by Save Internet Music | Updated on 12.23.18
The internet used to be a place where everybody had a voice. Now, the smaller voices are being drowned out by the larger corporations who only want the internet for themselves.
As a small microbroadcaster, I have been streaming music on my station, Vinyl Voyage Radio for nearly 10 years. At the time I started, there were special royalty rates for small, non-profit radio hobbyists like me. Don't get me wrong, I want to pay artists for their work and I have been paying. However, those rates for stations like mine expired in 2016.
That means that small microbroadcasters like me have to pay the same rates as for-profit corporations like Spotify, Apple, Amazon, Google, and Pandora.
These companies are for-profit and don't stream out of their basements.
The minimum fee for me would be $500 a year, plus an additional $.0018 per song, per listener (beyond the $500). For example, if I had 100 listeners listening on a day we played 460 songs, I would owe soundexchange $82.80 just for that day. Now, multiply that by 365.
The agency that Congress gave sole authority to collect royalties is SoundExchange and traditionally, SoundExchange has agreements with other copyright agencies in most other countries. However, SoundExchange is now bullying service providers in other countries, telling them that they have to pay the U.S. rates or block their radio streams from entering the United States. Earlier in the year, Radionomy, the largest radio stream provider in the world, starting blocking streams to the United States. Now, stream providers in Canada are also being told to stop their streams to the United States or face legal action.
In Canada, broadcasters pay a microbroadcaster license to SOCAN (The Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada). However, since the United States no longer has a microbroadcaster rate, SoundExchange is telling those service providers that they have to pay the $500 per stream, plus the $.0018 per song, per listener as well. These services are being forced now to block their streams to the United States.
Why are they doing this? Because they can. And, Spotify, Amazon, Apple, Pandora, and Google don't like competition.
This means less choice and less variety for people in the United States when it comes to music.
And that is a crime.
Written by Save Internet Music
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