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Best Net Radio Hero 

Pandora's Tim Westergren

The future of Internet radio looks brighter, thanks in a huge way to the tireless efforts of Pandora's Tim Westergren, champion of independent artists and darling of indie record labels. The rock star of web radio, Westergren deserves praises on high as the de facto spokesman in the years-long battle against exorbitant and unfair music royalties Internet radio stations are forced to pay for webcasting sound recordings as required by the Copyright Royalty Board. The net radio industry leader, Oakland-based Pandora is a web radio station that lets users create personalized radio stations through the Music Genome Project, technology that recognizes similarities and patterns in music. To stave off the predatory fees and to save Internet radio, Westergren mobilized a movement, resulting in millions in political donations, ads on activist blogs, and listeners' letters to produce a massive grassroots-lobbying onslaught on Capitol Hill that paid off in Congress. Some sticking points remain on the royalty rates issue, but just this summer President Obama signed the Webcaster Settlement Act of 2009, which gives webcasters like Pandora and certain other broadcasters and webcasters more time to continue negotiations for an equitable settlement with the recording industry and copyright holders.

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