What If Internet Radio Held A Day Of Silence, And Nobody Listened?

Jun 29th, 2007 | By | Category: Digital Music, General

Thousands of U.S. commercial webcasters went silent this Tuesday, June 26, to draw attention to an impending royalty rate increase that could threaten the viability of stations that broadcast mainstream music. Unfortunately for the broadcasters, it looks like the day of silence fell on deaf ears.

Tuesday’s Day of Silence was observed by Yahoo!, Live365, Rhapsody and MTV and other commercial netcasters to protest rate increases by the recording industry and SoundExchange, the company that collects royalties on behalf of music labels. The rate increases threaten to make broadcasting traditionally licensed music unprofitable or to give the music industry greater control over mainstream netcasting.

The net broadcasters’ Day of Silence made little impression with Congress, though, according to Businessweek:

No can do, said House Small Business Committee Chairwoman Nydia Velazquez. The New York Democrat said she’d prefer Webcasters and the music industry come up with their own compromise. “I really don’t think Congress would be the best type of vehicle to resolve this type of issue,” she said after the testimony of seven witnesses, including independent record-label owners, musicians, and Webcasters. “July 15 is just around the corner, and I hope the two parties can come together and resolve this issue.”

For big netcasters, the lack of interest from Congress may force them to cut deals with the music industry to lock in more favorable licensing fees:

“We might now be at the beginning of real negotiations with SoundExchange,” says Ian Rogers, general manager of Web radio leader Yahoo! (YHOO) Music.

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