This is a complicated issue, so bear with me. (Also, if anyone knows more about this, feel free to educate me.)
Traditional radio and satellite radio are losing market share to innovative services responding to market demand such as Pandora, which I subscribe to for $12 per year. Pandora allows me to create radio stations based on their music genome project, which takes traits of music by certain artists and finds other artists with those traits. So, if I create the Elton John channel, it finds other artists appealing to Elton John fans. I create several channels named for my favorite artists, set the player to mix, and it plays music I like all day with no commercials, introduces me to new artists and provides links for me to buy their music. (Now there’s money that really is going to the artist in CD sales and trackable listens.)
Here’s the kicker: Because of these kind of services, I never listen to the radio except when I’m in my car, and then I only listen to public radio. I think that the big-monied traditional- and satellite-media companies would like to see Internet radio stamped out. I think this is the reason for the royalty rate hikes set to go into effect for Internet-radio broadcasters next month. I think that at the highest levels, it has little to do with compensating artists for their work and everything to do with mainstream media trying to wrestle the Internet users into forced submission to their services.
Yes, big Internet broadcasters like AOL, MTV online and Live365 are also protesting the royalties hike for Internet radio, but think about it. Who’s likely to survive and who’s likely to be silenced by increased royalties rates? Mainstream crap like AOL, MTV online and Live365 will survive, while great indie-Internet radio and innovative, user-driven services like Pandora will be wiped out.
That’s my cynical view. Now that I’ve done a little reading on it, I think we all have to raise hell about this. Voice your protest to the Copyright Royalty Board: www.loc.gov/crb/contact
Perhaps we should all write our members of Congress and local editors as well. The music business is shifting into the hands of artists and consumers. Sitting silent about this kind of thing could allow corporations to wrestle it away from us again. If I’m wrong about this in your view, please tell me. I’m interested in getting to the truth and working for the good of our industry.
— Dave Turner