If you’re accustomed to listening to streaming Internet radio or streaming music services such as Pandora, you may be surprised to discover that when you tune into your favorite streams today you’re greeted with silence. Many Internet broadcasters—including Yahoo!, Rhapsody, Live365 stations, MTV Online, AccuRadio, and KCRW (a popular public radio station in Santa Monica, CA)—have gone silent today in a Day of Silence protest over a change in the way they’ll be charged for their services. This change, which will levy fees based on the number of listeners tuned into a particular song rather than on a percent of the broadcaster’s revenue (as was the model in the past), will likely put most Internet broadcasters out of business.It’s sad that the music industry as we previously knew it is dying, but nuking Internet distribution of music isn’t going to solve that problem, which the record industry largely brought on itself.
The deadline of May 15 previously set for higher rates has since changed to July 15, but the rates have not. And remember, this copyright rate hiking tactic won’t stop with Internet radio; AT&T has started policing copyright for Hollywood. For that matter, even the postal service is not immune to rate hikes that favor big incumbents.
There’s still time to head this one off; see SaveNetRadio for how to urge your elected representatives to save Internet radio.