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April 16, 2007 7:26 PM   Subscribe

Internet radio is (effectively) dead.
posted by four panels (127 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
All the more reason to abandon the RIAA and embrace copyright-relaxed and Creative Commons music.
posted by loquacious at 7:31 PM on April 16, 2007


This sucks hard.

To the RIAA: I buy music legitimately, but not anything of any of your artists. Suck it.
posted by Dr-Baa at 7:34 PM on April 16, 2007


A huge blow to internet radio as it stands, but it won't be long before DJs/stations adapt and create something with which traditional radio can't compete. The RIAA wins some battles but is losing the war.
posted by BitterJester at 7:39 PM on April 16, 2007


It's dead in the US. Luckily, the internet is international.
posted by mr_roboto at 7:40 PM on April 16, 2007 [6 favorites]


I just don't get the business plan here. Radio is advertising for music! And it's free advertising. Heck it's more than free, radio pays the record companies to advertise their products. So they are driving them out of business? For what? They won't get more royalties if the radio stations are gone. They'll get less. And lose a major outlet for music. Can someone explain this to me?
posted by octothorpe at 7:40 PM on April 16, 2007


All this really means is that they'll move offshore. Call it Globalization or outsourcing or something...
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 7:41 PM on April 16, 2007


Write your congress critter. The rules for broadcast radio and for internet radio should be the same. Why should internet radio pay more? Only because people fear new techologies. Yes, we are the Taliban.
posted by caddis at 7:42 PM on April 16, 2007


Ah, America, driving all innovation to other countries.

God bless the USA!
posted by unixrat at 7:46 PM on April 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


America's greatest export (along with its movies) has been its music. But the music industry has never missed a chance to shoot itself in the foot, the shoulder, the gut...It's a damn shame, all these great musicians struggling to make a dime while all these Music Executives live luxurious Hollywood lives off the fruits of their artistic labors.

And yes, obviously Internet Radio has been a chance for all of us who have nothing else to listen to but Clear Channel dreck to discover new artists - and buy their CD's.

Way to go, assholes.
posted by kozad at 7:51 PM on April 16, 2007


Sorry, record companies— I don't really listen to the radio online. I download songs for free from across the internet. I go out of my way to pay for music that I like, often ordering a CD off of a website or buying 'em at shows (really, shows is where I buy 90% of my music), but I'm gonna keep listening to RIAA music for free because I can and because you keep trying to dick me over. I realize that what I'm doing's not morally pure, but hey, it's not right to punch a bully either, and I don't feel bad about that.

Shame about places like WFMU and WCBN though. Driving across the country made me realize how much I value them. But the internet's like a giant radio where I can hear whatever I want whenever I want, so long as I'm at my computer.

In short— Gordon Gecko was full of shit. (Or: I'm in ur base downloading ur tunes.)
posted by klangklangston at 7:51 PM on April 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Well VHS did destroy the movie industry, after all.
posted by basicchannel at 7:52 PM on April 16, 2007 [3 favorites]


They'll get less. And lose a major outlet for music. Can someone explain this to me?

Yes, I think this is their model

a. drive all their little medium competitiors out with a barrier to entry, done in a way that doesn't forbid competition, it only makes it expensive

b. then they start their own internet radio , maybe with some bending of rules so that they don't fall into monopoly

c. so pay 0 for the content and cash the advertisement

That's one possible way. Remember, competition for the masses must be complete, unrestricted. For others, it's competition until they reach an agreement.
posted by elpapacito at 7:55 PM on April 16, 2007


Sorry, wrong example. I meant to say that Radio did destroy the recording industry, after all.
posted by basicchannel at 7:55 PM on April 16, 2007


RIAA Lawyer: See that goose!?
RIAA Lobbyist: Yeah! Its eggs are gold!
RIAA Analyst: That must neab it's all gold inside!
RIAA Exec: Yeah! Get my knives, we'll cut it open and be filthy rich!
posted by orthogonality at 8:03 PM on April 16, 2007 [7 favorites]


Last I checked, my packets didn't go through customs or anything. Hooray for pirate internet radio!
posted by mullingitover at 8:10 PM on April 16, 2007


Metafilter: That must neab it's all gold inside
posted by mr_crash_davis at 8:19 PM on April 16, 2007 [29 favorites]


When ears are outlawed, only outlaws will have ears. Hello, fellow outlaws.

Does anyone agree with me yet that the whole copyright/royalty system that exists today needs to be scrapped, or must we continue down this rabbit hole for a few more nightmares before humanity gets a frikkin clue?
posted by ZachsMind at 8:25 PM on April 16, 2007


Radio is advertising for music! And it's free advertising.

It's not free, it costs money to promote a song and get it on radio, that's why you have all these payola scandals breaking out.

As far as I can tell, the record label bribes the radio station to play a song, which pays royalties to the artist, who give a large portion of their album sales to the record label. Or something like that. Sounds like robbing Peter to pay Paul as they say. Considering how expensive payola is you'd think they'd be happy to have these stations playing their music.

I think it may have to do with fighting market fragmentation, where you have thousands of radio channels out there playing something different, so you're getting less of these huge profitable multi-platinum albums and too many barely profitable groups with their own cult followings. Seems futile to me but there you go.
posted by bobo123 at 8:26 PM on April 16, 2007


WWCDD

(what would cory doctorow do)
posted by Bighappyfunhouse at 8:27 PM on April 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


"Considering how expensive payola is you'd think they'd be happy to have these stations playing their music."

No, because sometimes these internet stations play the wrong music.
posted by klangklangston at 8:30 PM on April 16, 2007


Teach your kids how to play musical instruments, and learn yourselves. That is all.
posted by davejay at 8:31 PM on April 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Does anyone agree with me yet that the whole copyright/royalty system that exists today needs to be scrapped, or must we continue down this rabbit hole for a few more nightmares before humanity gets a frikkin clue?

If this was a humanity-scale problem, I'd be more concerned. This is strictly a US-based bit of insanity.

