Tuesday, March 06, 2007

The end of internet radio?

File this one under "golden eggs: goose killing of"

Maybe. I hope not, but it may be the end to some of my online music fave raves, including Pandora and Yahoo Live 365 (which I'm listening to now through our TiVo), and possibly even (gasp!) no more Theme Time Radio Hour available through the internet.

I've contemplated starting a Live 365 station, even as bad a deejay as I am, but this would put the spike in that, too.

“Left unchanged, it’s over for us and every other internet radio service, period. Makes it un-viable,” Pandora co-founder Tim Westergren wrote in an email. “We’re staying online because we’re hopeful that sanity will eventually win out. This is a ludicrous ruling.”

Till recently, the royalty rate was about 7/100th of a penny per performance, allowing many small webcasters to thrive and build sizeable audiences. At 14-15 songs per hour, it worked out to about penny an hour – one of the main reasons why Yahoo could offer music-streaming services at affordable prices.

However, now the equation has changed – the royalty rates will increase every year through 2010 when it is going to cost about $0.0019 per performance. While not much when taken as a single performance, the amount does add up if you are a company that streams millions of performances per day. (The details of the new arrangement are very well explained on this website.)


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