Do you listen to Internet radio? If you do, you may have noticed that today most Internet radio stations have gone silent...
...it's a day of silence.
It's only one day... for now. But this is what Internet radio could permanently sound like after July 15th, or soon thereafter, if nothing is done.
A recent ruling increased the royalty rates for Internet radio stations by a massive amount - between 300%-1200%. Most Internet radio stations can't afford that by a long shot; as it is right now, they're struggling to make ends meet.
The worst part is, this royalty increase is retroactively enforced to January 1st, 2006. Most Internet radio stations will no longer be able to broadcast because of this. A lot of them - virtually ALL small and medium-sized stations - will go bankrupt.
If you value Internet radio, this should concern you. Even some of the bigger broadcasters, like sky.fm (aka. Digitally Imported) won't be able to continue broadcasting. This is serious.
So what can we do? How can we help to combat these rulings?
- If you live in the US, your vote counts. SaveNetRadio.org is a comprehensive website detailing what can be done. In particular, the most effective thing you can do is to call your senators and representative in Congress to ask them to co-sponsor the Internet Radio Equality Act, S. 1353 in the Senate, and H.R. 2060 in the House. You can find who to call using this page at SaveNetRadio.org. Simply put in your ZIP code, and if asked, your ZIP+4 (or address if you don't know it).
- If you live outside of the US, or even if you do and want to help in other ways too, here are other ways you can help:
- You can raise awareness. That's what this post is, for example. Help others to understand just what this is about. While you may not be able to vote directly, your US friends most likely can. You can use the "Tell A Friend" page on SaveNetRadio's site to do this, or you can post about it on your journal, or however you normally would.
- Donate to your favourite Internet radio station, or take out a membership if they offer it. Internet radio needs your support, and financial support is one of the better ways you can help. I've been a Premium member of sky.fm for a week or so now.