Goodbye jobs! Goodbye rights! You were fun!
posted by unixrat at 8:31 PM on April 16, 2007


There will still be internet radio, it just wont represent the major labels. Blessing in disguise?
posted by j-urb at 8:33 PM on April 16, 2007


This is good, because I was paying nothing for Internet radio and thus not directly enriching someone, which is bad.

Radio Nova is not based in the US, and apparently, US laws do not apply to non-US countries for the time being.
posted by geoff. at 8:34 PM on April 16, 2007


What will this mean for Pandora?
posted by chlorus at 8:35 PM on April 16, 2007


Luckily Last.fm aint american....
posted by gergtreble at 8:36 PM on April 16, 2007


How does one know if a song is 'creative commons' music or otherwise not affiliated with this bullcrap?

Does this also effect formal non-profit groups or unofficial not-for-profit internet broadcasters who have no money? Most podcasts and net radio shows I listen to don't have advertiser support and zero revenue. Most of them are either funded by the guy broadcasting or they accept donations and that's it. They can't pay royalties. They're lucky to have a 100 listeners at peak times. Do they get squeezed by this too?

If I made a podcast and eight people listened to it, I am actually worth the time of the RIAA? What are they gonna do? Confiscate my computer? It's not even paid off yet. This is not enforceable. This is utter absurdity with a capital stupid.

Speaking of stupid capitols, I'm not writing my congresspeoeple again cuz they ain't mine. Kay Bailey Hutchison didn't listen to me the last few times I bothered to send her letters. She does not represent me. She sends me form letters back that essentially say I'm full of crap and she's gonna vote however she sees fit. Eddie Bernice Johnson is a democrat but I can't find that she's taken a stand on this issue either way before. She seems more interested in the Iraq study group. Obviously she has more important things to do than represent me. And John Cornyn -- just lookin at his face I can tell he wouldn't be able to tell the difference between net radio and satelite radio. He probably still listens to The Beach Boys. Asking Congress to fix this?

We'd have better luck asking a room full of sugar crazed monkeys to fix a car.
posted by ZachsMind at 8:41 PM on April 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


I think it's insane and self-destructive, but it's probably about maintaining control.

This despite the fact that the music and radio oligopolies have throttled popular music in this country to the point where no one I know ever listens to anything on the FM band except NPR.

They would prefer to maintain a system where a few big companies can completely control the market thru massive advertising and payola -- even if the music they produce and sell is bland and/or repugnant.

Of course, the notion that this is precisely why they are losing their audiences doesn't seem to occur to them.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 8:43 PM on April 16, 2007


WWCDD (what would cory doctorow do)

Complain. Incessantly. Maybe throw in some indignant posturing. And then, gradually but with utter certainty, become distracted by knitted papercraft subway anagram cozies like a raccoon is distracted by something shiny. Then get a bad haircut and maybe another Apple tattoo, masturbate in a fit of gut-wrenching loneliness and call it a night.
posted by nathancaswell at 8:49 PM on April 16, 2007 [32 favorites]


Our rights are being squelched. We are a corporate oligarchy being paraded about as a league of nations. You think you guys on the other side of the Atlantic are immune to this just cuz you're not American? Think again.

Ecco's last dying words to Locke: You're Next.

I just recently started giving Radio KoL a second chance again. Guess I might as well not try to get hooked on it again, since it probably won't last much longer.

Here's a petition if you're the sort to believe this kinda thing will help. Another group called SaveTheStreams is involved as well. SaveNetRadio is apparently not the only group who still thinks we can work within the system to change it.

I think this might work better if these multiple organizations would join forces. Twenty little petitions aren't going to matter as much as one giant petition with millions of signatures might. Even if one petition got millions of signatures, it wouldn't do any frikkin good. Dollar signs is what turns the heads of your civil servants - your appointed leaders. They don't give a damn about you or what you listen to, unless you can buy them a second yacht.

I managed to get over a thousand people to sign my petition to get Rachel Blake on Lost and a hell of a lotta good that did. Nada. Zip. Nothing. Zilch. If a thousand people can't get Jamie Silberhart a steady gig, how can a million signatures save an industry? Seriously. We're all fucked.
posted by ZachsMind at 8:53 PM on April 16, 2007


I think it may have to do with fighting market fragmentation, where you have thousands of radio channels out there playing something different, so you're getting less of these huge profitable multi-platinum albums and too many barely profitable groups with their own cult followings

I think bobo123's nailed it. Best explanation I can think of. From the point of view of the big media conglomerates, a multiplicity of styles and tastes = bad. A handful of mega-mega stars that everyone listens to = good.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:53 PM on April 16, 2007


Email from Pandora:

Hi, it's Tim from Pandora,

I'm writing today to ask for your help. The survival of Pandora and all of Internet radio is in jeopardy because of a recent decision by the Copyright Royalty Board in Washington, DC to almost triple the licensing fees for Internet radio sites like Pandora. The new royalty rates are irrationally high, more than four times what satellite radio pays and broadcast radio doesn't pay these at all. Left unchanged, these new royalties will kill every Internet radio site, including Pandora.

In response to these new and unfair fees, we have formed the SaveNetRadio Coalition, a group that includes listeners, artists, labels and webcasters. I hope that you will consider joining us.

Please sign our petition urging your Congressional representative to act to save Internet radio: http://capwiz.com/saveinternetradio/issues/alert/?alertid=9631541

Please feel free to forward this link/email to your friends - the more petitioners we can get, the better.

Understand that we are fully supportive of paying royalties to the artists whose music we play, and have done so since our inception. As a former touring musician myself, I'm no stranger to the challenges facing working musicians. The issue we have with the recent ruling is that it puts the cost of streaming far out of the range of ANY webcaster's business potential.

I hope you'll take just a few minutes to sign our petition - it WILL make a difference. As a young industry, we do not have the lobbying power of the RIAA. You, our listeners, are by far our biggest and most influential allies.

As always, and now more than ever, thank you for your support.

-Tim Westergren
(Pandora founder)

posted by Roger Dodger at 8:53 PM on April 16, 2007


WWCDD

(what would cory doctorow do)
Shamelessly promote his own tepid novels while breathlessly describing the undeniable and unmitigated greatness of the latest random guy who pasted together two random songs?

