back to article Day-of-silence protest hits Net radio

On Tuesday, more than 10,000 U.S. web radio broadcasters will participate in a nationwide "day of silence", canceling their usual programming in protest of an impending royalty hike that threatens to put most of them out of business. Members of the SaveNetRadio coalition - including everyone from Yahoo! to WebRadioPugetSound - …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Keith Turner

    So if my neighbour can pick up my wireless network . . .

    Does this mean that if I'm streaming audio at home and my neighbour can pick it up --I'm a broadcaster?

    Am I about to feel the heavy hand of parasitic lawyers demanding a slice of the action (or a pound of flesh).

    Do I give a toss?

  2. Giles Jones Gold badge

    Why just a day?

    Why not shutdown until they take notice?

    Playing music on radio should never be seen as getting music for free, it's for promotional purposes.

    Companies pay money to advertise their product on TV, why do radio stations have to pay the artist?

  3. Mark Crack

    Not very big numbers ....

    Am I missing something? If you play back to back 3 minute pop songs then you can play a maximum of 480 songs per day. The 2010 figure of $0.0019 per song would mean a cost of 91.2 cents per day ...... or $332 per year ... doesn't seem too onerous to me.

  4. Chris Fox

    Very big numbers...

    "Am I missing something?"

    Yes you are. The fee is due for each listener to each track each time it is streamed. It is claimed that this adds up to millions of dollars for some popular providers. There is also a minimum fee of $500 which has to be paid by even the smallest not-for-profit outfit.

  5. zxcvbnm


    Its not 0.0019 per song its per song per user so a thousand listener station in your example would pay a maximum of 332,000 dollars a year which is rather allot for a thousand listeners.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That's why!

    And this is just the reason that "piracy " is alive and well and continuing to thrive, and ever will, and long may it continue! People are expected to pay exorbitant royalty fees so that egotistical dipsticks masquerading as musicians can take home paychecks comparable to, or greater than, football stars, another overpaid crowd of bigheaded SOBs. Tape and record wherever and whatever you like, pay NO royalties, and enjoy!!!

  7. Tyson Boellstorff

    re: That's why!

    Say -- as long as we're talking about somebody else's livelihood, why don't you take the plunge first and start working for free?

    The life of a musician ain't all roses, bub. Try spending 6 hours every day for a month practising for a concert, and then have some idiot think that if you play for an hour, you ought to get paid $6 an hour for the whole concert, because it doesn't look that hard to him? How about you write a song that is original and fresh, and see what happens when people think that you don't deserve to get paid?

    My guess is you don't know *how* to play an instrument, and you don't know enough about music or music theory to write a good song. If you don't, how can you justify the statement about 'egotistical dipsticks masquerading as musicians'? Got *any* qualifications to back yourself up with?

    If not, then how about you shut up, and let people make a living in peace? The OP was about excessive royalties, which is a valid point, not the fact that they exist. I'll be the first to agree the retroactive hike is excessive. You can't make any sort of business plan if the gov't will give away your gross for the past couple of years.

  8. Martin Owens

    Hundred Percent

    Re: re: Thats why

    I have no quarrel with content creators (as individuals) I have a big problem with businesses and their 1900's business plans turning the world into criminals because the technology moved on and it scares them that there is only enough money now to pay the artists a large amount and a tidy sum to all the other people involved. Instead of the current system of give millions of pounds to people who have no creative talents merely because they own the 'land' in a business. bah I say, I refuse to listen to music that isn't in the public domain or where I know the artist personally, which is rather limited but so be it until people and business start playing fair and reasonable in the modern age.

  9. James Cleveland

    re: That's why!

    As I see it:

    - Tiny bands benefit from piracy as it spreads their fanbase and means they have more people coming to their shows and buying merch, tickets, eps etc.

    - Small bands with a fanbase have enough money from shows and their dedicated fans to keep going.

    - Medium sized bands can easily sustain themselves and have a big enough fanbase to invest in better equipment, nicer transport, accomodation etc.

    - Huge bands are making obscene profits, and can afford to reinvest it into things like bloody huge satellite dishes that rotate and shine light at people (Muse's latest concert was amazing).

