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Doom and Gloom for Web Radio 118

DailyTech posted interviews with the founder of Pandora and management from Proton Radio (and Proton Music) asking them what SoundExchange's latest rulings mean to them. A lot of net radio stations are dreading the upcoming changes in royalty rates, which are said to be around 400%... a number that would bankrupt most of the industry. An interesting read for anyone who uses online radio.
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Doom and Gloom for Web Radio

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  • what are the royalty rates like up there?
  • Meh... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by FlyByPC ( 841016 )
    Do a lot of people actually listen to streaming audio from Web radio stations? I would think I'm more likely to hear what I want by listening to my own mp3 collection, than by relying on someone else's idea of the perfect mix.

    I'm sure the DJs do a good job of coming up with a mix of songs that work out for most people -- but for any given individual, I would think the best mix would always be one they chose themselves.

    I mean, what Web radio station is going to play Weird Al, Jimmy Buffett, Francis Cabr
    • SOMA FM (Score:5, Insightful)

      by charnov ( 183495 ) on Sunday September 02, 2007 @09:57AM (#20440707) Homepage Journal
      I have been listening to SOMA and Bartok radio for years. It's wonderful stuff and a lot better than whats on broadcast radio. It all flows together and they get new stuff inserted in there, too.

      It's a lot better than listening to all my stuff I know by heart and just hitting 'shuffle'.
    • Re:Meh... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ContractualObligatio ( 850987 ) on Sunday September 02, 2007 @09:58AM (#20440717)
      In terms of choosing tracks you like, you have a strong argument.

      However, if your approach to life is that predictable gets boring, or you like the idea of hearing things you've never heard before, then you can see how the "best mix" for some of us cannot be comprised only of artists we already know.

      But there's also the question of what you're in the mood for. I like having the choice of radio vs. my own collection. If I'm in the mood for my own selection, I've got it. If I want to hear new stuff, there's the radio. And with both a wide selection of stations and services using predictive algorithms to select tracks I might like, I have a lot of control over the degree of randomness in the mix of music I get from the radio.

      It's that mix of my music vs. radio that's the important thing for me - I confess it's a small part of my listening time is to internet radio. But a small percentage across millions of potential audience members is enough to justify the internet radio stations. Unless royalties are raised so high it puts them out of business.

      The point of most markets (and commercial arrangements) is to find a price suitable to both parties. Pricing internet stations out of the game, when they could otherwise provide a useful service to a niche market, is an abuse of power. It's a bad thing.
    • by Shimmer ( 3036 )
      Yes. Some of us still like to be surprised, be exposed to new music, etc.
    • Check out Radio Paradise, which plays eclectic mostly-pop/rock (but some jazz and blues and electronica and country and occasional classical). [] You'll likely hear a lot of stuff you already like, and hear some new stuff too. You'll never hear anything new listening to your own CDs.
    • by nurb432 ( 527695 )
      There must be an audience, or the industry wouldn't be cracking down on them to force them out of business ( except the industry sponsored ones of course ).

      Sort of like spam, it wouldn't be there unless there was money to be made.
    • I find a lot of new music by listening to Shoutcast, the same way I found new music when I listened to "normal" radio. Most channels play a certain genre or style of music, and not a random mix of everything as you seem to expect. SomaFM []'s Drone Zone, for example, only plays ambient [], so you won't be hearing any "popular" music there.
      • I'm into NewAge music, such as Vangelis, Enya, David/Diane Arkenstone, etc. and I've NEVER heard a radio-frequency-based station that played these and other artists, thus I find that the [] NewAge channel to be right up my alley.. As for finding new artists in a given music genre, I couldn't say how many previously-unknown-to-me artists I've heard on that station that become instant favorites with me... For those not familiar with, they have "stations" for just about every music genre
      • I haven't tried SomaFM, but I do listen to Radio IO Ambient via iTunes. I liked it enough to actually send a few bucks their way.
    • Re:Meh... (Score:4, Informative)

      by eli pabst ( 948845 ) on Sunday September 02, 2007 @10:27AM (#20440999)
      The problem with just playing your own mp3 list is that you're not exposed to anything new. I'm not a big fan of DJ'd web music for the very reasons you list. I prefer Pandora, which basically takes the Songs/Artists you like, deconstructs them according to their fundamental nature (like dynamic male vocalist, major key tonality, rhythm guitar, etc) and then using some complex math finds other types of music based on those properties. You then fine tune it using a like/dislike button. It actually works very well and I've found some new music that I really like. Plus I don't find myself fast-forwarding through songs like I do on Yahoo's music service.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Svartalf ( 2997 )
      Considering that it's at least slightly harder to collect MP3's of new Renaissance Festival
      and Celtic music (It's doable, because it had to be to be able to listen to the stream in
      the first place...) because the media moguls have determined that this style of music isn't
      available through them- YES. The same can be said of many of the web radio stations.

