Webcasters Unite To Save Net Radio

Apr 16th, 2007 | By | Category: Corporate Podcasts, Digital Music

Today, representatives of the SaveNetRadio coalition announced the launch of a campaign to fight increased fees for webcasters. The coalition of Internet radio listeners, music labels, artists, and webcasters was formed in response to a March 2nd ruling by the Copyright Royalty Board that raised the fees webcasters pay to play music online by 300-1200 percent and threatens to bankrupt many webcasters that use mainstream music.

The increased royalty rate, scheduled to take effect May 15th, will become the single largest operating expense for webcasters according to a recent J.P. Morgan Securities, Inc. study, and many webcasters will not be able to generate enough advertising revenue to avoid bankruptcy. Because the CRB rates are retroactive to January 1, 2006, even if effective for only a single day, past due royalties alone will be enough to bankrupt many webcasters. According to The American Association of Independent Music, Net radio plays nearly four times as much independent music as terrestrial FM radio.

The jump in royalty rates highlights the risks of using traditionally-licensed major label music in Webcasts and podcasts.

“The CRB’s ill informed decision to increase royalty fees to this unjustifiable level will quite simply bankrupt most webcasters and destroy Internet radio,” Jake Ward, a spokesperson for the SaveNetRadio campaign said. “Radio on the Internet is not a passing fad or for a niche audience. It is an enormously popular medium that offers unprecedented diversity for its more than 70 million listeners and for artists. Particularly for independent artists, Internet radio has the ability to reach millions of fans across the country who would otherwise never hear their music. Net radio has changed the way people listen to, buy, promote and market music and we cannot afford to let it die.”

Members of the coalition, including webcasters, artists, and labels from throughout the country met with the media this morning to voice their concerns about the Copyright Royalty Board’s decision and its impact on Net radio and pledge their support for the campaign. The coalition’s website was also launched today.

Coalition members meeting with the media today included: Kurt Hanson from AccuRadio; Johnie Floater from Live365; Joe Kennedy from Pandora; Courtney Delaney from webcaster and on-line retailer Outbound Music; Reno, Nevada based band Sol’Jibe; New York City based band The Velocet; Rob Waller of Western Seeds Records; and, JT Coldfire of Roots Music Association. Comments and views of these coalition members are posted on the coalition website.

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