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Internet Radio's "Last Stand" 316

Posted by kdawson
from the see-i-told-you-there-was-a-wolf dept.
We've been discussing the plight of Internet radio for some time, as the Copyright Royalty Board imposed royalties that industry observers predicted would prove lethal to the nascent industry. We discussed Web radio's day of silence in protest, which won the industry a reprieve, and the futile efforts to find relief in Congress. Now it's looking as if the last act is indeed close. Death Metal Maniac sends along this Washington Post story with extensive quotes from Pandora CEO Tim Westergren, who said: "The moment we think this problem in Washington is not going to get solved, we have to pull the plug because all we're doing is wasting money... We're funded by venture capital. They're not going to chase a company whose business model has been broken." The article estimates that XM Satellite Radio will pay "about 1.6 cents per hour per listener when the new rates are fully adapted in 2010. By contrast, Web radio outlets will pay 2.91 cents per hour per listener." That's 70% of projected revenue for Pandora; smaller players estimate the hit at 100% to 300% of revenue.
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Internet Radio's "Last Stand"

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 16, 2008 @04:22PM (#24628695)

    (I have to pay $0.08 for every person reading this post because of the subject.)

    • by omeomi (675045) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @04:32PM (#24628775) Homepage
      I love Pandora. I listen to it almost constantly while I'm in front of my computer. I've found a ton of new bands that I love, and after discovering them, I've often purchased their music, either on CD or from iTunes. Shutting down Pandora would really suck.
      • Pirate Radio?? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by cayenne8 (626475) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @05:11PM (#24629083) Homepage Journal
        It is too bad that things like Pandora will go away.

        You know, it seems that we need to try to take lessons maybe from the Pirate Radio stations of the past and present that operate on the fringe, or in areas untouchable by the powers that be.

        Too bad we can't do some kind of distributable P2P type application, that would allow anyone to run streaming music/video into the ether....but, is untraceable as to origin. Some type of freenet type thing for streaming content. That way, anyone could set up a Pirate Internet Radio Station (PIRS ?).

        Is anything like this possible I wonder?

        • Re:Pirate Radio?? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by grantek (979387) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @05:47PM (#24629363)
          Meh, instead of a technical network like that, where everyone's living in fear of being shut down, I'd rather a more logical/social network, where people can, get this... create free music under CC/similar licenses and let other people actually listen to it...
          • Re:Pirate Radio?? (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Das Modell (969371) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @06:00PM (#24629473)

            Yes, because at this moment it's not [fragmentmusic.net] possible [mono211.com] to create [thinner.cc] free music [uran97.com]. We totally need a network for that sort of stuff, which will also somehow solve the problem of Internet radio dying.

          • Re:Pirate Radio?? (Score:5, Informative)

            by cayenne8 (626475) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @06:20PM (#24629643) Homepage Journal
            "Meh, instead of a technical network like that, where everyone's living in fear of being shut down, I'd rather a more logical/social network, where people can, get this... create free music under CC/similar licenses and let other people actually listen to it..."

            Trouble is...they way things stand as I understand it...even if you play ONLY indie, free music, you are still subject to SoundExchanges fees. I think they collect even for people not registered to them....the laws passed were pretty sweeping if I recall from older Slashdot discussions on this.

            So, to get by even that...I was thinking of some kind of Pirate Network Radio thing on a P2P or Freenet type network.

            • Re:Pirate Radio?? (Score:5, Insightful)

              by morethanapapercert (749527) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @08:53PM (#24630765)
              You are right in thinking that Soundexchange even collects money on behalf of artists it doesn't represent. The theory is that Soundexchange collects the money and if the artist isn't represented by Soundexchange then the money gets divvied up between AFTRA [wikipedia.org] and AFM [wikipedia.org]. The non-represented artist then has to ask those two bodies to cough up the monies owed. Since AFTRA and AFM are unions, I would assume that you need to be a union member to get your cut. If performance fees were collected from a radio station's local garage band show, those local garage bands would need to scrape up the cash to join the union before they got to see that money. And I am sure that as long as they are just local bands playing for beer and an open stage, the union dues would amount to more than the performance right royalties.