I freely admit that my knowledge of Doctorow's modus operandi is several years out of date. I suspect that he probably is now shamelessly promoting his own tepid novels while breathlessly describing the undeniable and unmitigated greatness of the latest random guy who did some other thing, nowadays.
posted by Flunkie at 8:56 PM on April 16, 2007


How does one know if a song is Creative Commons and not RIAA? Can Internet radio stations just boycott all RIAA music and play independent stuff? I'm annoyed when a net radio station plays the best of the 70-00s anyway. If I wanted that I'd listen to conventional radio. This may be a blessing in disguise, but only if there's a way to tell what's Creative Commons or otherwise not subject to this insane royalty charge.

Petitions: Tell the starry-eyed idealists to agree on ONE petition. I ain't gonna go around signing twenty different freakin' petitions. I *might* sign one, if it's sponsored by all these different little groups banding together.
posted by ZachsMind at 9:02 PM on April 16, 2007


9834
posted by kosher_jenny at 9:02 PM on April 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


This is what I don't understand: who gets the money from royalties generated by my listening? Almost all of the music I listen to on Last.fm, Pandora or various Shoutcast stations is most definitely not RIAA-afiliated artists. Am I right in thinking that last.fm et al. will now have to pay royalties to the RIAA based on the length of time I listen to non-RIAA music, and none of the money will go to the bands I am listenng to or their (indie, European) labels? Have I missed something?
posted by nowonmai at 9:02 PM on April 16, 2007


Darn, that worked on live preview.

Luckily Last.fm aint american....
posted by gergtreble at 8:36 PM on April 16 [+]
[!]


I wonder if that means they'll just start targeting users who downloaded the radio player. I'm peeved because I only just signed up for them a few months ago and have discovered a bunch of great bands and buying their CDs as a result. Nothing from the big four though.

Soon you won't be able to whistle without getting fined.
posted by kosher_jenny at 9:05 PM on April 16, 2007


"Soon you won't be able to whistle without getting fined."

Don't worry Jenny. Again, this insanity is not policeable. Granted, restaurants can't sing Happy Birthday To You anymore, but you can still sing it with your friends if you want. The bastard that bought the copyright on that can't stop you from doing that.

Whistling is safe, unless you do it publically.
posted by ZachsMind at 9:08 PM on April 16, 2007


"Whistling is safe, unless you do it publically."

Uh-oh.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:11 PM on April 16, 2007


There will still be internet radio, it just wont represent the major labels.

These onerous fees are applicable to all copyrighted works, not just those of the RIAA.
posted by dirigibleman at 9:13 PM on April 16, 2007


I just filled out this petition. I suggest everyone do the same, even though at this late stage in the interwebs, it feels like an empty gesture, at least it's something.
posted by chlorus at 9:14 PM on April 16, 2007


(the petition I linked to is supported by Pandora, and I listen to Pandora, so there you go)
posted by chlorus at 9:15 PM on April 16, 2007


I don't recommend you do prank calls to 202-775-0101 but if you do, and I ain't suggesting you do, be sure to get your parents' permission first. Will I be fined now for linking to an mp3 file? Well technically I linked to the html page that contains the mp3 link, so I might still be in the clear. Just in case though I better get a lawyer.
posted by ZachsMind at 9:16 PM on April 16, 2007


So does this mean Shoutcast is a no-no too?
posted by davy at 9:22 PM on April 16, 2007


Garbage like this and that ridiculous "PERFORM Act" really piss me off.

Are internet radio stations really causing Shania Twain to go hungry? If you believe the RIAA, yes. I think that the RIAA is bordering on being a terrorist/organized crime organization, personally... just without the dark alley killings. (At least I'm unaware of any, but sometimes it wouldn't surprise me.)

I wrote to my congress critter about this. Didn't even get a courtesy reply postcard.
posted by drstein at 9:23 PM on April 16, 2007


Man, I'm listening to Elvis Costello on internet radio, and this shit is depressing me. A lot. To think, a month from now and it could be gone. Oh well, back to the torrents!
posted by chlorus at 9:24 PM on April 16, 2007


This is why I don't pay for music.

Actually what record companies are going to do is negotiate directly with large broadcasters, and force them to play crap along with the stuff they want people to hear.
posted by delmoi at 9:26 PM on April 16, 2007


And I certainly wouldn't recommend anyone do Denial of Service Attacks to http://musicunited.org cuz it might cause hair to grow on your palms or something.

RIAA: Has your service provider told you that you've been subpoenaed?
JH: A penis?
RIAA: [Long pause] What?

posted by ZachsMind at 9:26 PM on April 16, 2007


I wonder what the presidential candidates think on this one. I don't see people in the house or senate taking issue with this. It's not a big issue to them.

We have to get the presidential contenders on record. Be it through a town meeting, web chat, radio call in show, or whatever....

Then we blog the shit out of it....all the answers we get....video/mp3 proof of the stance. We then show support or displeasure.... THEN the shit hits the fan when they see their stance has so much positive spin or heat.

That's when they will notice.
posted by PreteFunkEra at 9:29 PM on April 16, 2007


When comic book collectors sell comic books, are they selling copyrighted material?

YES

Should they have to pay royalties every time they make a transaction regarding used comic books?

NO

If a CD store is selling used CDs, do they have to pay the original company a percentage of their profits?

NO

Is the download of an mp3 of a song that was copied from a used CD that was purchased previously in a store, and RIAA got their money from that first transaction, is that download taking any money out of the hands of the RIAA?

NO

Is the RIAA dicking us around?

YES
posted by ZachsMind at 9:33 PM on April 16, 2007


I've been boycotting RIAA labels for years now.

I don't see how much longer they can get away with pulling this shit.
posted by empath at 9:41 PM on April 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


I told Pandora months ago they needed to have a plan for moving overseas. I sure hope they can win this on appeal.
posted by Mr. Gunn at 9:46 PM on April 16, 2007


I think it's insane and self-destructive, but it's probably about maintaining control.