      This isn't about someone picking and choosing the "perfect" mix of MP3's as you put it. It's about
      being able to listen to things that the radio stations an
    • Re:Meh... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Gerzel ( 240421 ) * <> on Sunday September 02, 2007 @10:46AM (#20441241) Journal
      The thing is where did you get that music and hear it in the first place?

      A lot of these radiostations, offer more than just music, but also commentary and talk. I've heard a lot of artists for the first time on net radio. Some of the songs I've heard over the net are tapes and recordings where the only copy exists at the station itself or are from local artists who don't have big record deals.

      Every artist listed in the above post is main stream.

      How about Becket and Frenz, Kraftwerk, or atomisk? How about traditional German, African, or any other ethnic music that isn't run through the pop-radio filter?

      What is being taken out here are the artists, music and sounds that DON'T often have a record label or that you probably haven't heard of. Good stuff, that deserves to be aired. Granted perhaps most of it doesn't fit the tastes of enough people for it to belong on a major channel, but that doesn't mean it isn't good enough to be played and shared over the radio, either through the spectrum or the wires.

      This is an important issue, and if net radio goes down, even if you don't listen. Just wait till they get around to your corner of the net.
    • Actually, does a really good job of playing what I like without playing what I don't. Check it out. Although I use it mostly to discover new music I like thats similar to music I've heard already...
    • You might like to think that your have weird musical taste, but based on your list of artists, you are pretty "normal".

      There are internet radio stations that play stuff that simply isn't available anywhere... or would take dozens of hours to track down and purchase. One such station is LuxuriaMusic. I'm sure there are other, but that is the one that I listen to.

      Provide a way to easily purchase the songs in their playlists and THEN we can talk about how unnecessary web radio is.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      It's not just a jukebox playing a set of music. There's a DJ, who talks to the listeners, and builds a rapport with them, adding variety and features to the show. That's why drivetime radio in the morning and evening is so popular - people like the DJ as well as the music he's playing. There's also the prospect of being introduced to new music you've never heard before.

      I DJ (or rather, I present a show, since I'm not spinning decks) on EVE-Radio, a web radio station for the MMO EVE-Online, and I can te

    • ***Do a lot of people actually listen to streaming audio from Web radio stations? I would think I'm more likely to hear what I want by listening to my own mp3 collection, than by relying on someone else's idea of the perfect mix.***

      Probably not. Definitely not if Verizon is their ISP. I can rarely hold a stream for as much as hour without restarting using either WIndows or Linux. But it is important to those looking for programming that is not available locally. E.g. expatriates desiring programming f

    • I never listen to all of my music at once. I'm not sure how other people listen to music, but I get into music "Moods." It's a bit jarring to come out of Tchaikovsky into Pantera. Web radio absolutely kicks ass for this. If I want to listen to Oldies, 80s, 70s, 70s AND 80s, etc. There is a radio station for each.

      Second, my favorite 2 stations are and Techno4ever. I listen to techno when I code because it sets a good pace. I haven't found a place to listen to music like that other than web radi
    • Then you might like satellite radio, though it is a pay service. I have discovered more new stuff that I love (Shiny Toy Guns, Clear Static, Daughter Darling/Natalie Walker, Jesus H Christ and the Four Hornsmen of the Apocalypse, etc etc) via Sirius over the past few years than I ever did listening to either regular radio or net radio. That being said, it is a pay service and while it's not prohibitively expensive it isn't cheap either. The only real advantage it has over net radio -- until net radio goes a
    • Do a lot of people actually listen to streaming audio from Web radio stations? I would think I'm more likely to hear what I want by listening to my own mp3 collection, than by relying on someone else's idea of the perfect mix.

