In very sad news for internet radio broadcasters everywhere December 2015 saw the Copyright Royalty Board, a body of the United States government which deliberates on licensing fees for internet radio stations, approve very significant increases in and a steepening of their fee structures. This new ruling has been seen to have an immediately detrimental effect on small to medium size radio stations and businesses across the country with the notable closure of several stations, a rise in geographical blocking of listeners in the United States and well known internet radio service provider Live365 announcing redundancies in anticipation of a possible shut down.
Several examples of this effect can be seen below:
Web radio stalwart Live365 lays off staff, may close in New Year.
The death of WKCR – Columbia University’s simul-stream.
Smooth Jazz Chicago thanks you for three wonderful years. We are no longer streaming.
Joel Salkowitz Shutters ‘Pulse 87’ Because Of The New Royalty Rate On Small Webcasters.
GOING DARK 1/31/2016 – UNLESS SOUND EXCHANGE AND THE CRB SAVE SMALL WEBCASTERS
Beginning on January 1, 2016, Island Classic Hits will be suspending its broadcast in the United States due to a recent revision to the U.S. royalty rates for webcasters. The new rates, which go in to effect on January 1, 2016, no longer include a provision (Webcaster Settlement Act) for small independently owned and operated stations like Island Classic Hits. The Webcaster Settlement Act of 2009 allowed small webcasters like us to pay royalties based on a percentage of our revenue versus a per-song and per-listener fee. If we chose to stay on the air, our royalty rates would increase from roughly $900 a year to more than $30,000 annually due to the lack of a provision for small webcasters. We do not make a profit from our broadcast and cannot afford to continue given the astronomical rate increase. Island Classic Hits is one of thousands of small to medium sized webcasters who are effected by this change. The major (corporate) streaming services will continue to thrive as their rates only increased slightly and will no longer have competition from the smaller-medium webcasts that have closed down because of the rate change. We hope that an agreement with the Copyright Royalty Board can be made so that small-medium sized broadcasters can resume webcasting in the United States in the near future. We thank you very much for your support and we hope that the Copyright Royalty Board is able to work with the small webcast community to make streaming affordable again in the future. Thank You!
Now there are a couple of petitions already underway which you should consider signing if you want to register your views on these changes, one of which has been logged with the United States Congress.
For more information you can read the finer detail of the Copyright Royalty Board’s decision.
The following podcast by John Stephens covers the subject of the resulting closures and geoblocking.
Copyright attorney David Oxenford also explains the likely impact of the changes in the Soundcloud message below.