Exactly, they obviously believe they can profit more in the future by legalistically dominating a smaller tightly-controlled market than by competing on merit in a larger, more loosely organized one.

The only question is: just what will the nature of that tightly controlled little universe be in the end? How many customers will continue accepting their notion of what music is, how it should be distributed, and what it should cost in the face of radically changing circumstances? This is all that matters. Will they end up ruling in a tiny little Hell as it were, rather than serving in Heaven?
posted by scheptech at 9:48 PM on April 16, 2007


I wrote my congressman when this decision was first made, and I'll write him again. Go ahead and sign the petition. Then write your congressman. Seriously. Don't just say, "I really ought to maybe do that at some point," and then not do it. Do it.

Or, as MLK said, the only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to say, "I really ought to maybe do something at some point."
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:49 PM on April 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Yeah MLK would be PISSED about this.
posted by nathancaswell at 10:08 PM on April 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


That really, really blows. Internet radio is how I find new music. Not just major label stuff, but independents I'd otherwise never ever hear. If this ruling knocks the stations out of business, I'm... going to end up like my mother, who once asked me if Depeche Mode was a Christian band.
posted by katillathehun at 10:15 PM on April 16, 2007


Give me a break. This is not a battle of good and evil. It's just corporations trying to squeeze money out of a hobby we enjoy, not caring whether or not they destroy it.

That said, this is not just a lame internet petition. Messages will be delivered to Congressmen and Senators via e-mail, fax, or post. I encourage every American interested in the issue to take the time to fill out the necessary form. Leave a paper trail! Make sure senators know that this stack of paper that comes in to the office every morning is about internet radio. In a democracy, the only power is in numbers.

The RIAA doesn't care that you stopped buying their CDs on principle. They care that almost everyone has stopped buying their CDs. They will do whatever they can to keep their power and wealth. The only way to fight it is to influence politicians to not keep bending to the will of the industry.
posted by kyleg at 10:19 PM on April 16, 2007


nathancaswell, it was a joke.
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:21 PM on April 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm sure the international stations I've been listening to really care alot about this ruling.

Can we vote the RIAA off the planet and shoot their building into the sun?
posted by fenriq at 10:42 PM on April 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


For those with actual Usenet newsfeeds (not Google Groups) there's a lot of liberated music to be had.
posted by davy at 10:53 PM on April 16, 2007


Can we vote the RIAA off the planet and shoot their building into the sun?

That would be wasteful. I say we sell their building and donate the proceeds to all the folks who've posted songs (always freely downloadable!) to MeFi Music.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 11:10 PM on April 16, 2007


Yeah MLK would be PISSED about this.

Don't snark, MLK's corpse keeps up on all the latest tech news.

Did you know his corpse was spinning in its grave for three years in protest of Apple's all-white iPod line?

Even with a black iPod his rotting, fetid carcass is still dizzy from all those revolutions.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:23 PM on April 16, 2007


Between stuff like this and the whole debacle about Sony putting out DVD movies that won't even play on some Sony players due to new DRM, it's like the RIAA and MPAA want us to get our music and movies illegally.
posted by chrominance at 11:43 PM on April 16, 2007


Davy— Y'know, I'll cop to being born just a little late to ever make newsgroups really work for me. They seem like a pain in the ass; I don't feel like paying for a subscription to a newsreader service. Beyond that, I get more music than I can listen to for free right now. There are plenty of php boards around that use things like rapidshare and yousendit to ship music all over; there's also soulseek (the nouveau napster). Between that and the music that I do buy, man, I can hardly get it all in.
The only thing I feel like I'm falling behind on is new music. Aside from my localisms, I don't keep track of who's on the scene much at all. There was a recent article in the NY times about how music taste is more influenced by how many people like something than by how "good" it is, and I think that usually locally produced rock is just as good as anything I can get nationally, and cheaper too.
posted by klangklangston at 11:55 PM on April 16, 2007


OTOH, I have this hope that this will be just the shot in the arm that non-RIAA artists need, since domestic streaming radio stations won't be able to play anything else. I would seriously love this to to be one of the final paragraphs in in the RIAA's long suicide note.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:04 AM on April 17, 2007


Well klang, except for what I they play on the radio I lost track of new music a long time ago, but instead of listening to the same tired old Classic Rawk I branched out to classic jazz, classic blues and classic classical. I've also begun listening to the classical musics of other cultures/ethnicities, like gamelan and qawwali; maybe they're as tired and trite as the latest Godsmack wannabes but they're new to me.

Please let me know if some rock band does anything really drastically unprecedented, okay? I never understood what was so New! about, oh, Nirvana or Primus.
posted by davy at 12:08 AM on April 17, 2007


The US can bring pressure on its trade partners to follow RIAA wishes so internet radio outside of the US isn't necessarily safe. Think Sweden and The Pirate Bay (although that was the MPAA).
posted by who squared at 12:08 AM on April 17, 2007


"Please let me know if some rock band does anything really drastically unprecedented, okay? I never understood what was so New! about, oh, Nirvana or Primus."

You know that those bands started about 20 years ago now, right? You might want to come up with current straw men. I mean, Wyld Stallyns beat Primus in the Fourth Annual San Dimas Battle of the Bands.
As far as rock bands doing new, interesting stuff recently, here's a quick list of bands who I dig and who are stretching the idiom (more or less) in the last five years or so:
TV on the Radio, The Liars, Gravitar, Forcefield, Quintron, Comets on Fire, Mastadon, Need New Body, El Guapo, Saturday Looks Good To Me, Nomo, Rattling Wall Collective in Dutch, Michael Dracula, Experimental Dental School, Half-Past Human, McLusky, Human Eye, Clone Defects, Boris, Whirlwind Heat, The Ex, !!!, US Maple, Weird War, His Name is Alive, Paul Velat (Lord of the Yum Yum), Fiery Furnaces...

And then there are the huge, huge, huge number of bands who aren't doing anything new formally, but are putting out some of the best music ever, bands like Spoon and The Shins, Sloan, Brian Jonestown Massacre, Yo La Tengo, Spiritualized, The High Strung, The Avatars, The Dirtbombs, The Paybacks...

