Washington DC (June 26, 2007)--Thousands of U.S. webcasters have turned off the music and gone silent today, to draw attention to an impending royalty rate increase that, if implemented, would lead to the virtual shutdown of this country's internet radio industry.
"The arbitrary and drastic rate increases set by the Copyright Royalty Board on March 2nd threaten the very livelihood of thousands of webcasters and their millions of listeners throughout the country," Jake Ward, a spokesperson for the SaveNetRadio Coalition, said late last week.
"The campaign to save internet radio -- a genuine grassroots movement comprised of hundreds of thousands of webcasters, artists and independent labels, and net radio listeners -- has quickly brought this issue to the national forefront and the halls of Congress, but there is still more to be done before the approaching deadline of July 15th. On Tuesday, thousands of webcasters will call on their millions of listeners to join the fight to save internet radio and contact their Congressional representatives to ask for their support of the Internet Radio Equality Act."
Many webcasters have shut off access to their streams entirely, while other webcasters have replaced their music streams with long periods of silence (or static or ocean sounds or similar) interspersed with occasional brief public service announcements on the subject.
Some internet-only webcasters and broadcasters that simulcast online are alerting their listeners that "silence" is what internet radio may be reduced to after July 15th, the day on which 17 months' worth of retroactive royalty payments -- at new, exceedingly high rates -- are due to the SoundExchange collection organization, following a recent Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) decision.
Webcasters that announced plans to participate in the day of silence included Yahoo!, Live365 stations, Rhapsody, MTV Online, AccuRadio, key NPR station KCRW (Santa Monica, CA), and many others.