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John Vanderslice

Web Radio Lives On (For Now)


By: Spacelab Research Staff
It may not be a formal deal as of yet, but it is progress. The word on the digital web radio street is that SoundExchange has offered concessions to their offer, meant to relieve the costs that web radio broadcasters would face under the proposed fees.

SoundExchange has offered concessions based around the number of fees that can be charged to large-scale broadcasters, limiting the $500 per channel fee at $50,000; saving sites like Last.FM, Pandora, and Live365 from forced bankruptcy. Small webcasters might not be subject to the $500 fee under the current negotiation.

This also means that web radio stations can continue after the July 15th deadline without fear of legal action, since negotiations are still happening.

"Look, Monday's not that magical a day. It's going to be business as usual at SoundExchange — trying to process data, trying to get deals done. We're not gonna be filing lawsuits," said SoundExchange executive director John Simson in anterview with RAIN on Friday.

Still up in the air is the real money... how much web radio stations will be charged and how much that will increase over time. This is the real issue here for the majority of web radio stations as this is the make or break issue on their existence. One thing is for sure by now, this will make most web radio stations rethink how they go about paying for their service.

The recent Internet Radio Day Of Silence on June 26th showed a big stand against the proposed fees, and showed what would happen if all of the smaller (and some of the larger) stations were wiped out. The day was a social movement that saw broadcasts turned off by participating stations in protest of the proposed fees.

There's also the Inernet Radio Equality Act floating in Congress as a side track, but Congress would rather see the web radio community negotiate with SoundExchange via SaveNetRadio, rather than have Congress intervene. The bill would serve as a backup in case the two groups can't reach a compromise.


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