    - "pop stars" and bands like comment - I doubt piracy affects them in the slightest.

    And with respects to labels - it is the indy labels that are actually affected, the ones who have to scrape by anyway. Big labels can support small bands with the revenue from big bands.

    So the only real issue here is small independant labels, however, good labels like this generally have a dedicated following of friends and hardcore fans, so there this issue is diminished. They also benefit from the extra followers due to music sharing.

    So where is the issue here?

  10. Craig Foster

    You've missed the problem people...

    "People are expected to pay exorbitant royalty fees so that egotistical dipsticks masquerading as musicians can take home paychecks comparable to, or greater than, football stars, another overpaid crowd of bigheaded SOBs."

    Umm, no. Musician's make very little... Pomped-up coke-inhaling egotistical dipsticks called "Music Executives" make huge sums of money.

    I go to many gigs, buy merch at gigs, etc mainly to put money back to the real worker, the musicians...

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: That's why!

    It's not the musicians who are making the big bucks here. Of $0.0019 the musician gets only a tiny fraction.

    What I find puzzling is how the retroactive payment can be legal? This surely indicates it's a fine, but there's no law been broken here as far as I know. Webcasters have been paying fees legitimately. The issue here is the industry big-wigs have decided it's a lucrative market and they want a huge retirement fund so slapped this on them with an attitude treating the webcasters as criminals or pirates.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE: re: That's why!

    Your rant would be much more poignant if musicians actually saw much of the royalties that are being collected. Musicians are paid a pittance compared to the bucks the music companies make from them. I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that the record companies aren't doing this for the musicians' sake here... While we're on the subject of revenue, when was the last time you were motivated to buy something from a radio ad? I immediately change the station when an ad comes on, internet or broadcast. Ads are something I won't tolerate, and that I personally believe life is too short to be subjected to. (Sorry if I wreck the whole system for everyone) You also overlook that a good deal of the creativity and joy go out of the net and music (and life) in general when you turn "free love" into prostitution. I'm not saying that giants like AOL or others shouldn't have to pay something, but for the person that isn't making a profit, and runs a server in their spare time, just for the fun of doing it and because they enjoy good music and wish to share, this is just another case of the very rich pissing on the rest of us.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Rodent's Derriere

    In answer to my many critics. I cannot play music, have not a note in my head, and not much interest either. No one cared about the fact that I and thousands of others had difficulty paying bills when first married (remember that guys?) and bringing up children, so why should I give a rodents derriere aout some over hyped egotistical pop or other musical star. The answer is simple. If you cant make it in the job you are doing, get another. I and thousands of others have done. Just dont give us a hard time when we kick back at the overinflated royalties. (Here, I include Microsoft and such like organisations) Must go and tape something now, Gary

  14. Matt Bradley

    Profiting from other people's content

    Surely the argument here is that Internet Radio Stations profit from other people's content / intellectual property, and therefore should make some contribution back to the rights holders.

    This being the case, can we please see legislation that requires Google to pay $0.0019 per web page which it caches / links to? Surely they too are profiting from other's intellectual property, and should therefore be subject to a similar system of royalties.

  15. Dillon Pyron

    So follow the autoadmit model

    If you don't collect statistics, there's no way of proving how many listeners you have, am I not correct? If I don't sell any advertising, and thus have no revenue, would I owe anything under the proposed model?

    The $500 goes straight into the pocket of the company collecting the fee. In addition, they collect a portion of the fee. It's in the financial interest of them to keep the fee as high as possible.

    Anybody who claims that this benefits the performers hasn't been around the music industry for very long. Even bands who get paid a portion of the gate (the vast majority of bands) only get a small fraction. Meanwhile, the bars and clubs where they are performing sell gallons of booze at outrageous prices. The whole music industry is rigged so that everybody BUT the performers make any money. Even bands with recording contracts sometimes starve.

