The website that I help run, Yehoodi.com, has provided a free streaming radio show featuring the best swing jazz since 2001. So I was particularly alarmed to learn that the RIAA on Friday successfully got the US Copyright Office to accept a new set of exorbitant song royalty fees for netradio stations like ours (full decision here). The royalty fees increase every year according to the following schedule:
2006: $0.0008 to stream one song to one listener
Wired calculates that to be about 1.28 cents per hour per listener, at a rate of 16 songs per hour. With an average of 25 listeners, that comes to a little less than $3,000 in royalty fees a year for a moderately successful netradio station. Oh, and all current netradio stations will have to pay both their 2006 back fees in addition to their 2007 fees.
Yehoodi already pays several hundred dollars a year to host our streaming radio station on Live365’s servers. How we are going to raise the funds for an additional several hundred dollars to pay our royalty fees, I don’t know. I’m sure a lot of netradio stations — particularly the many one-person no-profit operations — are going to just shut down or find some other more underground way to broadcast. It just doesn’t feel right.
If you would like to get active on this issue, please go to www.savenetradio.org and fight the power.