Sunday, March 11, 2007

This Time It's Personal - The View From Paradise

This time it's personal.

I operate three Internet Radio Stations with a world wide audience in the thousands. My FREEFORM, Extreme Variety Stations have listeners in all fifty states and over 60 countries world wide. My current playlist of over 22,000 tracks strong. A mix that you cannot possibly hear on any corporate radio station.

I know many readers here are also listeners. And I hope the rest of you will listen as you surf or blog. Click on this banner to go to my radio station page.

It's a hobby, a labor of love. And it's terribly expensive. I spend several thousand dollars a year for server space, bandwidth, music and, especially, songwriter and performance and recording royalties. I do not make any profit and have virtually no income stream. It's a hobby.

Now, primarily because of the continued greed of the recording Industry, my hobby is threatened. Of course, in the overall scheme of things, my hobby is unimportant.

What is important is the fact that the recent royalty rate increases, approved by the Copyright Royalty Board (our Federal Government at work), are being made retroactive, almost two years retroactive. The net effect will be to kill all independent Internet Radio Stations. If you listen to any Internet Radio Stations, kiss them goodbye.

Unfortunately, the ruling of the CRB, it will cause the personal bankruptcy of hundreds, perhaps thousands of individuals, families and small businesses. This is very real. Some of my personal friends are facing hundreds of thousands of dollars in retroactive royalties after paying the previous approved rates for the last two years.

Most frustrating is the fact the Internet Radio Performance Royalties are 4 times larger than satellite radio. And terrestrial radio (your local AM and FM stations) pay no performance or recording royalties at all. They are exempt. I'm guessing Clear Channel's Washington lobbyists are better than mine. Oh, wait, I don't have any lobbyists representing me.

This is a terribly complex issue and I'll be posting a great deal more about it soon.

But the issue and history of this issue are so complex, I'm suggesting you read the story from Paradise Radio:
The View From Paradise. Their story is well written, entertaining and informative.

The Internet has changed radio in a profound way. Instead of a business that required investments so huge (millions of dollars for even a small-market FM station) that a programming focus on the lowest common denominator and an extreme aversion to risk or experimentation was an unavoidable consequence, a radio station with a global reach was now within the grasp of anyone with the talent and determination to make it happen.

Every day we hear from listeners who are profoundly touched by our efforts - by the music we play, by the way we assemble the songs into meaningful sequences that are more than the sum of their parts, by our passion for what we are doing, and our commitment to never contaminating the music with advertising. And our station is but one of many who have attracted that kind of passionate following, and provided that kind of outlet for radio artists like myself.

The Internet’s paradigm-shifting gift to radio programmers and music lovers - at least those in the US - is now in danger of being taken away by the misguided actions of the US Copyright Board. The performance royalty rates released by the Copyright Board on March 1, 2007 are not just extreme, not just burdensome. They are a death sentence for all US-based independent webcasters like Radio Paradise, SOMA-FM, Digitally Imported, and many others.

Want less drama and more facts? Here are the facts, figures and specifics from the industry newspaper: Radio and Internet News (RAIN)

Information about how you can make your voice heard is available here:
Live 365 - Save Internet Radio





Vigilante said...

This is a whole new area for me. I don't even know where to begin digging for the facts.

Vigilante said...

FKAP I always took to be your call letters. Is that right?