Driving on my way home, I received a notice from our Internet service provider, Live365. Now I couldn’t read and drive, but I did see some disturbing information.
“…some of our stations (Personal Broadcasters) will not be issued a new license for 2016 so they might stop broadcasting at the end of December.”
Basically, our radio station along with hundreds of other broadcasters on the network will be forcibly shut down. It all goes back to the decision by the Copyright Royalty Board to essentially raise royalty rates.
The music licensing terms under which small and medium sized Internet radio broadcaster have been operating since 2006 are about to expire. At the same time, a special provision called the Webcaster Settlement Act of 2009 is set to expire in the new year, ending a 10-year period in which low-revenue online radio stations could pay lower royalties to labels than those paid by Pandora and other big webcast brands.
On December 16, the CRB released webcast rates for 2016-2020. Those rates are projected to be raised 500% percent on small internet broadcasters. Live365’s primary revenue comes from small and medium sized hobby broadcasters like Smooth Jazz and More.
This announcement coincided with the loss of Live365’s financial investors, forcing an immediate financial crisis. The company drastically laid off staff, vacated their long-time headquarters in Foster City, California and is desperately trying to find new venture capital to survive.
I’m pissed! Pissed at SoundExchange for being greedy! I’m pissed at the CRB for not being specific on their royalty plan! I’m pissed at Live365 springing this so close to the beginning of the year! But mostly, I’m pissed that 14 years into our internet radio station’s existence, after begging and pleading for help in keeping us alive, we may be seeing the writing on the wall with the help of a couple of bureaucrats.
After January 1st, you might not be able to hear us. Many independent music artists won’t be able to get heard, and that’s not fair.