      I am one of those who listen more to streaming audio than to the XM service I subscribe to. The reason...I enjoy listening to non-US stations who will play music you will never hear on a domestic stream. Plus...since many of the stations I listen to are commercial stations with fu
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by meatspray ( 59961 )
      I'm a systems engineer for a mid sized company. Yes, many people listen to streaming radio.

      Though a lot of people these days have easy access to mp3's, many people don't feel that bringing their pirated music to work is a good idea.

      Add that to the people who have mp3's but can't justify getting an mp3 player of a adequate size, add in the group that can afford it, justify it, but are simply too lazy to get one and those that are afraid of leaving their players around their desk and you have a booming numb
    • Well' Uhm Pandora will after you rate a few songs.
    • Your missing the point. too tired to explain it to you. all I can say is sometimes ya think about someone other than yourself.
    • ím pretty sure that there are at least 100 radio stations that would have your playlist.
    • I love music and have a huge and varied collection. That collection is great and I enjoy it immensely, but there is so much music out there to experience that I haven't heard.

      There are some great net radio stations that I can tune into and hear all sorts of fantastic music that is new to me. If I like a piece of music, the artist and info is right there and I can get that music easily if I wish. Services like Pandora even tailor a set of music to your taste based on your suggestions, which can be tweak
  • by ClaraBow ( 212734 ) on Sunday September 02, 2007 @09:25AM (#20440477)
    Web Radio has been a great vehicle for me to discover new music. I have bought a lot more music lately because of discovering new artists which I heard through Web Radio. I Don't know why the industry is hell-bent on destroying a good thing for both the music industry and the consumer. I just don't get it! I'm mad and frustrated...
    • Because they don't own and fully control the web radio stations?
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Sentax ( 1125511 )
      I agree, I've found so much new music on web radio that didn't hit the FM waves for at least another 2-3 months, it was like I was looking into the future. I've DJ'd for 10 years plus and the source for being on top of those new songs was web radio. Call it a keen knack for knowing what songs will work but it seems that I could predict a popular song way before it was popular, then I had it ready to play for people when they ask, all because of Internet Radio... I'm also mad and frustrated.

      If the aver
    • by hazydave ( 96747 )
      And you're precisely why Web Radio is such a threat! You must be stopped at all cost!

      For decades, the major labels and, quite often, major radio stations have worked, increasingly in collusion, to limit your exposure to music. In particular, they're concerned about independent label music, unsigned bands, etc... anyone they don't own to whom you might be targeting your cashish, which should "rightfully" be theirs. This is precisely why Big Radio has done everything in their power to shut down the local low-
    • They invest 100's of thousands of dollars. They control the radio and put the music into circulation. A small core of entertainment magazine pick it up and they can more-or-less run the campaign from top to bottom. More importantly after having done their research and worked out their business model they know where to invest that money and they see a return.

      But internet radio completely skews that model. Artists get exposure. Free radio makes it impossible to seriously influence who gets played. What arti
  • I'd like to see Webcasters move to jurisdictions that sound exchange cannot touch and end this BS once and for all. Russia comes to mind.
    • claims:

      > Before this ruling was handed down, the vast majority of webcasters were barely making ends meet as Internet radio
      > advertising revenue is just beginning to develop.

      so moving all or part of their business off-shore doesn't sound realistic. (caveat: is a partisan group looking out for the webcasters, so they wouldn't of course tell us if the webcasters were making money hand over fist, so you'll have to apply your own reality filter to this.)

      Americans will pro
    • That will work for a few months, until the RIAA uses the WTO to come after them as well. Look at what happened to Allofmp3, for example.
      • by jmauro ( 32523 )
        AllOfMp3 is in operation again based on the fact according to Russian Law they did nothing wrong or voliate copyright. Don't you read Slashdot []
  • by ducomputergeek ( 595742 ) on Sunday September 02, 2007 @09:32AM (#20440527)
    Royalties kill the internet radio star....
  • by bit trollent ( 824666 ) on Sunday September 02, 2007 @09:33AM (#20440545) Homepage
    What do nerd libertarians that listen to internet radio think about this?
  • Doom has been ported to everything in existence, so it was only a matter of time before it became playable on Web Radio. It will be interesting to see Gloom running though, since I don't have much reason to bring one of my Amiga 1200s down from the attic these days to play it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MrCopilot ( 871878 )
      Doom has been ported to everything in existence, so it was only a matter of time before it became playable on Web Radio.

