Internet radio companies are preparing for a battle with the Copyright Royalty Board that could lead to the Congress and – many fear, the end of streaming music stations in the United States. Most Internet radio stations are independent from major media companies that own the majority of traditional radio stations. As a result, webcasters play a far more diverse selection of music than broadcast or even satellite radio. Several Internet radio companies are arguing that a recent decision by the Copyright Royalty Board (a three-member panel under the Library of Congress), would make it almost impossible for them to stay afloat. Under the ruling released on March 2, web broadcasters must pay every time a listener hears a song, at a rate that began at 0.08 cent in 2006 (the ruling applies retroactively) and rises to 0.19 cent in 2010. Besides increasing the charge for each song, the ruling established a $500 minimum payment for each Web channel. In all likelihood, many stations will be bankrupt if forced to do this.
As an independent recording artist, I have had my music played over several internet radio stations, thus reaching a wider audience. As a listener, I am able to check out new music from Europe and other continents besides the US, and be introduced to newer artists, whose music I buy if I like, and whose performances I will attend if they are in my neck of the woods. These internet radio stations support my music, and let me in turn, support other artists. They also support new music and artists that in all probabilty will never be played on traditional radio stations because their music doesn’t fit the stations’ format, or because they are unknown. Click on the link to the right if you would like to know more, and if you want to help, please sign the petition.