Today's Internet radio boycott won't matter

Yes, I know its a cliche to call today's Internet music radio boycott "the day the music died," but actually that's not much of a stretch.Backgrounder: numerous Internet radio stations- from large ones operated by Yahoo and MTV to smaller ones operated out of garages- fall silent today in protest of high royalty rates a panel of copyright judges say they will have to pay the recording industry starting July 15.

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Yes, I know its a cliche to call today's Internet music radio boycott "the day the music died," but actually that's not much of a stretch.

Backgrounder: numerous Internet radio stations- from large ones operated by Yahoo and MTV to smaller ones operated out of garages- fall silent today in protest of high royalty rates a panel of copyright judges say they will have to pay the recording industry starting July 15.

These judges ruled that online radio stations should pay the recording industry every time a song is heard by a listener, in addition to a $500 minimum monthly amount for each channel they operate. Oh, and pay back through January, 2006.

I have a couple of thoughts on this whole issue.

First of all, I find it incomprehensible that a recording industry in the throes of a long sales slump would be behind efforts to quash an avenue of exposure to new artists who might actually find their CDs bought online or at retail. Focus group of one here: I've bought lots of music that I first heard via Internet radio.

Second, I am not sure this day of Internet radio silence will be successful. Rep. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.), whose suburban Seattle district is close to the corporate HQ of streaming media pioneer RealNetworks, has introduced legislation to roll back these increases, but there's no chance this bill will be voted on July 15. No guarantee it will pass and be signed into law, either.

Focus-group-testing corporate radio (via the National Association of Broadcasters) and the quadropolistic big four music companies (via the RIAA) have a far louder voice in Washington than Webcasters, large and small. From a regulatory standpoint at the least, we need regime change.

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