              However, I'm pretty sure U.S. laws still only apply to operations actually *in* the U.S., unfortunately, all of my favorite Internet radio stations are in the U.S. Despite that, there are many good stations out there that are not located in the U.S., worst case scenario I'll have to switch to one of them. (There's some good indie metal coming out of the Nordic countries these days anyway and I've always had a liking for some of the grungier J-rock)

              I see no reason why "pirate" Internet Radio hasn't already sprung up all over the place. Find a host somewhere overseas who offers cheap bandwidth and set up a paypal account for your donations. It's easy enough to configure your sample rates and maximum allowed connections to keep under your hosts bandwidth cap. The only problem I can think of is finding a very cheap host who allows you to set up a Shoutcast/Icecast what-have-you server. I've oft been tempted to do just that myself, if only for my own use, but it strikes me as a way of going broke slowly. (Which is what i gather many of the existing Internet Radio stations are doing anyway.)

              One last thought, I find it weird as hell that record labels have gone from paying DJ's to play the songs they felt needed promotion (Payola" [wikipedia.org]) to having to hit the DJ's over the head with a legal club to force them to pay for the privilege of promoting the band's material. They've cleverly but evilly managed to turn a marketing and promotion expense into another revenue stream, and it's one I have no doubt that the artists themselves don't get a piece of.

            • Re:Pirate Radio?? (Score:5, Insightful)

              by magus_melchior (262681) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @03:01AM (#24632615) Journal

              ... even if you play ONLY indie, free music, you are still subject to SoundExchanges fees.

              That, above anything the recording industry has done-- aside from possibly the litigation/extortion campaign-- gets my goat. The nerve of those people, claiming to collect royalties for people who didn't ask for compensation of any sort. The fact that Congress let them collect and pocket indie music royalties, at rates decided by a few appointed-by-RIAA judges, is one of the best examples of how truly evil the recording industry is.

              I have to ask those of you who are artists, lyricists, composers, and managers trying to scrape by under the cartel labels: Seriously, what makes you think that the execs who green-lighted the driftnet lawsuits, or the suits at SoundExchange with nothing better to do than sue people who play loud boomboxes in garages, give a rat's ass about how you're struggling to make a fair living? I'm betting that in order for you to get their full promotional and distributive services, you have to sign away the copyrights to your songs and become contractually obligated to make more at a factory's pace. Meanwhile, their lobbyists continue to tell Congress that a human's lifetime plus a half is still not enough to recoup the losses-- they want the copyright term to be longer and more indefinite. They're not going to let your work go where it can be seen or heard by everyone, they want to be the gatekeepers who dictate who gets to hear your works, when, and for how much. All they have to do to keep the prominent artists on their side is to entice them with lots of money and swag, and all they have to do to keep the lesser-known artists is to handcuff them with the contract, and/or feed them the RIAA propaganda that even a fleeting reference is a stolen song.

              That a judge hasn't struck down the Bono amendment to the Copyright Act as unconstitutional, or the fact that SoundExchange essentially makes money off the backs of all musicians has not been challenged in the judiciary, is appalling on many levels.

      • by JCSoRocks (1142053) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @05:13PM (#24629101)
        Me too. Pandora is *awesome* (I'm listening to it now). I started listening to net radio back when di.fm was still DigitallyImported.com and I needed a little music while I was coding.

        Now though... I work from home, I don't have a stereo with a radio in it. My only radio is internet radio. This is garbage. Ironically this will mean that RIAA and the like will be getting much less of my money. I'll be finding fewer bands whose music I like, buying fewer CDs as a result and they'll be getting no revenue from the Internet radio I listen to. I'm not sure what makes them think this is a good business choice.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by jagdish (981925)
        I am more concerned about SomaFM. I love the Perl scripted robotic RJ.
      • by Znork (31774) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @03:25AM (#24632685)

        I've found a ton of new bands that I love, and after discovering them, I've often purchased their music,

        See, there's the problem. You finding new bands dilutes the revenue stream of the big players in the music industry. Web radio reduces the value of payola, distribution control and marketing. It reduces the artists dependency on crap contracts, and gives them a larger chance of succeeding on merits.

        The very flexibility and customer use of web radio is what pits it against the industry interest; it allows people to build their own taste instead of having it built for them.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by JustOK (667959)

      I read it twice (bad memory), then read it to three friends. How much do I owe?

  • Thats really unfortunate. Corporations and the government can be thanked for limiting competition due to greed and in effect slowing down the potential rate of our innovation. I can only imagine what our country would be like if we had invested into our country just a portion of the money spent on war. Massive revamp on transportation with maglev trains across the country, and increased standards of living without the devaluation of the dollar. Pandora is innovation, and even its results (wide array of
    • In pure capitalism, the MAFIAA would have long been driven out of business. But they are doing something they should not be allowed to do: interfering in the government, buying laws for themselves.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by symbolic (11752)

        Ultimately, the responsibility lies with the consumer. We can blame the government all we want, but where the market is concerned, the buck does stop here. Literally. The real problem is that consumers have become lazy.

