Save internet radio

By Rachel Breitenfeld

Recently, the Copyright Royalty Board in Washington, DC drastically increased the rates that internet radio broadcasters must pay for each song played. (Traditional terrestrial radio does not pay such fees.) The new rates are more than triple the old rates (far above the revenue of most independent broadcasters), and they are retroactive to January 1, 2006. The vast majority of independent (not owned by Clear Channel or other large corporations) internet radio broadcasters will be forced out of business on May 15 when the new rates take effect.

Internet radio offers a unique listening experience that is very different from terrestrial radio. Many independent artists find a voice alongside mainstream artists. Internet radio also offers niche genres not usually heard on terrestrial radio, such as gothic, Celtic, classical crossover and many others. Internet radio allows the discovery of new artists and genres that would seldom be heard on terrestrial radio, increasing music sales (and CRB royalties).

It seems that the CRB wants to control what we are listening to. By forcing independent broadcasters off the air, thus limiting independent artists and niche genres, CRB will only decrease its revenues. Therefore, CRB must not be raising the rates merely to increase revenue.

You can help! Even if you don’t listen to internet radio, everyone values diversity in music and radio. Check out There you can find links to let your representatives in Congress know how you feel. Only Congress can save internet radio from the CRB.

Rachel Breitenfeld

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