      I know you are joking but, I open Amarok and click Radio, Shoutcast, Game and 40 stations pop up many of which include Doom1,2,3 Level music, in regular rotation.

      Not to mention the plethora of sites like h p []

      Sometimes its comforting.

  • Isn't the assault on internet radio really being perpetrated by the media overlords like Infinity and Clear Channel who own US politicians and see any encroachment into their space as competition?
    • by Svartalf ( 2997 ) on Sunday September 02, 2007 @10:51AM (#20441295) Homepage
      Actually, it's the RIAA labels doing it. SoundExchange charges royalties on behalf of RIAA members and others- it is
      the creation of RIAA, in reality. Now, think about it... They largely have control over the media markets through
      the means and connections they already have with Radio- but don't have any positive control over anything in the
      case of web radio. Very probably never will because the bar to entry is very shallow. Sure it kind of scares the
      ClearChannel's of the world, but in the end, it's just another format for them to step into. In the end, they can
      compete decently well in that space- but there's still no way to control you or I stepping up to the plate and putting
      out stuff that's got NOTHING to do with the labels. Classical. Renaissance. Celtic. And, so forth.

      RIAA's members and RIAA themselves do not like that thought at all.

      They exist right at the moment to strip mine what we call culture right at the moment. In order for them to maximize
      profits (and make the Daytraders happy...) they need to have nearly absolute control on what comes out as usable
      music, etc. so that they can extract every dollar they can out of us. Well, so long as people don't realize they're
      getting short-changed by these jokers.

      Web Radio was helping people find music that the big media conglomerates (You had it right- just the wrong conglomerates)
      like Sony BMG, Warner, etc. just have no interest in backing and producing content for- EVER. They don't want that.
      Which is why we're here now, discussing this.

      The players involved with the compulsory licensing should not be involved in setting the pricing, etc.

      Someone that doesn't ever touch content covered by the licensing should not have to pay for it- if they've
      got deals with all the performers that are being given "airtime" online, they shouldn't have to pay and if
      they break the rules, then they should pay a dear price for that act of infringement.

      But, that's not what is going on, now is it?
    • Funny that you mentioned Clear Channel. I have be listening to 850KOA (Denver) and KFI640 (LA,OC) (They are owned by Clear Channel)from my internet connection in Calgary Alberta. Anyway one day they had blocked out my Canadian connection until further notice. I am able to continue listening to them through a proxy server tho. Its unfortunate that the RIAA and their greed will be the doom of many artists.
  • I'll stick with for my online music, thank you very much.
  • I really hope Pandora isn't affected by this.

    Its the only internet radio station I listen to, because it offers up music I haven't heard before but is based on my previous preferences. I'm worried my taste will stagnate without it.

    • (Score:2, Informative)

      pandora IS affected why are you listening to it anyway? is much more efficient and has a much wider range than pandora. like you i first found pandora but now i only listen to you can be more selective and in general it is better at guessing.
      • IS affected why are you listening to it anyway? is much more efficient and has a much wider range than like you i first found but now i only listen to because it lets me criticize other people for their musical tastes and i can pretend that i'm better than other people even though i never learned what the shift key is for on my keyboard.
      • by Mike89 ( 1006497 )
        I also use, but I still think Pandora is much better. Sure, will introduce me to similiar bands, but sometimes I find specific tracks from a band that aren't really like the rest of their music. Then, I enter that specific track, and get to hear more like it. hasn't 'recommended' me anything I like, but my neighbours have (infact I ended up meeting one of my neighbours and now we've been dating for 5 months :P. Thank you!)
        • fair enough... i *do* know what you mean - if you are into the beaatles then you are screwed because the beatles had a go at playing pretty much every type of popular music around at the time....
 is also interesting though personnally i prefer over everything
          its sad to hear can't recommend you anything.. i have quite obscure & varied music tastes though so i find it better.

          but my neighbours have (infact I ended up meeting one of my neighbours and now we've been dating for 5 months :P. Thank you!)

          thats the first time i've heard of being used as a dating service... but well.. why not?! i'm

          • by Mike89 ( 1006497 )

            its sad to hear can't recommend you anything.. i have quite obscure & varied music tastes though so i find it better.