This is all just kinda off the top of my head, without getting too far away from rock. As for what I listen to, well, last.fm/honestengine has a record of about 70% of what I listen to, since the computer has become my primary music conveyance. But I do find it funny that you're bitching about rock not doing anything new, yet retreating into older music in everything but rock.
posted by klangklangston at 12:59 AM on April 17, 2007 [8 favorites]


kyleg: "The only way to fight it is to influence politicians to not keep bending to the will of the industry."

You appear to be under some illusion that politicians actually affect anything in the corporate arena. It's the other way around. Corporate interests buy politicians, and the politicians do what the corporations want them to do. They either do what they're told, or they don't get re-elected, or they don't get to stay in office cuz a scandal will come along that will conveniently force them to resign.

Then when they tow the corporate agenda, they pretend they're doing it for we the people. A thousand petitions are not going to trump money.
posted by ZachsMind at 1:00 AM on April 17, 2007


I may be speaking out of turn here, but I seem to recall in the previous Save Internet Radio thread, people pointed out that the RIAA is actually irrelevant. Royalties are collected for ALL artists, RIAA or otherwise, so playing non-RIAA artists only won't help you.

Anyone care to clarify?
posted by Jimbob at 1:03 AM on April 17, 2007


Back in the early to mid 90's I released 3 CDs of my songs, on a small indie label out of New York called Knitting Factory Works. The songs on those CDs (aside from a cover tune here and there) were all written by me, and registered with BMI, one of the radio performance-royalty collection agencies. Songs from those CDs received a certain amount of radio airplay on college stations in the US, and on public radio broadcasts in many European countries, especially during that particular period of the 90's, when I was doing a fair amount of touring with my band in the states and in Europe. I would receive quarterly checks from BMI, ranging anywhere from 20 or 30 bucks to, on occasion, 400 or 500 bucks. Whatever the amount, I can assure you it was always desperately needed. It was part of my income. Part of how I eked out (emphasis on the eke) a living as a musician. As to how this little bit of information will relate to the prevailing attitude that radio performance royalties are a de facto bad thing, I don't know. Just thought it was worth mentioning.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:08 AM on April 17, 2007 [2 favorites]


I may be speaking out of turn here, but I seem to recall in the previous Save Internet Radio thread, people pointed out that the RIAA is actually irrelevant. Royalties are collected for ALL artists, RIAA or otherwise, so playing non-RIAA artists only won't help you.

Anyone care to clarify?


The statutory webcast license covers any music protected by copyright, not just RIAA-affiliated artists. The only way around this is by direct agreements with every artist that you want to play.
posted by Jairus at 3:12 AM on April 17, 2007


As to how this little bit of information will relate to the prevailing attitude that radio performance royalties are a de facto bad thing, I don't know.

I, too, have earned a grand total of AU$4.50 from royalties...I think that came from being paid about 50c every time one of my songs was played on the radio, heh. That was on a radio station broadcasting to a potential audience of about 1 million people.

Radio performance royalties aren't de facto a bad thing, given how limited artists are these days from making money from actual CD sales. And that $4.50, despite paying for about half a packet of guitar strings, warmed my heart. This issue, however, is about prohibitively expensive royalties - the maths is all wrong, and the rules serve to kill radio stations outright, rather than return any fair and honest return to artists. And as in broadcast radio, there desperately needs to be a distinction between for-profit, commercial, advertising supported stations, and not-for-profit amateur or community stations.
posted by Jimbob at 3:41 AM on April 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


ccording to the linked NPR article, the new royalty scheme works like this

Example 1 : I broadcast for one hour , 1000 is the average of users during the hour , 30 are the songs played in the hour
0,0008 dollars is the royaly for each user

0,0008 * 1000 * 30= $24 fixed cost for one hour of broadcasting with 30 songs. Cut by half the song and you get $12/hour..that's still $120 for 10 hours..and you got to find advertisement to cover it..as people isn't likely to pay for music they can find anywhere else.

An average audience of 1000 isn't going to command significant advertisement prices..for the advertiser, the idea of going to medium name, extablished local FM radio is a lot more interesting even if they don't really know who is actually going to listen.

It's pure financial leverage and economies of scale..keeping medium players out of business where they would drive prices down by taking some market segments, offering opportunity to advertisers.
posted by elpapacito at 4:08 AM on April 17, 2007


Good riddance to internet radio. Now go play music yourself.
posted by spitbull at 4:44 AM on April 17, 2007


I'd like to, here and now, announce my candidacy for the position of Librarian of Congress. Who knew the position had so much power? I had been interested in the job just for the perks and what I imagine is a healthy, King Ralph-esque position in the presidential line of succession.

Judging by the findings of the current Librarian's panel, madness is a job requirement. Why else would a group aimed to promote the exchange of information amongst Americans levy such a stiff Thought Tax on streaming music? I am looking forward to Library Licensing Fees on checkout books and Speed Passes on 3M security gates.

My warchest swelled thusly, not even my horrible Librarian excesses will be enough to dwindle our coffers. No, the shall be enough monies left over for the War On Dewey, where LoC agents, both covert and overt, will flood the countryside converting local libraries to the One True System. It will be a trying time, and I expect some resistance. Luckily my previous program of taxing library entrants will have crippled the local supply of bums and winos that form the core of the local library mercenary armies.

I shall be a kind despot, so do not worry. When Sandy Berman is brought to me in chains, his dark hair long and braided, his cataloger's wode but a faded smear, I shall ask only that he kneel before my throne in submission. That act alone shall warrant him a swift, noble death, with no need for a lengthy torture session like the ones that brought Gorman, Roy, and Burger low, their corpses paraded through the reading rooms of the world.

So please, begin your letter writing campaign now. I have consulted the Sages of Widener and through gifts of the sweet crimson blood they require, I have won the portents of greatness. My envoys entreat the Dons of the Old World, so my support shall be global. We shall form great alliances and international library loan will prosper.

