While hundreds of stations have decided to go dark, BAGeL Radio and many other webcasters (including our good friends SomaFM, Pandora, AccuRadio, and Live365) have decided to continue broadcasting through this precarious period. Personally, I feel like we are still looking down the barrel of a gun -- at any moment negotiations could break down and that gun could go off.
Short term and disparate deals may seem attractive because the industry has been placed into such peril, but such deals will only leave us back in this very same situation before long. Check out this article about copyright royalty rates from five years ago -- it reads much like recent news articles on the subject. No one wants to go through this again in another 18 months, or even 5 years -- who wants to invest their time (and money) in a venture standing on such uncertain footing? We need a more permanent solution.
Thanks in large part to the SaveNetRadio coalition we have made great progress in educating government officials, artists, the mainstream media, and listeners about this issue. Most people now realize that if the RIAA gets its way, the vast majority of artists ("dead webcasters pay no royalties"), listeners (vast decrease in stations to choose from), and (obviously) webcasters all lose. This now common knowledge, reflected in the media coverage and in the outpouring of support from internet radio listeners, has given our side great momentum.
We will use this momentum to continue our fight to pass the Internet Radio Equality Act (HR 2060). SoundExchange may continue to cloud the issue with smokescreens (CD sales are down, it must be internet radio's fault) and falsehoods (webcasters make money from music but don't pay royalties), and we will remain vigilant in challenging and exposing these misleading statements. Only when it is protected by law will internet radio be safe from the huge corporations which already control so much of the music industry and seek to dominate the rest.
We're still streaming. Thanks for listening.
Update: Read another take on the current situation.