        • by Devout_IPUite (1284636) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @06:04PM (#24629509)

          When laws are passed that drive a company out of business because it's no longer economical to consume their product (internet radio), that really is the government and not the consumer's fault. When a transaction is taxed for more than anyone is willing to pay for it, it stops happening legally.

          • by symbolic (11752)

            Perhaps, but we, as consumers, keep handing money over to the entities that are responsible for this madness. Keep these entities in check, and these kinds of problems will be much less pervasive.

            • by Firehed (942385)

              We tried that. Then they started suing us. And in almost all cases, winning. Face it: the system is fucked.

            • Personally, I tend to be an ethical shopper. I won't purchase products from various evil companies. GE, Nestle, and Kraft being a few that leap into mind as particular abominations. At the same time, my vote is being choked out by a million other consumers who buy whatever happens to be on the display case. And some things like the latest CD from artist X or Microsoft Windows, there is only one producer. I can't buy organic non-tobacco company copies of Yellowcard's latest CD. I would if I could.

        • No, it is the government. Say all you want but us consumers have come up with good solutions such as torrents, internet radio, etc. But it is the government that is shutting them down.
          • by symbolic (11752)

            I'm talking about natural market forces, not ways of circumventing copyright. In fact, several of the "solutions" that you've mentioned are in part, responsible for the situation we have now.

            The government is shutting them down, but only because of lobbies belonging to certain entities that want them shut down.

            • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @06:27PM (#24629707)
              The difference is, the RIAA is not a normal business. If I refuse to eat at a restaurant and a bunch of like minded people do to, chances are it will go out of business. When people boycott the RIAA they see it as a loss and think OMG PIRACY!!1!111! and use that as an excuse to pass more draconian laws.

              Sure, after a long time (50 years or so) the RIAA will be bankrupt and disband, but not before taking the US and any other "free" country to 1984.
      • In pure capitalism, the MAFIAA would have long been driven out of business.

        Much like communism, the laissez-faire brand of capitalism that I assume 'pure' stands for can't work. In fact, unregulated capitalism would literally be corporately-run communism.

        Without regulation, the biggest company wins absolutely everything. The biggest company has the the best deals, the best resources, the best connections, the broadest selection of goods and services and absolutely no other business can compete short of doing something that Mega Corporation Inc. hasn't thought of yet... and no do

    • Exactly (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gerf (532474) <edtgerf@gmail.com> on Saturday August 16, 2008 @04:57PM (#24628983) Journal

      They'll claim that there will still be "radio" on the internet offered from regular radio stations. However, that is only a gimmick and advertising to promote another separate business (the original radio station), and means that an entire industry is being destroyed.

      This move makes no sense other than to "test the waters" to see how far they can push business before they go bust.

    • by modmans2ndcoming (929661) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @05:11PM (#24629093)

      What we see in the US is not capitalism, it is corpratism, an unholy alliance between large corporations and the government. This is why you see laws created to make more profit for large companies, and bail outs from the government to large companies who lose a substation amount of capital due to bad business practices.

      If we had real capitalism in this country, even capitalism with regulated markets (you know, laws to live by, like every other Individual has to follow) we would have a lot more innovation and new industries would rise up over night because they do not have to contend with being killed in the crib by a new law passed to favor established markets.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by jollyreaper (513215)

        What we see in the US is not capitalism, it is corpratism, an unholy alliance between large corporations and the government. This is why you see laws created to make more profit for large companies, and bail outs from the government to large companies who lose a substation amount of capital due to bad business practices.

        I do find this amusing. I grew up in the 80's and got my first dose of "how the world worked" then. The Ruskies are commie, the good guys are capitalist, and we've got the white hats so we know we're right.

        Then I read up more on communism and find out that it's never really ever been tried. Sure, the Ruskies and Chicoms say they're running communism but they aren't. In fact, the ways that their systems diverge from communism are antithetical to the very nature of communism! The state is supposed to become u

    • by BitterOldGUy (1330491) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @05:13PM (#24629099)
      Corporations and the government can be thanked for limiting competition due to greed and in effect slowing down the potential rate of our innovation.

      Ah, that's the Dark Side of greed.

      The Light Side of greed sparks innovation because folks have an incentive to make money by creating something new.