Oh, and I'll let internet radio stream music without a crippling tax. Because as a Librarian, I know how nice it is to have a tune break the silence.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 4:45 AM on April 17, 2007 [9 favorites]


It's pure financial leverage and economies of scale.

Don't forget the minimums.

Now go play music yourself.

Hmm. Where have I heard that before?

Every day I wake up,
Hummin' a song.
But I don't need to run around,
I just stay home.

And sing a little love song,
My love, to myself.
If there's something that you want to hear,
You can sing it yourself.

posted by eriko at 4:56 AM on April 17, 2007


Everything Is Free by Gillian Welch

Everything is free now,
That's what they say.
Everything I ever done,
Gotta give it away.
Someone hit the big score.
They figured it out,
That we're gonna do it anyway,
Even if doesn't pay.

I can get a tip jar,
Gas up the car,
And try to make a little change
Down at the bar.

Or I can get a straight job,
I've done it before.
I never minded working hard,
It's who I'm working for.

Every day I wake up,
Hummin' a song.
But I don't need to run around,
I just stay home.

And sing a little love song,
My love, to myself.
If there's something that you want to hear,
You can sing it yourself.

'Cause everything is free now,
That what I say.
No one's got to listen to
The words in my head.
Someone hit the big score,
And I figured it out,
That we're gonna do it anyway,
Even if doesn't pay.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:03 AM on April 17, 2007


eriko, I can't BELIEVE you quoted that same Gillian Welch song! And it was the same comment that made me think of it, too. Jeezis, I shoulda previewed!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:05 AM on April 17, 2007


Unless of course, we all started to make our own content - those who can and start playing the music of those who are not yet in the stables of the sonoliths.
posted by RubberHen at 5:27 AM on April 17, 2007


the stables of the sonoliths.

Uh... what's a sonolith?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:39 AM on April 17, 2007


Monolith crossed with son (sonic type son) is my guess.
posted by Wolof at 5:51 AM on April 17, 2007


Ah, ok. So these sonoliths... vibrate!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:04 AM on April 17, 2007


They'll never shut down eMule... Go donkey go!
posted by cowbellemoo at 7:02 AM on April 17, 2007


The statutory webcast license covers any music protected by copyright, not just RIAA-affiliated artists. The only way around this is by direct agreements with every artist that you want to play.

Everyone says this as if it were too ludicrous to be even considered. Yet, every podcast I listen to is well aware to stay clear of RIAA music, and generally uses music from the Podsafe Music Network or other open-license songs. I don't know if this has any legal standing, or if it's just a reasonable effort to be safe.

If I'm reading that 2005 agreement correctly, 45% of the royalties go to "featured artists" and 2.5% go to "non-featured artists". I didn't read anywhere of any amount going to the artists that are actually being played. I find that pretty objectionable. If internet radio isn't willing to boycott the labels, maybe it should die, so something more equitable can replace it.
posted by ken_zoan at 7:09 AM on April 17, 2007


I will not buy this internet—it is scratched.
posted by Mister_A at 7:18 AM on April 17, 2007 [2 favorites]


Good riddance to internet radio. Now go play music yourself.

Yea, except for my complete lack of musical talent, that's a great idea.
posted by octothorpe at 7:21 AM on April 17, 2007


That's why the Good Lord done invented Guitar Hero, octothorpe.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:46 AM on April 17, 2007


"As to how this little bit of information will relate to the prevailing attitude that radio performance royalties are a de facto bad thing, I don't know. Just thought it was worth mentioning."

No, no, no. Royalties are a fine thing. It's just that the current regulatory system means that you're less likely to earn them, as smaller places that are more likely to play emerging artists fold. And without another rate for noncommercial radio stations, it's a huge blow.
Though I will say that, on some abstract level, I do realize that you're getting paid less because I don't listen to the radio. It's just that I don't feel particularly bad about circumventing the radio.
Frankly, I'd be fine with seeing ads where my album covers show up on iTunes, or on slsk, or wherever else, if that money went back at a fair rate to the artists (paying royalties to listen to albums I bought, even!). Hell, if there were a plugin that did that, I'd install it right now. But the number of occassions when someone else is a better judge of what I'd like to listen to right then? Very few.
posted by klangklangston at 7:50 AM on April 17, 2007


I freely admit that my knowledge of Doctorow's modus operandi is several years out of date. I suspect that he probably is now shamelessly promoting his own tepid novels while breathlessly describing the undeniable and unmitigated greatness of the latest random guy who did some other thing, nowadays.

You forgot one step in Doctorow's M.O. nowadays: breathlessly get some major fact wrong in the name of sensationalism and then, if he's feeling particularly responsible that day, post an update from a reader later on correcting himself. Or post a very shamelessly worded commercial plug for a product and then end with, "Gosh, I wish someone would buy ME one of those." What I really want to know is if people actually do, or if he's just being a whiny bitch ...
posted by WCityMike at 8:05 AM on April 17, 2007


It's a pity, because the interwebs was the only place where you could still find "free format" (more like format-free) radio.

[geezer]Back in my day, there were DJs that would actually turn you on to new music, or rarities from old bands that you'd never heard of. I caught the tail end of this in the late '70s, just before the play-listed copy-cat stations started defining and marketing "classic rock" and relegating the good jocks to bad shifts before canning them altogether. [/geezer]

Radio is killing itself by trotting out the same formula in every market. If you ask me, the reason talk radio is so popular is because music stations play shit. Even long-time "classic rock" mainstay WYSP in Philly is now talk all day on the weekdays, because no one wants to hear the same Led Zeppelin song anymore. I think that a station that had the balls to have at least a few free-format shifts would do surprisingly well in today's vapid radio world.
posted by Mister_A at 8:05 AM on April 17, 2007


The odd thing is, I'm willing to pay for streaming radio. Over the past five or six years I've subscribed to several streaming stations. I pay for two services right now. Paying royalties to artists is great. I want to get money to them so they can continue doing things that I cannot but greatly appreciate. Hell, I even buy DRM-crippled crap put out by Apple when I find something I like there just because I see some money going out to artists I enjoy and line the pockets of the almighty Jobs at the same time. I figure every little bit helps in the war on Microsoft.

