Wednesday, April 18, 2007:

If you listen to internet radio...

I've been following the news about internet radio with some alarm: in essence, the rates are being increased quite a lot, so sites like Pandora and are in danger.

I'm quite fond of Pandora, which lets you to enter an artist or song in a search and have it generate a playlist of other songs you might like based on how you rate the results; in fact I've been using it for research recently.

If you like internet radio, or if you've ever wondered why internet radio and satellite radio should have to pay licensing fees while public radio gets a free pass (perhaps so the public will always have somewhere to go to hear Kansas sing "Dust in the Wind,") you might be interested in this note that Pandora sent out recently:
Hi, it's Tim from Pandora,

I'm writing today to ask for your help. The survival of Pandora and all of Internet radio is in jeopardy because of a recent decision by the Copyright Royalty Board in Washington, DC to almost triple the licensing fees for Internet radio sites like Pandora. The new royalty rates are irrationally high, more than four times what satellite radio pays, and broadcast radio doesn't pay these at all. Left unchanged, these new royalties will kill every Internet radio site, including Pandora.

In response to these new and unfair fees, we have formed the SaveNetRadio Coalition, a group that includes listeners, artists, labels and webcasters. I hope that you will consider joining us.

Please sign our petition urging your Congressional representative to act to save Internet radio:

Please feel free to forward this link/email to your friends - the more petitioners we can get, the better.

Understand that we are fully supportive of paying royalties to the artists whose music we play, and have done so since our inception. As a former touring musician myself, I'm no stranger to the challenges facing working musicians. The issue we have with the recent ruling is that it puts the cost of streaming far out of the range of ANY webcaster's business potential.

I hope you'll take just a few minutes to sign our petition - it WILL make a difference. As a young industry, we do not have the lobbying power of the RIAA. You, our listeners, are by far our biggest and most influential allies.

As always, and now more than ever, thank you for your support.

-Tim Westergren
(Pandora founder)
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