      The Dark Side always goes after the weak: the ones that can't innovate. It promises easy money, high barriers to entry with laws and regulations, keeping the status quo. Some greed masters like Masters Jobs and Wozniak break into a field of greed. They, being great greed masters, broke IBM along with another, though maligned greed master, Gates. But even then, The Dark Side can even ake the best of us as it did Master Gates. He seams to be coming back to the Light Side with his charity work.

      Pay heed young greed patiwan, the Dark Side is always there for the lazy!

      • I see entirely too much light from Master Jobs to consider him a paragon of the dark side. He's more balanced per se (Like Master Windu), since we do still see continuos innovation coming out of his company. Master Gates on the other hand has shown very little for love of innovation (love for malaria victims doesn't really seem to fit into this analogy unfortunately for Master Gates).

      • by fyoder (857358) * on Saturday August 16, 2008 @06:22PM (#24629659) Homepage Journal

        Some greed masters like Masters Jobs and Wozniak break into a field of greed.

        That's not entire fair to Woz [wikipedia.org]. Jobs may have broken in, but Woz more or less stumbled in, and then reduced his role after a plane crash. He still has associations with Apple, but he's no "greed master" like Jobs or Gates. He's the sort who upon getting rich realizes he doesn't need to keep on with his day job, and moves on to more interesting things.

      • by jadin (65295)

        Padawan [wikia.com] not patiwan.

        Please hand over your nerd card sir.

    • by Tuoqui (1091447)

      Adapt or Die!

      The internet radio should do 100% indie music and flip the bird to the RIAA and their 'royalties'. Not only would it be a big blow to the RIAA (since they would no longer be gaining free publicity well technically publicity that is being paid for by someone else!) but they'd be promoting independent bands, who will more often than not not demand royalties since they'd be getting free publicity.

  • by Newer Guy (520108) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @04:40PM (#24628829)
    SoundExchange has to ask itself this: Do we want 50% of something, or 100% of nothing? The fees placed on Internet radio are STAGGERING! No one can afford them. If SoundExchange wants ANY revenue, then they have to be realistic enough to share in the growing pains of this infant business as it tries to gain traction. Otherwise, they will have NOTHING! Of course, so far they have shown that they are too STUPID and too DISCONNECTED FROM REALITY to see the light! This might have something to do with a fact that they are a division if the RIAA and it's obvious that in this case the apple doesn't fall far from the tree!

    They also need an educational rate for colleges and schools and a non-commercial hobbiest rate for small 'bedroom' Internet stations

    • by Etrias (1121031) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @04:48PM (#24628901)
      SoundExchange doesn't care. As a branch off of the major labels, the death of internet radio as we know it is almost a best case scenario. Once gone, they can shape the market the way they want to see it without interference from innovative small radio pioneers. This has less to do with getting money than it is about having a stranglehold on the internet market.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Thaddeaus (777809)
        I was just about to reply with the parents exact comment.

        The one thing I would add though is that when SoundExchange/whatever giant corp decides to push internet radio, they're just going to turn into an internet Clear Channel so all you get the same song over and over and over and lots and lots of ads.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by pxlmusic (1147117)

          is there any end in sight to this gross manipulation?

          sadly, i think not. as an indpendent musician, this makes me sick. at the same time, there is still college radio and shows at which to whore out my musical wares.

    • by anagama (611277) <obamaisaneocon@nothingchanged.org> on Saturday August 16, 2008 @04:49PM (#24628903) Homepage
      You're missing the point -- they aren't thinking in terms of "half of something is better than nothing" -- they're thinking in terms of stream rippers. They WANT internet radio to die.

      Obvious solution -- broadcast from Venezuela. Chavez probably won't give a rip about the RIAA.
      • by TheCastro (1329551) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @04:53PM (#24628945)

        Actually I have a buddy who broadcast using a server in Sweden, they don't care and if anyone busts in the bunker to get to the servers they explode, yeah they're hard core about server rights.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by JohnBailey (1092697)

        You're missing the point -- they aren't thinking in terms of "half of something is better than nothing" -- they're thinking in terms of stream rippers. They WANT internet radio to die.

        Right aim, wrong motive... Streamed internet radio is ok on a pair of PC speakers... but hardly full quality like a good CD rip. Especially once it is put into a new format, and compressed even further. What is much more dangerous to the big labels is...UNSIGNED OR INDEPENDENT ARTISTS!

