Quoth the New York Times:
Under the ruling released on March 2, Web broadcasters must pay each time a listener hears a song, at a rate that began at 0.08 cent in 2006 (the ruling applies retroactively) and rises to 0.19 cent in 2010. Besides increasing the charge for each song, the ruling established a $500 minimum payment for each Web channel ? making it difficult for companies like RealNetworks and Pandora to offer as many different kinds of music as they do now.
?We would have to provide less choice and less diverse programming,? said Robert Kimball, senior vice president for business and legal affairs at RealNetworks. (my emphasis)
Yes, folks, less choice and less diverse programming, thank goodness the Government’s got our backs. So now that we have one or two different terrestrial radio companies, and two — err, one — satellite radio company, we should make such we nip this tricky little Internet radio thing in the bud before it completely destroys the ability of record companies to make a profit. This is a ruling I really hope gets overturned.
In fact, for once NPR and I agree on something. The royalties to be incurred are absurd, and the justification for their existence is an all too familiar story of the record companies doing everything they can to destroy the natural course of music for the sake of profit. Face it, RIAA — music should be, and wants to be freely accessible to everyone. If the bands you produce are any good, they’ll make their money in other ways. And hey, maybe if you were on board with the internet radio stations, you’d actually promote interesting new music and attract new audiences and rake in the bucks with subscription services…
Well, at least what I’m playing isn’t subject to royalties. Play on, everyone!