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Prelude to Silence: Getting Loud about Streaming Radio

I haven’t forgotten. As I sat emptying manila folders from my file cabinet and hammering out my transition memo in the last week of my day job, I was all too aware of today’s internet radio Day of Silence. It was deafening…the din of my own thoughts, the hum of the photocopier and worse still, the banality of having to force routine conversation before noon. Streaming radio has been my office culture savior. Now instead of finding my foot tapping charming and eccentric, co-workers know that I am simply a groggy asshole.

In April, I chronicled the plight of internet radio, the Copyright Royalty Board’s excessive royalty rate increase and the Save Net Radio Coalition’s work to save streaming music. Since then there has been quite a bit of action to no avail including NPR’s failed attempt to get a rehearing before the Copyright Board on the grounds that the royalty increase was an "abuse of discretion”.

With the July 15th rate increase fast approaching, broadcasters across the country are turning off the music and are asking that listeners call their member of Congress to support the Internet Radio Equality Act – a bill that was introduced at both the US Senate and House level urging that royalty rates be kept down to 7.5 per cent as opposed to the 100-1200 per cent currently proposed. If the bill succeeds it is expected to save hundreds of streaming stations that would otherwise be squelched in the wake of the royalty increases and 18 months of retroactive fees.

In mid-April, the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN) faced off with ISPs in the Supreme Court to try to enforce royalty increase rates via Tariff 22.

…And SOCAN actually lost!!! With that lovely net radio victory, in addition to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission’s (CRTC) 1999 decision to let internet radio be, listeners in Canada are actually in better shape than their southern counterparts.

Imagine Nickelback’s horror when they realized they wouldn’t be able to cash in on Can-Con or net radio royalty increases. The delightful Brian Adams vowed to be amicable regardless of the Supreme Court’s decision and I called the eighties, but Good Rockin’ Tonight’s Stu Jeffries could not be found for a comment.

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