RBR has solicited industry feedback on yesterday's national Day of Silence, with thousands of web radio streams going silent to protest the crippling fees approved by CRB.
Sounds of silence
We were sent this article from KHUM, regarding their streams shutdown yesterday. We've selected some excerpts from The Eureka, CA Reporter story: "KHUM.com and KSLG.com are part of a national day of silence today as they shut down regular programming on their webstreams to protest an increase in royalty fees they claim will end Internet radio.
"It looks like about a 300 percent increase to us," said Larry Trask, assistant program director and afternoon disc jockey for KHUM-FM 104.3 and 104.7. "If you create a rate structure where you can't be in business anymore, I don't see how that serves artists."
Last night, Trask hosted an hour-long program explaining the impact of the rates on webcasters who stream music. Rather than remaining silent for the nationwide protest that started at 12:01 a.m. today, KHUM.com and KSLG.com are webcasting Trask's one-hour program all day.
"Dedicated Web listeners know something about it, but generally, (the issue) is not well-known," Trask said.
On March 2, the Corporate Royalty Board substantially increased the sound recording music royalty fees for 2006-10. Patrick Cleary, president of Lost Coast Communications, estimated the retroactive fee would cost him 20,000 to 30,000 and might prompt discontinuation of streaming.
KHUM and KLSG are commercial stations owned by Lost Coast Communications.
"Lots of people listen on webstreams because it comes in clearer," Trask said. "People who work in metal-frame office buildings can have a hard time getting our signal. I have trouble getting it in Ferndale with the contour of the land."
The controversy has its roots in the difference between land-based and Web-based radio stations. Land-based radio stations such as KHUM pay composer royalties, but not performance royalties. The rationale is the recording industry benefited by having songs promoted over the public airwaves licensed by the FCC. Each benefited from the other. But when land-based radio stations such as KHUM began digitally webcasting music over KHUM.com, its Internet radio branch fell under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998, which said it had to pay both performance and composer royalties.
That fee used to be 12% of revenues. Now, webcasters claim it will take up all of the revenues and then some. Cleary said he's never had any significant revenues through Internet radio."