But I digress. The point is I cannot stand the arbitrary fee structure that puts traditional broadcast radio at such a competitive advantage. Their model is broken. The music distribution infrastructure of the middle to end of the last century is antiquated yet they are able to purchase preferred treatment because of their vast capital holdings. The absolute fear that grips every facet of my country, this inability to adapt to change, is killing me and you [speaking mostly to the US audience here] and possibly bringing the rest of the world down with it.

I hate sounding like one of so many chicken littles running about, but this blind adherence to past greatness is just madness. The latest ding on Internet radio is just another example of how so many voices go unheard because there isn't the concentrated funding behind them. Our country is the embodiment of "money talks, everything else walks" all rhetoric to the contrary notwithstanding.

They want to kill Internet radio? Fine. I'm just one step closer to hopping the first revolution train that comes my way. And, yeah, I know just how empty and shrill that sounds. Doesn't make it any less true.
posted by Fezboy! at 8:17 AM on April 17, 2007


What will happen, Fezboy! is that some non-RIAA entity or entities will publish and distribute music electronically, sign agreements with its own stable of talent, etc. Musicians, especially younger ones, are savvy about the internet; they are going to be very careful about signing contracts that hamstring their electronic distribution possibilities. And all the interesting music will continue to not get played on the radio.
posted by Mister_A at 8:24 AM on April 17, 2007


I'm the web director and a DJ at WRFL in Lexington, Kentucky. We're one of the better funded college radio stations out there, but we were already going to be in a crunch because we're upgrading our terrestrial broadcast power. We are currently streaming at 128kpbs, but I doubt that will last long now.

They have already made podcasting royalties way too expensive for us (or any other independent station) to bear.

This is incredibly frustrating.
posted by phrontist at 8:26 AM on April 17, 2007


Back in my day, there were DJs that would actually turn you on to new music, or rarities from old bands that you'd never heard of. I caught the tail end of this in the late '70s, just before the play-listed copy-cat stations started defining and marketing "classic rock" and relegating the good jocks to bad shifts before canning them altogether.

We still exist man! Listen to us while you still can.
posted by phrontist at 8:28 AM on April 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


SomaFM writes on their front page that their current operating costs are $15,000 a month. That's before the new royalty rates go into effect.

I wish I had something more to say in this space, but I'm feeling like one big sigh right about now. The RIAA can go fuck itself. There. There's my obligatory pejorative cuss of the day.
posted by Spatch at 8:51 AM on April 17, 2007


I suddenly have the urge to make a big Gillian Welch torrent and seed it forever.
posted by solid-one-love at 8:57 AM on April 17, 2007


phrontist, I'll tune in while I still can. Thanks.
posted by Mister_A at 9:05 AM on April 17, 2007


Forget Cory Doctorow. We need Christian Slater.
posted by Roger Dodger at 9:35 AM on April 17, 2007


David Byrne has written a very readable explanation of the
issues, the players, and the fees.

posted by the Real Dan at 9:38 AM on April 17, 2007 [2 favorites]


I broadcast a small internet radio station over live365.com. Money isn't my motive. I just enjoy music.

The most ironic part of this debate is that internet radio has dramatically increased the number of CDs that I purchase. I'm old-fashioned -- I don't download music or even buy it from iTunes. When I hear a song I like, I head over to amazon.com or cduniverse.com and buy the CD.

My behavior is in no way illegal or immoral.
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot at 9:41 AM on April 17, 2007


Cory Doctorow has done a great deal of good work on Internet law issues, particularly DRM, which is more than I expect his attackers in this thread have done.
posted by tranquileye at 10:04 AM on April 17, 2007


So you're saying he's a well-intentioned douchebag.
posted by nathancaswell at 10:07 AM on April 17, 2007


Being an artist on a small, non-RIAA-affiliated label, I'm working with the label owner to write up a document for internet radio stations to play the label's music royalty-free for non-profit stations.

We haven't worked out what to do with for-profit stations, yet.

Once we're done, we're going to notify all of the stations that have been playing the label's music that they can continue to do so without worry of running afoul of any royalty rate, and I encourage every truly independent band and label to do the same.
posted by chimaera at 10:37 AM on April 17, 2007


Seriously, I can't believe all the random Cory Doctorow bashing in here.

Wait, yes I can.
posted by iguanapolitico at 10:58 AM on April 17, 2007


Anyway, with regards to my original comment in this thread, after reading people's responses, I guess we are going to continue to cling to the ancient and outdated copyright/royalty thing instead of try to make something better.

We'll continue down this little rabbit hole like the stupid lemmings that we are, and no doubt be shocked when the Queen of Hearts chops off our heads.

Thank God I don't have to pay royalties every time I use a book or a tv show or a movie for a metaphor. I'd be in hock up to my eyeballs.
posted by ZachsMind at 11:26 AM on April 17, 2007



Anyway, with regards to my original comment in this thread, after reading people's responses, I guess we are going to continue to cling to the ancient and outdated copyright/royalty thing instead of try to make something better.


Yes we are, because it's worked pretty well over the last 100 years.

First of all, you don't pay a royalty "every time I use a book or a tv show or a movie", nor do you pay every time you listen to a song you bought from itunes or have on a CD.

However, you also don't pay if you hear a song on FM radio or on internet radio. Get the picture? YOU ALREADY GET MUSIC FOR FREE.
posted by Pastabagel at 12:01 PM on April 17, 2007


OMG our rights... wait... THIS is the issue people are worried about? If artists want to copyright their work and charge $1 million per song, that's their right... you don't have to freaking listen. Get over it. It's not like they're preventing YOU from making your own music and releasing it under creative commons or something.

You want free music? Ask artists to release it free. If they choose not to, you can agree to their terms or not. It's pretty simple. This isn't some human rights issue.
posted by wildcrdj at 1:01 PM on April 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


All I want is a frickin' radio station that plays music I frickin' want to listen to.