            Well, I tell a lie. The few times I did use their radio service I heard songs I liked that I now listen to, but I don't make a happy of it. I usually download tracks my friends/neighbours are listening if they sound interesting

            thats the first time i've heard of being used as a dating service... but well.. why not?! i'm glad its useful for somehting to you even if its no

  • by cdrguru ( 88047 ) on Sunday September 02, 2007 @10:42AM (#20441191) Homepage
    There is certainly a market for "Internet radio" in some form. It just isn't a market that pays anything meaningful yet.

    This leaves the content owners in somewhat of a quandry. They can allow "Internet radio" (whatever that means) to skate by without paying anything and try to convince the rest of their market that the music is worth paying for, or they can pretty much say "everybody pays!" Obviously, "everybody pays!" is more lucrative but it also doesn't start the worrying notion that the music is worthless. There are enough sources for that idea today as it is.

    By forcing everyone to pay they may indeed be shutting the door on a possible future paying market. But they may also be preserving the current source of their revenue. I don't think the music industry is ready to go to an ad-supported business model, and I don't think you want to hear ads for Pepsi at the end (or in the middle!) of every song.
    • may indeed be shutting the door on a possible future paying market. But they may also be preserving the current source of their revenue

      I think this is actually the crux of the whole problem. The Music industry's very business model is based on a high barrier to entry. Namely, it used to be nearly impossible for an artist to record, mix, produce, duplicate, market, and sell their music without this huge infrastructure behind them. With really high quality digital recording, mixing, and editing hardware and

      • I agree, it's mainly the consumer that's been bought by the major labels. Everybody agrees that the major labels have a broken system, yet they still look to the major labels for their music. They still accept that there is some direct correlation between popularity and quality. They'll just narrow it down to popularity amongst peers.
    • There is certainly a market for "Internet radio" in some form. It just isn't a market that pays anything meaningful yet.

      Indeed, and you could argue that this is a circular arrangement. Not many people pay for net radio, because nobody has to.

      If these new rates come in, it'll bankrupt some net radio stations, and others will go the way Digitally Imported have done with a Premium channel that you have to pay for. To be honest, I love net radio so much I'm willing to spend a significant amount of cash on i

    • It just isn't a market that pays anything meaningful yet.

      IMO, that's mostly because internet radio hasn't given us anything really meaningful yet.

      Once you get past the unreliable connections, ever-changing URLs, and random player options... internet radio still hasn't figured out how to be radio yet.

      Playing obscure music back-to-back on a loop isn't radio, no matter how obscure a person's taste is. That's called a jukebox. Or an iPod.

      Real radio has personality. It informs. It entertains. It c

  • The only internet radio I listen to these days is BBC radio [], you can't beat it for quality programming and no ad's, that's unlikely to get affected by any internet radio royalty ruling because (a) it's main listener base uses old fashioned radio wave technology and (b) it's in the UK where licensing clearly controlled by some more enlightened individuals. There is another place to go if you want more control over your listening - [] is kinda like youtube for music - people upload music and then you
    • i do laugh when people called the bbc enlightened! and then i shit myself thinking what the rest of the world has to put up with..... anyway UK radio broadcasters web or not already get much higher rates than US ones... its tough being a UK broadcaster.... i take it you have not heard of - you should check it out - thats london based and its owners REALLy have their heads screwed on. - THEY are enlightened!
      • Sure I've tried, but I prefer imeem since it has a more extensive music selection. In my mind the listenability goes something along the lines of & > bbc radio > NPR > internet radio > US commercial radio > Soviet Propaganda radio > American Idol
        • in the uk we dont have non profit radio or community stations, the best you get towards those are pirate radios in urban areas or internet stations
          my listenability ratings:
          music collection > > specialist genre internet radio > pandora, imeem, deezer, jamendo, opsound > podcasts > shortwave foreign radio > virgin radio [uk commercial] > bbc > uk commercial radio > pop idol, xfactor, any reality tv music contest > music tv channels > any music played from someones mobi
  • It's a very sad time for internet radio right now. It's always a shame how rules, regulations, and laws can ruin such a convenient piece of technology.
  • Because I think the time has come to call the RIAA's bluff and simply refuse to kowtow to their extortion. Maybe Jay-Z will have to sell one of his solid gold Bentleys to pay for the crack rehab for his pit bulls.
    • by billsf ( 34378 )
      Yes, if you are talking about "legal stations". They sound like shit at any rate even 320kbit/s which should, in theory be better sounding than CDs. (Think before you flame -- Try it first on Unix :) I don't care about the 'commercial outfits' or those that pretend to conform to the (impossible) rules.