  16. Ole Juul

    Re: Rodent's Derriere

    "If you cant make it in the job you are doing, get another. I and thousands of others have done. Just dont give us a hard time when we kick back at the overinflated royalties. (Here, I include Microsoft and such like organisations) Must go and tape something now, Gary"

    There are many different kinds of musicians and although many of them think of it (or at least try to make it) a job, that is typically not the primary motivation. This is not a homogenous group and many of them are not like you. Musicians are often not very professionl and do it because they feel it is a calling, and sometimes because they have no other choice. Some of the greatest contributors of the past, in fact, have had no other skills at all and could not get a regular job if their life depended on it. That is how it is in the world of art. We all benefit, but some unscrupilous people try to benefit more than others, and that is what this whole discussion is about. The "overinflated royalties" don't benefit most artists.

    When you mention Microsoft, you can maby see what I (and others here) are talking about. MS is currently trying to collect royalties for work which has been developed by a community of "progamming artists" who will not see much, if any, of that money. We'll see how that one develops, but I don't think the world will benefit by Microsoft's involment here. Yes, that is how the world works, but maby we can make it a little better.

  17. Ole Juul

    Google is different?

    Matt Bradley's comment above, "Profiting from other people's content", is interesting. What, in fact, is so different about how Google does business? They are profiting by everyone's content/ip and not paying any royalties. If they were just a search engine then fine, but they are selling advertising and making big bucks on the backs of their content providers (web page authors/artists) to whom they do not pay any royalties. Why is that?

    PS: Here's an idea ... how about all web pages go silent on one day ... just to see how interested Google would be in doing some negotiation?

  18. |333173|3|_||3


    The retroactive fee is legal because the terms of the licence under which US net radio stations operate has a clause in the section regarding royalty rates which allows the rates for the next period to be decided once the period has begun, and made retroactive to the start of the time period.

    The radio stations cannot stop broadcasting indefinitely, since were they to do so they would have no income from advertisements and so would go under very quickly.

    Some pubs do pay the performers well, but it is definitely true that most do not. Many performers who signed record deals but which did not become major successes end up with enormous debts to the record companies for studio time and so forth.

  19. Tom

    Who cares?

    Net radio is a stupid idea, and a waste of bandwith. If people want to listen to a radio, why don't they just switch a radio on?

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Surely no one is suggesting that anyone should work for nothing, just that the fee demanded should be appropriate to the amount of effort put in. And IMO the music industry has clearly used the capitalist system to rip folk off, from it's inception.

    Surely most are aware that the lion's share of the excessive profit goes to the music companies, and that one doesn't get paid a lot playing at the local pub on the weekend, but you can't claim that those hyped to the top of their profession, the Michael Jacksons, the Elton Johns, even the Robbie Williams of this world, are poor penniless musicians. The old statement remains true, surely one can not claim these folk (suits or musicians) are of more importance to society that the carers, or many other low paid jobs ?

    I think the need to curtail the greed of the music industry is much more important than the need to raise more royalties for them. That's where new legislation would do the most good.

  21. James Brash

    RE: Who cares?

    Unfortunately I can't turn on the radio a listen to back to back trance... I have to be forced to listen to the rubbish inbetween... not that theres any trance on the radio anyway. This is something offers me however, they have a sub fee if you want access to the high quality streams, and I'm happy to pay the relatively small amount each month.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "Does this mean that if I'm streaming audio at home and my neighbour can pick it up --I'm a broadcaster?"


    Well in the UK anyway. You need a public broadcast license, the same as the hairdressers, corner shop, resturaunt ietc f they play music or have the radio on.


  23. Tharglet

    Net Radio

    In the UK, there aren't many good radio stations for the music I listen to, even with DAB. I've not got a DAB radio, and the last time I looked they were ludicrously priced for the actual value of owning one.

    I have found a couple of radio stations that I can listen to online, when I don't have "portable" music with me, or want a change from the things I currently own.

    As for the charges, it does seem rather unfair to retroactively charge radio stations, who've ended up racking up a debt that they couldn't anticipate. Hiking up the prices allows a choice - retroactive fees do not, in my opinion. It would be best if there was no increase, but in the way of life, it's not surprising there is one.

    Good luck to internet radio and it future!