        Internet radio can play anything and everything. No predefined time slots, no specific genres, and each listener can have something different. And if it is tagged and suggestion based like Pandora or LastFM, then it can sugge

    • by Devout_IPUite (1284636) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @06:11PM (#24629571)

      The record companies don't want the revenue from internet radio, they want it gone. Internet radio allows easy discovery of music, something that the record industry has a pretty solid monopoly on currently. If they give up that monopoly, they risk becoming obsolete and actually having to work for their bread.

  • by Girtych (1345935) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @04:40PM (#24628831)
    The more I follow the story of the fate of internet radio, the more I boggle over the collective stupidity of the Copyright Royalty Board.

    By raising the rates, they're practically ensuring that they're not only pissing a lot of people off (almost everyone I know uses Pandora, for instance), but they're taking their revenue stream and choking it to death. Tons of net radio broadcasters are going to be forced to shut down over this, and I wouldn't be at all surprised if it means that, despite the increased royalty rates, they actually make far less in fees in the long run. And that goes doubly so for Pandora, which is one of the best ways I've seen for music fans to find new artists and new styles of music they may never have considered before. So much for that revenue-boosting avenue.
    • by Adambomb (118938)

      I entirely agree, but there may have been a few briefcases full of hookers who are full of money involved to tip the balance.

  • Silly Record Execs (Score:4, Insightful)

    by WiiVault (1039946) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @04:41PM (#24628845)
    I just don't understand why shareholders of the major record companies don't revolt. These jokers in charge seem dead set on destroying the "industry". Boneheaded moves like trying to keep new music away from listeners is just asinine. Radio is how many people find new (or old) songs for the first time. Clearly net radio is a huge market, why shoot themselves in the foot in the name of short term greed.
    • I just don't understand why shareholders of the major record companies don't revolt.

      They're probably content to believe the pablum being fed to them by the executives of the RIAA members instead of actually researching the market for themselves.
    • Clearly net radio is a huge market, why shoot themselves in the foot in the name of short term greed.

      It's not their own feet that they're blowing holes in. They're shooting everyone else straight through the heart.

      That is the problem with both the movie and the music industries: they have repeatedly shown themselves to be utterly unenlightened capitalists. In other words, they really don't care who they hurt as long as they get their way. Now, that's to be expected when you consider that all the large
  • More arbitrary fees (Score:4, Interesting)

    by blue l0g1c (1007517) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @04:42PM (#24628849)

    What if I'm the owner of an internet radio station that plays only music that has become public domain through the consent of the owner or the expiration of copyrights?

    Or perhaps I only like to play songs by artists who sell their CD's for less than the industry standard. Say, $5 a CD. Will my fees be lessened?

    The artists really need to get involved. Laws like this are taking away more revenue than they are generating. For example, last.fm will recommend a group based on what I've been listening to. More often than not, I will listen to more of that group's music. If I like it, I find out if they are coming to a venue nearby. I go to the show and buy merchandise, because I know that's the best way to get money into the right hands.

    It's kind of what I imagine FM radio used to be, but we all know what happened to that.

    • by anagama (611277)
      Umm ... if the RIAA doesn't control the rights to the music, it can't collect any royalties. Internet radio won't be dead, US based broadcasts of RIAA music will be dead.
      • Internet radio won't be dead, US based broadcasts of RIAA music will be dead.

        Yes, that is exactly right. And that means we should be more determined than ever to support pop culture which is sustainable, i.e. NO RIAA music. Sadly, most people really are passive "consumers" of entertainment, but it certainly doesn't have to be that way.

        Personally, I've been creating, buying, and listening to RIAA-free music exclusively for over two years now. When that music goes offline it will pretty much a non-event f

      • No *legal* broadcasts of internet radio will be dead in the US. All this law is going to to is turn legal radio stations into pirate radio stations overnight.
      • Umm ... if the RIAA doesn't control the rights to the music, it can't collect any royalties. Internet radio won't be dead, US based broadcasts of RIAA music will be dead.

        As I understand it, the law as written requires payment of royalties regardless of whether the music in question is "owned" by the media cartel. Twisted as this is, they're way ahead of you there. I suspect that a U.S.-based Internet broadcaster won't be able to get out of paying these royalties by just moving the servers out of the coun
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by cayenne8 (626475)
      "What if I'm the owner of an internet radio station that plays only music that has become public domain through the consent of the owner or the expiration of copyrights?

      Or perhaps I only like to play songs by artists who sell their CD's for less than the industry standard. Say, $5 a CD. Will my fees be lessened?"

