We asked around from folks in the Internet streaming/advertising biz what webcasters might do when 7/15 rolls around and the new Copyright Royalty Board fees kick in to demolish the streaming audio industry (it seems The Internet Radio Equality Act isn't getting enough traction-at least not in time).
We hear there are the four potential things a station might do on Sunday if no agreement is reached prior:
1. Quit and shut it down – most likely for operators who are hobbyists or on the fringe and just "give up."
2. Civil disobedience – most likely for operators who think some government intervention is forthcoming or a SoundExchange agreement is imminent or those who want to test the level of commitment and wait to "see what happens."
3. Move operations out of USA – most likely those who have researched this possibility and are willing to take a risk that no collections will be attempted out of major countries (Europe, Canada, US).
4. Make a direct deal with labels individually – most likely those who think they can cut a better deal than waiting it out and willing to do some of the things the labels may make a necessary part of those negotiations in return for lower rates.
There will be a "combination" of these things happening based on the huge number of independent stations making these decisions. In the immediate future, we heard the potential that someone actually starts paying seems unlikely. SoundExchange may have to take each and every webcaster to court to get its shakedown money. Let each judge decide individually if it's right to put these folks out of business. Just say "No" to these new fees is what we've been hearing. The more that say "No," the more SoundExchange will have to pay their attorneys. Many webcasters aren't going to make it easy and just "bend over" as they say.