Thursday, April 19, 2007

Internet Radio Threatened by Sky-High Royalty Rates

By Nate Seltenrich
Thu, Apr 19, 2007 at 5:05 PM

Tim Westergren, founder of Oakland-based internet radio pioneer Pandora, is circulating a petition to help save internet radio. A recent decision by the U.S. Copyright Royalty Board to nearly triple licensing fees (read all about it in this week's Express) could put Pandora and just about every other internet radio station out of business. The rate hike puts internet radio royalty rates more than four times higher than satellite radio rates, while terrestrial radio broadcasters don't have to pay at all. We all know terrestrial radio's music programming sucks, satellite radio is expensive, and HD radio is a scam. So let's save internet radio! Read Tim's letter after the jump.Hi, it's Tim from Pandora,

I'm writing today to ask for your help. The survival of Pandora and all of Internet radio is in jeopardy because of a recent decision by the Copyright Royalty Board in Washington, DC to almost triple the licensing fees for Internet radio sites like Pandora. The new royalty rates are irrationally high, more than four times what satellite radio pays, and broadcast radio doesn't pay these at all. Left unchanged, these new royalties will kill every Internet radio site, including Pandora.

In response to these new and unfair fees, we have formed the SaveNetRadio Coalition, a group that includes listeners, artists, labels and webcasters. I hope that you will consider joining us.

Please sign our petition urging your Congressional representative to act to save Internet radio: http://capwiz.com/saveinternetradio/issues/alert/?alertid=9631541

Please feel free to forward this link/email to your friends - the more petitioners we can get, the better.

Understand that we are fully supportive of paying royalties to the artists whose music we play, and have done so since our inception. As a former touring musician myself, I'm no stranger to the challenges facing working musicians. The issue we have with the recent ruling is that it puts the cost of streaming far out of the range of ANY webcaster's business potential.

I hope you'll take just a few minutes to sign our petition - it WILL make a difference. As a young industry, we do not have the lobbying power of the RIAA. You, our listeners, are by far our biggest and most influential allies.

As always, and now more than ever, thank you for your support.

-Tim Westergren (Pandora founder)

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