      The trouble is...if I recall correctly, somehow, they passed laws that anyone streaming content...is subject to SoundExchange fees...regardless of if you use RIAA or other content of providers t

      • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 16, 2008 @05:52PM (#24629403)

        disclaimer: i have inside connections with the bigwigs of major music labels. i despise their business model but they are good people. therefore my information below comes from their mouths

        you are incorrect. any music soundexchange collects royalties for is subject to fees. an artist has to register to soundexchange in order to collect royalties. its pretty open and shut. except for this little tidbit: if you are an indy artist and a jukebox plays your music in a bar but your music is free.. soundexchange is collecting money on your behalf. your only option to ensure your music is free is to enforce your copyright and tell the bar to remove your music from the soundexchange-tethered jukebox. downside of that is your music won't be heard unless you can somehow convince the bar owner to replace the jukebox with a jukebox that allows free music to be played on it (but this creates a huge liability for the owner. see the problem?)

        similar things happen with the radio, except you have to negotiate your own royalty deal with radio stations. generally they won't play music unless the general public knows who you are. the big 4 can throw money at billboards to garner interest and then pressure the radio station into playing them.

        artists need to break away from the big 4. the original mp3.com was perfect for this... then they sold out and that, my friends, killed the internet radio star.

    • by westlake (615356)
      What if I'm the owner of an internet radio station that plays only music that has become public domain through the consent of the owner or the expiration of copyrights?
      .

      Then you can expect to lose your audience to the stations and services which can pay the fees. The stations and services which have full access to over one hundred years of recorded music.

      The classical music fan expects to hear Bernstein and The New York Philharmonic.

      The country fan Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison.

      In any musical genre ther

  • Royalty Pricing (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TheCastro (1329551) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @04:43PM (#24628857)

    It's such a joke. we aren't going to have free radio anywhere anymore. Hardly anyone listens to XM or Sirus (hence the merger) and the radio already has so many ads that it takes more effort than its worth to constantly flip stations.

    I was going to start using Pandora off my iPhone at work and on the way to work along with my normal playlists, but I'm afraid that web radio stations aren't going to make it after this price point.

    I'm sure Pandora will stick it out since 30% of it's profit, will still be profit, but most places with limited ads on their sites will either have to increase their ads or ad revenue to stay afloat and knowing how little companies like to pay for advertising space this wont work out well for them.

    I'm sorry everyone who listens to music for free, but doesn't download illegally, it looks like the music industry knows no bounds in how to FUCK PEOPLE OVER.

    *sad face*

    *middle finger* (D.C. beltway style)

    • by calmofthestorm (1344385) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @04:56PM (#24628977)
      Ah well, back to piracy for me.
      • by GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) <almafuerte&gmail,com> on Saturday August 16, 2008 @05:23PM (#24629175)

        There is a point when trying to fight the society with it's own rules is futile.

        Think about what this sick society orders you: You have to believe in stupid jesus, you can't smoke pot, you can't have privacy, you can't listen to music, Save on your energy use so the big industries can have more oil for them, You can't say shit on tv, blah blah blah!!!
        B U L L S H I T.

        Screw them, most of what we do daily to maintain some level of freedom in our lives is illegal. If you really abide by all the rules, pay all the taxes, and stick to stupid society's moral rules, YOU ARE NOT ALIVE, you become a Zombie.

        I'll sniff, drink, believe, take, download, copy, share, do, read, write, think, say, modify, film and build WHATEVER THE FUCK I WANT.

    • Re:Royalty Pricing (Score:5, Informative)

      by Kamots (321174) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @05:14PM (#24629109)

      You're confusing profit with revenue.

      Profit is what is left over after you pay for servers and bandwidth and salaries and everything else.

      Revenue is what you take in before you've payed for all of that.

      The fees are hitting 70% of the REVENUE.

  • it won't die (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    No. Internet radio will not die. It will just move outside the more and more draconian USA.

  • by Newer Guy (520108) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @04:53PM (#24628949)
    Do the math. .016/hour times 24 hours in a day = 38.4 cents a day. 38.4 cents a day times 30 days equals $11.52 a month. XM only gets 12.99 a month for their fees-so the rights are something like 94% of their income. They simply can't make any money with what's left! The only thing I can think is that they have some kind of formula that estimates the average hours listened to by a subscriber-remember thats'a no way to actually know what listeners are listening to and for how long they're listening as well (like broadcast radio, satellite is a one way broadcast technology). I suppose the new Arbitron people meter will make things easier for them, as it also will survey satellite radio stations that are encoded.