  24. Tris Hoar

    re: who cares?

    tom your a nonce. have you listened to the so called music they play on the radio? i guess you represent that loathsome market that actually supports that mindless generic shit that they inflict on us, and who enjoy listening to retarded DJ's taking shit and acting like wankers. personally i dont. i want to listen to music that i like. the conventional radio does not support me in any way shape or form. net radio does

  25. Dam

    Re: Who cares?

    Original comment


    Net radio is a stupid idea, and a waste of bandwith. If people want to listen to a radio, why don't they just switch a radio on?



    Because there's much more variety, choice and *quality* on net radios, perhaps?

    You're a retar... a mentally challenged person.

    Go back to the stone age where you belong.

  26. Martin Benson

    Well, I for one care!

    >>Net radio is a stupid idea, and a waste of bandwidth. If people want to listen to a radio, why don't they just switch a radio on?

    Well, for one thing, my radio aerial can't quite reach to the USA, where I tend to listen to a lot of my music from. Have you tried to listen to jazz on the radio in the UK?

  27. Glenn Carter

    Net Radio is a

    >>Net radio is a stupid idea, and a waste of bandwith. If people want to listen to a radio, why don't they just switch a radio on?

    Unfortunately, the way that radio is set up in the UK limits the range of choices and options avaliable. Net radio gives people that choice. Thats why this issue is important because it will effectively make it impossible for the smaller guys who are doing it for fun and not commercial gain to start up/continue to exist. It will make it impossible for smaller companies to continue to operate and kill choice in net radio stone dead.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    so we need to sack "the management" then ?

    seeing as we dont really need them, we should sack them, and give them useful jobs, like burger stand people or telephone cleaners.....

  29. Law

    RE: Who cares?

    Because I hates pop... and that's all that is on around these here parts!!

  30. Edward Noad

    Why Net Radio is a "Problem"

    Traditional RF broadcast radio presents a few problems, the biggest one being range of broadcast and a limit on the number of stations you can cram in the allocated frequency space. This used to suit the labels fine, as it meant they could fairly easily monitor all the stations that used the music they controlled, making it simple for them to push particular bands. The radio stations themselves became marketing tools to be used in the search for higher profits.

    Along comes net radio. No limits on the number of stations available here, so the labels can't get all cosy with all the station managers and DJs to influence them as to who's music they play. The more people that listen to net radio, the less that listen to traditional radio, and the less influence the labels have over what they hear.

    The solution? The rattled marketing/pr peeps go down to see the legal eagles and they come up with a plan to force Internet radio stations to either move onto a commercial business plan or disappear entirely. Either way, the labels win. They get tame net radio broadcasters, desperate for the cash from the labels to stay afloat, or they kill some of the competition for those very same broadcasters.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We care

    Whilst our band fits into the 'tiny' sector, we have decided to give all of our music away. We pay to go and record our stuff, not at the best studios for the greatest quality (we couldn't afford that). Then we put the songs on our website for anyone who wants them to download for free. We all have day jobs, and accept that music will never make us rich. But we enjoy what we play and we want to make it available for anyone else who might like it.

    We have no management, our music is royalty free, and the only caveat we stipulate is that no one plays our music as their own and makes a profit from it.

    I also see that it isn't the bands who ever make any money from their music, it is the music labels who get richer. With any luck as more people realise this more bands will give away their music too. This can only improve choice, as no longer will the only bands who are heard be the ones who fit 'the formula'. Too many times have I heard some dire twaddle on the radio, only to go to a live gig and see a band who's music is far superior .... only it will never be known.

    No one can pirate your music when it was free in the first place.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    $36 per year

    I subscribe to a particular internet radio station for $3 US per year. But I don't have to because I am yet to see what I get now that I didn't get as a free user. And that donation is 10% of the figure quoted earlier as not a big deal. Dude, Im not paying $30/month

    oh well, back to bittorrent for me

  33. Dan P

    A whole $0.0008?!

    Wow, that's a huge amount of money! I mean, if you broadcast 4 minute songs continuously all year you'd have to pay a whopping $105.12 for the priveledge! I wonder what that is compared to the advertisement revenues of these stations. Particularly ones like Yahoo! etc.

This topic is closed for new posts.