      You can't stop 'pirate Internet radio', particularly when its legal. (How can it be stopped?) I want more "pirate stations" on the Internet. Use of any "quality-reducing" technology (read: 'loud-sounding' st
  • ....lots of money and kick back ties to the music industry....

    The Kickbacks in the music industry have been uncovered before and laws passed to make such illegal.
    So its now going on at a higher level of abstraction and harder to prove. Fewer involved at the proof point.

    With todays technology there is no reason for middle men to exist to plunder the process of paying the artist.

    What is lacking is the exchange system to make it all work without plundering.

    Seems to me that the labels should be a service the ar
  • by ZorinLynx ( 31751 ) on Sunday September 02, 2007 @11:21AM (#20441651) Homepage
    I have purchased dozens of songs from iTunes because.... ...I heard them on net radio.

    WHY THE FUCK is the industry trying to kill something that is MAKING THEM MONEY!? I don't understand these morons! Internet radio is like FREE ADVERTISING. It has introduced me to songs I've NEVER HEARD BEFORE, and ended up enjoying enough to purchase legally!

    Are these people morons? I know the answer is obviously yes, but damn! Why are such idiots in control of such valuable intellectual property? Radio play can MAKE or BREAK a song.

    And the funniest part? A lot of songs that net radio introduces to people may be older, more obscure back catalog stuff. Stuff that costs the record companies $0 to produce, because it's ALREADY PRODUCED. It's like FREE MONEY.

    *grumble* I'm just exasperated at how STUPID record company execs are sometimes. They can make their millions without being total ASSHOLES, but they chose to be assholes anyway.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      You got all that right. I run a darkwave and futurepop radio [] station myself and play stuff that most people have never heard of before outside the hazy drunkenness of a goth club somewhere. There are a few groups I have in rotation that have acheived some commercial success, but most of them, despite being signed to labels, are almost totally unknown beyond a pretty tight-knit circle.

      I have personally had people email me and tell me they loved such and such song, this or that group, and ended up buying so
    • You don't understand them. The abundance of music available on the internet and the growing social and commercial awareness of this is actually hurting the big players in the market. For years now they've managed to maintain a monopoly on what you listen to. From the payola scandals to the market consolidation, to the ever present billboard and it's impact on radio scheduling.

      They've had a nice clean business model that's worked for them for some time. They invests thousands and thousands of dollars promo
  • It sounds as if the record industry is upping the rates for people they know they can get it out of. I would draw a parallel between this and colleges upping tuition to current students.

    Last night I read an interesting article [] in the New York Times that centered around Producing Guru Rick Reuben: for whom I have tremendous respect. In amongst the 10 pages typed is what he deems to be an effective model to bring the recording industry back: charge everyone a subscription fee.

    I'm not too fond of a model w
    • by brady8 ( 956551 )
      If you want to compare it to University tuition, it's more like a University raising tuition by 400% or so in one shot, and then realizing when it's too late that they have to shut down for good since every single one of their students left. If they were smart, they would gradually increase royalty percentages until they started getting close to maximizing their revenue (more money from the big radio players, and only losing a few small time guys to the increases). One big jump as big as this seems to be
      • by jmauro ( 32523 )
        You're assuming that they want to keep them around in the first place. It could be a ploy to force all competition out the market then to come in with RIAA controlled stations so they can keep more of the profits in house.
      • What they're doing isn't strategic. It's reactionary. Even a business student would tell you that is good for the short-term, but it's more like a bandaid. It's not good for the long-term survival of the business.
  • Nerds Don't Care (Score:1, Flamebait)

    by Doc Ruby ( 173196 )
    Whenever this "land grab" by copyright owners and corporate mass media is reported, on Slashdot or anywhere else, no one cares to even discuss it. Slashdotters will get all up in arms over DRM and other copyright abuse, but directly extorting independent content publishers into extinction doesn't even generate a yawn.