    Remember that Internet radio's rates are almost TWICE as high as satellite's. The only thing I can come up with is that SoundExchange WANTS to put Internet radio out of business for some reason-that's the reason they're setting rates as high as they are!

  • by Yxven (1100075) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @04:55PM (#24628967)
    before you die? I started listening to Internet radio seven months ago. Since then, I haven't listened to my MP3 collection at all, or been on any file sharing networks to expand it.

    I've been exposed to and promoted countless new bands that I never would have heard of on my own.

    ...and now they want me to go back to my MP3 collection? Surely, they're not dumb enough to believe that I'll go back to Clear Channel? Right?
  • A small correction (Score:5, Informative)

    by knarf (34928) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @05:00PM (#24629013) Homepage

    *US based* internet radio's last stand...

    Don't forget... In the free world US laws do not apply...

    • by pembo13 (770295) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @05:03PM (#24629035) Homepage
      Hahaha... that's funny. You know the US isn't afraid to "free" any country that needs "democracy" right?
      • Yes, there's no doubt that the US will invade and occupy any country that continues to operate Internet radio stations.

        Jesus fucking Christ.

      • by corsec67 (627446)

        So then when are we going to invade ourselves to make us a Democracy?

    • by Iloinen Lohikrme (880747) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @05:29PM (#24629217)
      True. I have to say that I really don't care anymore about Pandora or other Internet radio stations after I found Deezer [deezer.com]. The thing I liked about both Pandora and Last.fm was that I could listen songs freely which lead into a habit of skipping songs or creating a new radio station just to listen the song again. I think that many people used Pandora and Last.fm this way. Now with Deezer I have the freedom to play whatever songs whenever I like to, that's the way I like it, so there is no need for Pandora or Last.fm anymore for me. In addition now Deezer caters decent radio stations based on more or less on their own selection. Pandora's and Last.fm's idea about having smart radio stations wasn't bad, but having your own customized playlists allow more freedom to you and pre-selected radio stations offer better and more coherent content than any smart selection.
      • by shark72 (702619) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @05:57PM (#24629453)

        The caveat about Deezer is that it's a European operation. Deezer and other European sites offering similar services are allocating money for royalties while the European versions of SoundExchange figure out just how in the hell things are going to work.

        If the royalty rates come in as expected, then great -- Deezer and their ilk will be going strong. But if European royalty negotiations go the way they have here in the US, Deezer might be the next to go.

    • by dotwaffle (610149)

      Yes, unfortunately, they do. Copyright infringement doesn't matter which border it crosses. Although Cliff Richard's songs of the 50s are becoming out-of-copyright (on the recordings) in the UK, I still can't get US music from the 40s as it's under copyright. Go figure.

  • SomaFM (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Thaddeaus (777809)
    Listening to SomaFM Lush as I sit at my computer. Sure, they ask for money once or twice an hour and there's definitly some repeating (but I love 95% of the songs, so who cares), but I can't imagine what it'll be like with no internet radio. Sad, just sad.
  • by shark72 (702619) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @05:45PM (#24629345)

    ...then please consider paying the $3 a month to subscribe. Seriously.

    I know the sentiment is that we don't want to pay for music unless it's in the form of a DRM-free, lossless file which we can give to all of our friends. We want it for $0.10 per track, and when the industry makes it available for $0.10 a track, we'll just say that we want it for $0.05 a track and go about our swashbuckling ways.

    I fully understand that Pandora does not meet this requirement. It's just not their model. I just ask that you think of it it this way: does Pandora give you $3 worth of musical enjoyment a month?

    Mainstream radio sucks. Supporting Pandora gives each of us a chance to be part of the solution, not the problem.

  • Internet radio will live forever

    It just won't contain the overdubbed pop tarts and overworked back catalog of the RIAA. I'm ok with that. The sooner we hear the last of them, the better.

    • by Chyeld (713439)

      What you may not realize is that SoundExchange is the mandatory collector for EVERYONE. Even if you release your works under CC license and explicitly say "no royalties for 'web radio'" in your license, the operator still has to play the fee.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by symbolset (646467)

        What you may not realize is that SoundExchange is the mandatory collector for EVERYONE. Even if you release your works under CC license and explicitly say "no royalties for 'web radio'" in your license, the operator still has to play the fee.

        That's not legal. No matter what the law says, that's not legal.

  • by gessel (310103) * on Saturday August 16, 2008 @06:07PM (#24629531) Homepage

    This is just yet another example of how the current copyright regime is prima facia unconstitutional.

