Radio Free Nowhere


Depressing tale in LA's City Beat, of the Copyright Royalty Board/Library of Congress decision to hike music royalties high enough to strangle internet radio.

Up until March 6, webcasters figured their royalty payments as an affordable percentage of total revenues. In the case of KCRW, that was a negligible number for Seymour, since the entire NPR network had negotiated a flat fee and it was paid by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Maybe not anymore. Under the new system, which requires that Internet broadcasters pay per performance – meaning each time one person listens to one song – her new bill for 2006 went from essentially zero to about $350,000. And it's going up. For each of the next four years, the rate goes up at least 30 percent every year.

"This is ridiculous," she adds. "You're getting an automatic increase, but then, if you get more listeners – which, of course, you hope you do – you're paying more, too. If you can figure out how much you're paying – that'll probably be a full-time job!"