Internet radio service Live365 shut down Sunday.
Founders told patrons the company could not afford the increased streaming music royalty rates set by U.S. Copyright Royalty Board at the end of 2015. The new rates eliminated low rates for small webcasters.
The platform had already laid off most of its staff and vacated its offices in December.
Live365 said in an email to members: “We are sad that we are closing our doors at the end of this month. There are always possibilities that we can come back in one form or another, but at this point in time, January 31, 2016 is the last day that Live365’s streaming servers and website will be maintained and supported.”
Founded in 1999, Live365 initially hosted small online radio stations for free. Payment plans were then installed, and the ad-supported model added a commercial-free “VIP” membership.
The new small webcaster rates for 2016-2020 require a minimum annual payment of $2,000 for webcasters earning less than $50,000 a year. There is a $500 annual microcaster rate for those earning under $5,000 in revenues and $10,000 in expenses, and fewer than 18,000 listener-hours per year.