[JPL] Royalty-Rate Hike Alarms Web Broadcasters

Lazaro Vega wblv.wblu.fm at gmail.com
Wed Mar 7 16:42:12 EST 2007


I saw a breakout on this the other day, and read, too, that what's
been passed so far applies to commercial radio. A non-commercial rate
is forthcoming. When I get back to work on Thursday I'll foreword the
entire message with the full rates list.

For what it is worth this legislation found it's legal legs in the
Digital Millennium Copyright Act which passed under Clinton. The RIAA
lobby was able to get through its rules, which also govern programming
on line, and it's really impossible to follow those guidelines if
you're going to program pre-lp era jazz. Four cuts by Duke Ellington
in a three hour period, with no more than two in a row from the same
artist unless it's from an anthology, makes it impossible to
accurately portray on radio streamed on the web the breadth and scope
of Ellington's musical evolution or the profundity of his contribution
to the American way of life. More anti-intellectual bullshit from the
build me a house in the Hampton's right now crowd.

What's even more aggravating is that the music of the 1920's and
1930's (the Dorsey Brothers had over 200 hits, hits now, commercial
successes) survived every evolution of technology up to now and was
still reaching the people (if the people wanted to hear it). Now,
finally, an international dissemination system arrives and the music
is blocked, purely for greed, from reaching it's audience.

Furthermore, the Internet audience is a minuscule proportion of the
listener ship when compared to the FM base. Why should the majority of
listeners be penalized by a service used by the few? Of course you
bring this up and are told, "Well then block the stream, or don't web
stream." So the advice of the powers that be to the onslaught of talk
radio, the diminution of cultural awareness and the marginalization of
jazz is, Pay up or shut up. There is no consideration for the audience
in these rulings -- they're not viewed as imaginations to be reached
but vampires who want to pilfer the profit making abilities of the
record industries. Sorry if that sounds like over simplification but
where in these financially based commandments does the spirit of
partnership between the record industry, radio and radio's audience
lie?

We pay. We pay BMI and ASCAP in what are fair rates. We pay SoundScan
for the right to stream. That's fine. We should. That's fair.  I guess
the music industry feels they've been screwed since the 1920's by the
laws which governed broadcast royalties and now they're able to exact
their revenge by gouging the web streamers. The recording issue is
b.s. People have been recording music off of the radio since Duke
Ellington played the Cotton Club. The quality of that recording
changes with advances in technology yet web stream signals are not
direct digital transfers to a hard drive: the streams sound o.k. but
are certainly not CD quality sound, in other words are providing an
auditioning service not an end use service. And even if they did how
many people in an general audience are going to take the time and
invest in the equipment to catch a stream, format it and burn it into
replayable discs? Far fewer than the number of people who will listen
for it's own pleasure. And far fewer than the potential consumer base
reached by radio. See the foot, shoot the foot.

How does one communicate with this body? I know there are people who
are in front of them making the case for Internet radio but since 1996
they've been completely ineffective in stopping these crass,
anti-intellectual rulings.


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