    To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries

    Copyright is not a property right; copyright is an agreement between the public and authors & inventors creating a privilege [wikipedia.org] of limited exclusive right as incentive for dissemination of ideas because otherwise authors & inventors have only the choice of keeping their inventions secret or sharing them that the recipient does what he or she will with the information without limitation, which is the natural right [wikipedia.org] of the recipient.

    Any mechanism of securing exclusive right to the author or inventor must meet two tests to be constitutional:

    • the term of the exclusive right must be limited (that is it is not a property right),
    • the mechanism must demonstrably promote the progress of science and the useful arts.

    An attempt [nytimes.com] was made to test the absurdly long exclusive term against the "limited" requirement and that failed because any finite term is by definition limited.

    The test that must now be made is against the requirement that copyright laws "promote the progress of science and the useful arts." The burden of proof should be on demonstrating that the laws do promote the progress of science and the useful arts because copyright is a limitation on the rights of the public and therefore intrinsically a burden on society. In granting copyright society temporarily yields their natural right to a privilege offered authors & inventors, a privilege that may be revoked at any time. [uchicago.edu]

    Current copyright laws do not pass the test of promoting the progress of science and the useful arts; they are a burden on innovation and have systematically retarded the progress of science and technology, strangling many significant innovations, once again with internet radio. Current copyright laws are therefore unconstitutional.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Dhalka226 (559740)

      Current copyright laws do not pass the test of promoting the progress of science and the useful arts; they are a burden on innovation and have systematically retarded the progress of science and technology, strangling many significant innovations, once again with internet radio.

      I would agree if you changed that to read "patents" instead of copyrights. Internet radio is a technology; the creation of the technology is already complete, and there are still players in that market who will work on incremental i

  • I'm curious, how does college radio factor into all this? The station in my city plays all kinds of music, jazz, indie, metal, mainstream, you name it. AFAIK they don't pay the music industry a dime to do this, but they don't make any money either. Once a year they hold a funding drive that basically pays for the transmitter and equipment. Does this fall under fair use? Or am I wrong in thinking they don't pay royalties for what they play?
    • Well think of it this way, if I download some music from TPB for non-profit use and leave BT on and it uploads to another person using it for non-profit use, the RIAA can still sue you for some insane amount of $$$. College radio may be an exception, but I wouldn't count on it.
  • Honest question (Score:2, Interesting)

    by dogmatixpsych (786818)
    I'd like the RIAA to become extinct but I have a serious question. Is there anything the RIAA does that is good? I'm not looking for any negative replies - I know all the negatives. I'm just wondering if someone can tell some of the positive things that they do. There has to be at least one thing positive.
  • by AnalogDiehard (199128) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @07:48PM (#24630337)
    Music lovers are leaving FM broadcast radio in droves because of greed.

    All the FM stations got bought out by Clearchannel and other conglomerates, and they all play the same songs broadcast from a central location. No more local DJs, no more local news, no more local weather, no more local music.

    FM radio puts an emphasis on back catalog - rarely is there any new music that appeals to me. I do not care for hip hop, rap, etc. There is no variety in music, and there is a lot of music out there (esp independent labels) that is not getting played on FM radio.

    Payola has pushed the independents out of FM radio. Nobody wants to admit that there is a white elephant in the room. Because the radio conglomerates have gotten greedy, the music variety suffers.

    The obesity of advertising - way too much of it - has driven listeners away from FM radio. They are tired of the high ad-to-program ratio of program time. Radio conglomerates got too greedy when they consolidated all the FM stations and then tried to raise revenue through advertising.

    The end result is a mass exodus of listeners away from FM radio. Many of my friends no longer listen to radio and they listen to songs on their ipods, their mp3 car radios, their internet radios, etc.

    Independent labels found an outlet through internet radio and former FM radio listeners are embracing it enthusiastically. The FM radio lobby is extremely powerful and they conspired to use the royalty fees to drive the internet radio out of the market. That is not how capitalism is supposed to work.

  • by Reziac (43301) * on Sunday August 17, 2008 @03:31AM (#24632711) Homepage Journal

    The solution is simple, if draconian: stop playing music that isn't available royalty-free. And then either the royalty mafia notes the loss of the advertising force that comes from a wide listener base, and changes their grasping ways... or we all develop different tastes in music, and life goes on without royalty-impaired music.

    In fact, here's a handy link to Digital Gunfire's royalty release form (used by permission):

    http://www.digitalgunfire.com/radioplayrelease.rtf [digitalgunfire.com]

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