations. Many of them operate at break-even or a slight loss as is and will simply have to go off the air.
The worst part of it is that they made the changes retroactive to 2006, meaning that even though the stations have been assuming their songs cost them a certain amount for the past year and a half, it will now cost them several times more and the bill will be due July 15.
More information at SaveNetRadio.org. Let’s see if the Democrats were serious about standing up for the little guy.