    Then the nerds complain when the "free stuff" disappears.

    Why bother with a lot of stories and discussions of why the corporations act like they own all our content and media, when we ignore the
    • Moderation -1
          100% Flamebait

      94 comments, and one stupid TrollMod. Nerds care about the stupidest things, not self preservation.
  • by ObjetDart ( 700355 ) on Sunday September 02, 2007 @01:00PM (#20442793)
    Once you understand that, everything SoundExchange is doing makes sense. These seemingly counter-productive actions by SoundExchange lead to a lot of head scratching by a lot of people. Why would the music industry want to kill such a seemingly obvious way to generate more music sales? Etc.

    The RIAA has been trying for years, without success, to pass legislation to require all internet radio broadcasters to use DRM in their streams. In practice this means only one thing: they desperately want to make it illegal to broadcast internet radio in mp3 format.

    The RIAA has got in their heads that the combination of DRM-free readio broadcasts in mp3 format with tools such as StreamRipper is leading to rampant music piracy. I have no idea how rampant the piracy actually is, but it could be bad at least in theory. The problem is that it is possible, with relatively little technical know how, to point a tool like StreamRipper at, just for example, one of the many fine music 128k music channels available at, leave it running, and come back a day or 2 later to a directory containing gigabytes of free MP3 music.

    Anyway, since they have not been able to make mp3 broadcasting illegal, SoundExchange's behavior is simply the RIAA attacking the "problem" from a new front. They want to shut web broadcasters down. They know the new rates are way too high! That's the whole point. They want to bankrupt all the broadcasters who are streaming near-CD-quality mp3s out to the world for free.

    • The problem with that theory is, why go through all that trouble only to end up with songs whose start and end overlap with other songs and have gone through audio processing when you can simply get onto the usual torrent sites and other P2P networks and get CD rips?

      I have no doubt P2P is costing them money, though not to the tune they calculate; just because someone downloads it doesn't mean they would have bought it otherwise. But online radio is not costing them money, it is free advertising. I have noth
      • The problem with that theory is, why go through all that trouble only to end up with songs whose start and end overlap with other songs and have gone through audio processing when you can simply get onto the usual torrent sites and other P2P networks and get CD rips?

        Even with the imperfect results, it is surprisingly easy, using free MP3 editing tools available on the net, to take the output of SteamRipper and patch the files back into something very close to pristine tracks. Also, many web stations do n

    • by hazydave ( 96747 )
      It's not really DRM here... they could easily have the SoundScan people post different rates for DRM vs. non-DRM. The bottom line is that the RIAA only represent the major labels. They're comfortable where they are, and they're comfortable with you listening to Big Radio. They don't want internet radio (currently at over 50 million regular listeners) leading you to new music they don't control.

      The power of the big labels has always been, well, being big. Back in the 1950's, they took the approach of the old
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by ObjetDart ( 700355 )
        It's a compelling story, but I just don't believe that the epic battle of Big Labels vs. independent artists adequately explains what SoundExchange is currently up to. Many of the popular web casters who would be put out of business by the new rates play mostly Big Label music (e.g. Radio Paradise, etc.) Personally, I'm absolutely convinced it is all simply about piracy. The RIAA is hopelessly obsessed with the possibility that anybody, anywhere, could possibly receive a free copy of un-DRM'd music from
    • In the end, the indies can win. The big labels won't negotiate direct (because the lack of DRM), which is the only way around the compulsory licensing law. But the indie labels or totally indie artists without a label can do their own direct negotiation and get their music on web radio. They generally don't care about DRM (or outright oppose it, anyway).

      The catch is that for N web broadcasters and M labels/artists, there will now need to be N*M contracts arranged. In other words every broadcaster will

  • Why not switch to a non-RIAA music format. Sign local indie bands only. Anyone with a big business contract is SOL
    • Why not switch to a non-RIAA music format. Sign local indie bands only.
      Because they want to attract thousands of listeners, not five people who are already fans and family.
  • We get free music and now DOOM AS WELL?! Woah! Shooting up robots to some awesome techno and rock...What's gloomy about that?

Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later. -- F. Brooks, "The Mythical Man-Month"