On Small Webcasters
AccuRadio Surviving, But Sees Growth Elsewhere
As ALL ACCESS reported before CHRISTMAS (NET NEWS, 12/23/15), a variety of smaller “pure-play” webcasters are concerned that the new CRB rates could put them out of business, as well as discourage new entrants in the field. Small webcasters will soon be forced to pay a higher per-stream rate at 17 cents per hundred streams. Unlike the WEBCASTER SETTLEMENT ACT of 2009, there is no a carve-out for small webcasters based on total revenue, which erases the difference between pureplay webcasters and radio station streams.
CHICAGO radio vet RICK O’DELL shut down his website and online radio station, SMOOTHJAZZCHICAGO.NET on THURSDAY, DECEMBER 31st (NET NEWS 12/28/15) , and LIVE365, which for the past 17 years, offered small webcasters the opportunity to stream music and talk content, has announced a downsizing, due to the new royalty rates established recently by the COPYRIGHT ROYALTY BOARD for 2016-2020 (NET NEWS 12/30/15).
Programming vet JOEL SALKOWITZ, who operates the online “PULSE 87,” is the latest to throw in the towel — and has strong opinions of why this hit on small webcasters is bad for all involved.
SALKOWITZ wrote to ALL ACCESS, explaining “The announcement of the new 2016 royalty rates from SOUNDEXCHANGE and the COPYRIGHT ROYALTY BOARD (CRB) just put a whole bunch of nails in the coffin of Internet Radio. For us here at PULSE 87, the new rates would mean close to a 2,000% increase in our royalty payments! This is simply far more money than the station could ever hope bring in through advertising given the very low rates being paid for streaming ads and would mean a loss of tens of thousands of dollars a year. Furthermore, as our audience grows, our royalty payments would grow at a much larger multiple than any increase we could ever hope to see in advertising revenue.
“Apparently, SOUNDEXCHANGE has decided, on behalf of the artists whose interests it purports to represent, that they would rather get 100% of NOTHING versus some reasonable percentage of SOMETHING! We have always supported paying a reasonable royalty rate. Artists should receive compensation for their creative works. The Small Webcasters License, under which PULSE operated, provided just that. Artists were compensated based on the financial performance of the Internet station. Now they will get nothing and will lose an important outlet for new artists and new music. Thousands … very likely tens of thousands of Internet stations will go off the air depriving artists, many of whom can’t get the time of day from terrestrial radio, of a substantial platform to expose their music. LIVE 365 alone streams over 5,000 stations and they may well be completely gone in the next month or so.
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