Show Notes for Technology and the Arts Podcast #15

PandoraGuest Tim Westergren, founder of the Pandora online music service, makes his second appearance on the Technology and the Arts podcast to provide an update on the fight to save Internet radio. Other topics of discussion include the Comprehensive Knowledge Archive Network, StereoGum.com’s tribute to Radiohead’s “OK Computer,” InviteShare.com, The Hype Machine and more. Hosts: Brian Kelley, John LeMasney. File size: 14.5 MB. Time: 31 min., 30 sec.

Featured Links

  • Pandora.com – The online music service founded by guest Tim Westergren
  • SaveNetRadio.org – The Web site formed by a coalition of webcasting industry leaders. Go here to find out how you can join the fight to save Internet radio.
  • Internet Radio Equality Act (PDF) – Read the actual legislation that may save the webcasting industry.

Other links related to this episode:

“Great Ideas” – Christian Beach (Live at The Saint, 7/13/07)

“Great Ideas” © 2007 C.J. Beach

Advertisements

Pandora’s Tim Westergren discusses Internet radio on “Technology and the Arts” podcast

Tim Westergren, founder of the Pandora online music service and a guest on the February 21, 2007, edition of the “Technology and the Arts” podcast, called in to provide an update on the fight to save Internet radio from royalty rate increases threatening the webcasting industry. Listen to the interview when the podcast is posted at approximately 9 p.m. ET tonight.

Webcasters to protest new royalty rates with silence June 26

Several large and small webcasters will go silent Tuesday, June 26, in protest of the new royalty rates scheduled to go into effect next month unless legislative efforts on Capitol Hill to reverse the rate hikes are successful.

Yahoo!, Pandora, Real Networks’ Rhapsody, MTV Online, Live 365 and Radio Paradise are just some of the webcasters taking part in the National Day of Silence. Even terrestrial radio stations, such as Philadelphia’s WXPN and Santa Monica, Calif.-based KCRW, that have strong webcasting components will take down their streams in protest of the royalty rate schedule announced by the Copyright Royalty Board back in March.

SaveNetRadio.org has a partial list of protest participants in this PDF document.

UPDATE: According to this Philly.com item, WXPN will also observe two minutes of on-air silence on their terrestrial broadcast frequency of 88.5 FM at 4 p.m. on Tuesday. Also, XPN’s Bruce Warren sent out this e-mail to station listeners this afternoon…

Dear XPN Listener:

On Tuesday, June 26th, you will hear something very different on the XPN web streams. Silence. WXPN will join other Internet radio providers in a “Day of Silence” to protest higher royalty rates expected to go into effect on or after July 15th.

Silence is what Internet radio may sound like after that date because of a royalty rate hike scheduled to go into effect. The new rates could cost WXPN more than $100,000 annually; several times the annual funds raised by business support on the Internet streams. The new rates will also be retroactive for 17 months.

XPN will silence the station’s four streams – XPN, Y-Rock On XPN, XPoNential Radio and Folk Alley. A message will be played asking you to sign an online petition to protest this increase. We’re hoping to receive 5,000 signatures. You can add yours here.

What this all means for you is that your listening\nchoices will be reduced if these fees go through. XPN will be forced to at least reduce the number of listeners who can access us online at any given time.

We realize that many of our streaming listeners are Members of XPN and have done their part to support online music. This is not only about XPN.

These rates would not only affect us, but many, many\nother online broadcasters who might not recover. And this will reduce exposure for the artists who need it most.

Thank you for taking time to learn more by clicking here. Please sign our petition.

Sincerely,

Bruce Warren
XPN, Assistant GM for Programming

(T+A #12) Technology and the Arts: 6/6/2007

(T+A #12) Technology and the Arts: 6/6/2007

Janie Hermann and Evan Klimpl of the Princeton (N.J.) Public Library’s Poetry Podcast are interviewed, continuing a conversation from the May 16 podcast. Other topics of discussion include the Microsoft Milan Surface Computer, Pandora’s leap from the PC and the latest on webcasting royalty rates. Hosts: Brian Kelley, John LeMasney. File size: 9.6 MB. Time: 20 min., 51 sec.

Save Internet radio!

The Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) has recently announced a revised royalty rate schedule that will effectively destroy Internet radio.

Why? Because the CRB rejected all arguments from webcasters and sided with the rates proposed by SoundExchange, the independent group formed by the Recording Industry Association of America a few years ago to collect and distribute digital music royalties.

One of the many endangered webcasters is Pandora.com, whose founder and chief strategist, Tim Westergren, was interviewed during the Feb. 21 installment of the Technology and the Arts podcast.

Tim wrote a piece on the Pandora blog that stresses the effects this–what he calls–“ridiculous” decision by the CRB will have on his company and for webcasting, in general. For the sake of getting the word out about this travesty, here is the full transcript of Tim’s post:

March 06, 2007
RIAA’s new royalty rates will kill online radio!!
The Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) has recently released a revised fee schedule for internet radio. Left unchanged, these rates will end internet radio, period. The RIAA has effectively convinced this federal committee to establish rates that make online radio a non-viable business.

It’s an utterly ridiculous ruling that renders any form of internet radio non-economic. We are continuing in the belief that sanity will return as everyone involved, including the 50 million avid online radio listeners, realize just how outrageous this is.

You can probably tell by this post that I feel strongly about this. Online radio has opened up a new world for musicians and listeners alike. It has brought millions of otherwise disconnected music-lovers back to music radio, and has opened up tremendous access and promotion for thousands of musicians – both obscure and well known.

We are striving very hard to build a business. We employ eleven full time people in our ad sales team, and despite very high licensing and streaming costs, believed that we could make it work over the next several years if internet advertising continues to grow. This ruling drives the licensing fees (fees that are NOT paid by terrestrial broadcasters) completely out of reach, and makes our goal impossible.

This is a terribly ill-conceived attempt to crush a powerful and positive grassroots movement that is sweeping across the music world. The record labels’ struggles have nothing to do with online radio and killing it will further hurt their business, not help it.

We need your help. If you’d like to get involved please write your congressperson. Below is a link to point you to the right person. If you can, please send a letter or a fax that asks for a reply (emails are too easily ignored).

Congressional Directory by Zip Code

If you want to learn more details, try this informative blog post from an attorney familiar with the process:

Now more than ever, thanks for your support.

Tim (Founder)

Here are some additional related links:

If you are a fan of Internet radio services, please contact your congressperson and tell him or her how you feel about this issue. Here is an actual letter about this issue addressed to Rep. Sam Farr and Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer that would make an excellent template for one you can send…

…or you could use this template from the Soapbox section of Congress.org.

However, it would be wise to use these letters as starting points for your own…or write a letter from scratch. The same letter over and over again does not have the impact of an individually crafted one that includes personal experiences. So if you discovered new music only because of the existence of Internet radio, include that in your letter. Make sure Congress realizes this decision has a cultural impact on those of us who enjoy services like Pandora.

Let’s Save Internet Radio!