Thursday, March 8, 2007

The End of Web Radio As We Know It?

This story is so big that even the mainstream media sources are talking about it, but I will link to the first source in which I saw this story online, this Business week article.

The technical issue here is payment on a per listener/per song basis versus the traditional percent of revenue basis. Since web radio generates hardly any revenue to start with, there's no way they can withstand hefty fee increase the Copyright Royalty Board is demanding through their mandating the former, to take effect within the next two months.

The real issue, as I see it, is the music industry regaining some measure of control over their product, even if it's only symbolic. They're mightily pissed at the MP3/piracy phenomenon, which has reduced their sales at the local Tower Records (that is, if it's still open) and through Heck, the unchecked growth of the MP3 single-handed even killed off a burgeoning online sales channel characterized by once-known entities CDNow and CDUniverse, which can now be only found strewn among ancient Mayan ruins somewhere in Mexico, I think. (Actually, I see a site called CDUniverse is actually still selling CDs online. Do you buy your CDs there? No? See what I mean?)

So, killing off several thousands basement web radio stations that weren't generating any money for them anyway is a cheap way to make a point to music distributors everywhere: don't eff-you-see-kay with the RIAA.

I doubt anyone is quaking in their boots as a result.

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