Re: Internet Radio
- From: "Mike Rieves" <mriev@xxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Wed, 27 Jun 2007 21:48:13 -0500
"Brian Running" <brunning@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote in message
I'm curious what folks here think about the proposed royalty hikes for
internet radio. There's a bill in both houses of the US Congress to stop
it, the "Internet Radio Equality Act"
As is always the case, all you have to do is follow the money -- whose ox
is being gored? If there's an inequity between the rates, then there's
two ways to eliminate the inequity -- raise the internet radio rates, or
lower the over-the-air rates. Seems that the over-the-air broadcasters
would be pulling hard for the second option. But it's the RIAA that's
greasing the skids for legislation here. Tells you something about the
pecking order in the music industry.
All of this fussing and fighting assumes that there is inequity that needs
to be cured. A difference in rates is not automatically inequity,
inequity exists only when the difference is unfair. Is it unfair? Why
should internet radio stations pay less than over-the-air broadcasters?
Why should their cost of doing business be lower?
All of this fighting to preserve the old way of doing things once again
points out that everyone is really missing the point. The people opposing
this rate increase argue that by putting these stations out of business,
the listening public will be deprived of a wide range of alternative
music, things they can't hear on over-the-air. Well, if that's truly what
internet stations stand for, then why must they play music from the big
record companies and publishers? That's what we already hear on
over-the-air radio. They could easily avoid this whole problem, just by
playing music that's not owned by RIAA-member record companies and
publishers. Now, that would truly be original music we can't get anywhere
else -- but I sense that the internet radio stations want to have their
cake and eat it, too. They want the big recod companies' music, but don't
want to pay what others do to get it.
Notice that the FindLaw article is written by an employee of RealNetworks.
Not an objective source. She shows her bias by claiming that mainstream
broadcasters result in millions of bored listeners --
but, oh boy, not if they listen to RealNetworks, nuh uh!
Think about the RIAA's real motive here -- they know the potential of the
internet to wipe out traditional music publishing and broadcasting. But
the people who could take internet radio to its full potential are too
goddamned dense to see the potential and do anything with it. They'd
rather whine about royalty-rate increases, whine about copyright law,
bitch and moan and take the easy way out -- instead of becoming the new
music industry. There are tens of thousands of music studios out there in
the US. It's never been easier or cheaper to set up a recording studio.
At the same time, people are conditioned by their mp3 players to be
satisfied with lo-fi sound. It's simple and cheap to set up an internet
radio station. What's the logical conclusion? Duh...
Why don't the internet radio stations do an end-run on the established
music industry and take the artists' recordings directly to the internet?
It's the copyright owner that has the right to collect royalties, and if
they don't sell or assign their rights to publishers, the publishers can't
claim any royalties. Pay the artists and composers directly, cut out the
middlemen. I guarantee you, this prospect scares the living hell out of
the music industry establishment, but for some reason, no one is willing
to go that way. Whining about the current system is more fun, I guess.
RealNetworks doesn't want to work that hard, they're making money with the
current system. Well, if they can't figure out how to cut the RIAA out of
the loop, or they're simply not willing to do it, then I don't feel sorry
for them at all. Eventually, someone's going to do it, and the RIAA won't
have the right to say anything about it.
If you go check out the original songs at Soundclick and on MySpace, there
are songs as good as, or better than anything you hear on the radio.
Unfortunately, as you say, no one seem willing to take a chance on playing
music by unknown artists.
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