With lasers.
posted by dhartung at 1:11 PM on April 17, 2007


I just came across a streaming radio site that is, in its own way, probably the WFMU of Romania.

They apparently have a huge library, and I don't think they are going to be particularly concerned if you want to listen.

You're right, wildcrdj, this isn't a human rights issue, it is a common sense one. If musicians whose work I don't already know want me to buy their work, I have to have a way to listen to it and despite their business model, I want to hear it free-or at least as free as it was on AM & FM radio when I was growing up. Advertising or subscription fee, sure.

I don't think that artists have to release it "free"--I think maybe you are confusing streaming with p2p. I don't want to keep a copy, I just want to hear it. On last.fm, I can hear it, but not on demand, which is OK, too.

But because of this royalty issue, someone has given me the tip to Radio 3net online, which does have on demand. So as long as they are broadcasting, I'll be listening.

It'll be sad though if this recent ruling forces great folks like WFMU offline, or any number of NFP streaming radio stations who are concerned about music first.
posted by beelzbubba at 1:26 PM on April 17, 2007


This isn't some human rights issue.

No, it's more like a quality-of-music issue. Many of the people in this thread are freaking out because this move is likely to hurt the artists, especially small artists, not just because they want to listen to music for free. Most internet radio plays music you can't hear on the airwaves -- now that internet radio stations can't afford to play music, nobody can hear that stuff anymore. This is not good for the artists involved, to put it mildly.

Oh, and this?
"You want free music? Ask artists media conglomerates to release it free. If they choose not to, you can agree to their terms or not. It's pretty simple."

I fixed it for you.
posted by vorfeed at 1:28 PM on April 17, 2007


I used to love listening to the radio. It was a friend and a teacher. I wanted to bea part of it. Then it got stiff and boring and repetitive. Internet radio seemed to offer hope of returning to the good days. Now that's over and I'm stuck with Clear Channel or NP-fucking-R. Thanks a lot, world.
posted by jonmc at 1:48 PM on April 17, 2007


"Ecco's last dying words to Locke: You're Next."

Thanks a lot, I'm at the beginning of season 2....
posted by melt away at 2:16 PM on April 17, 2007


Hey melt away, don't worry. Locke isn't next.
posted by emelenjr at 2:24 PM on April 17, 2007


And what will be left when the world of internet radio is laid waste by the Librarian of Congress?

Apocalyptic tunes for troubled times.
posted by mmrtnt at 6:14 PM on April 17, 2007


And finally, this, after everyone else has left the building on this thread.

"The RIAA, which was representing the record labels, presented some testimony about what they thought a willing buyer would pay to a willing seller, and it was much higher. It was ten times higher than what radio stations pay to perform the same songs for the same period of time. And so the attorneys representing the webcasters asked the RIAA, . . . 'How do you come up with a rate that's so much higher? Why is it worth more than radio? Because here we have hundreds of thousands of webcasters who want to pay, and that should establish the market rate, and if you set the rate so high, you're going to drive the small webcasters out of business. . . .'

"And the RIAA experts said, 'Well, we don't really model this as an industry with thousands of webcasters, we think it should be an industry with, you know, five or seven big players who can pay a high rate and it's a stable, predictable market.' (Emphasis added.)

"Translation: The aim is to use the law to eliminate competition, so that this platform of potentially immense competition, which would cause the diversity and range of content available to explode, would not cause pain to the dinosaurs of old. There is no one, on either the right or the left, who should endorse this use of the law. And yet there is practically no one, on either the right or the left, who is doing anything effective to prevent it."

From a post quoting Lawrence Lessig (without a link to the original) on Techdirt
posted by mmrtnt at 6:25 PM on April 17, 2007


Thanks for the links, mmrtnt.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:51 PM on April 17, 2007


Hey klangy, thanks for the list of bands; maybe I'll find a way to hear 'em if they're on the Net somehow.

And remember, a synonym for "old enough to be your dad" is "irreparably senile."
posted by davy at 8:32 PM on April 17, 2007


Wasn't there a sky-is-falling post about internet radio last month? Did something change since then?
posted by smackfu at 8:41 PM on April 17, 2007


Seriously, I can't believe all the random Cory Doctorow bashing in here.

Cory Doctorow is Metafilter's new Jason Kottke -- a minor celeb that people who don't have the chops to become equally minor celebs focus their resentment on, because he's apparently just that tiny slice of internet pressed meat higher on the foodchain.

Also, fuck the RIAA. But anything that can be digitized can be found on the somewhere on the net -- they're just forcing net radio underground, inadvertently making it cooler thereby, and, as someone else said upthread, dotting the i's and crossing the t's on their long suicide note.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:06 AM on April 18, 2007


ZachsMind writes "Dollar signs is what turns the heads of your civil servants - your appointed leaders."

Please don't confuse civil servants with politicians. Money is not what drives the vast majority of the civil service or they wouldn't be in the civil service.
posted by Mitheral at 4:29 PM on April 18, 2007


Hahahah, yeah I want to be a minor Internet celebrity but I don't have the chops. That's why Cory Doctorow rubs me the wrong way.

Look out everyone!!! Hannibal Lecter has entered the thread, reducing me to my fundamental self with the overwhelming deductive power of his amazing intellect!!!
posted by nathancaswell at 4:34 PM on April 18, 2007


Well, there is the distinct possibility that you're just a driveby asshole with a superabundance of exclamation marks, but I was trying to be generous, and general, rather than specific. Thanks for playing!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:06 PM on April 18, 2007


Why did Primus bother recording a faithful cover of "Duelling Banjos"?
posted by davy at 11:29 PM on April 18, 2007


Well if I have to pick I guess I'd rather be a drive by asshole than a failed Cory Doctorow.
posted by nathancaswell at 11:51 AM on April 19, 2007


Aye, good point.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:22 PM on April 19, 2007


Then get a bad haircut and maybe another Apple tattoo, masturbate in a fit of gut-wrenching loneliness and call it a night.

His gut isn't what is being wrenched.

Where is my unicorn chaser?
posted by srboisvert at 4:32 AM on April 23, 2007


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