Bluegrass fans who turn to BluegrassCountry.org for their 24/7 bluegrass fix will be in for a shocker on Tuesday. The folks at BluegrassCountry, like their sister station WAMU.org, will participate in the Day Of Silence campaign on June 26 to protest the new royalty rates proposed for Internet radio by the Copyright Royalty Board. Their normal music stream will be interrupted for the day, replaced by a series of rotating announcements that explain why the music has gone silent.
This campaign is intended to demonstrate what its organizers believe will happen to the medium of Internet radio if the proposed rules go into effect as planned on July 15. This issue has been the topic of a number of posts on Bluegrass Today, and has divided members of the bluegrass community, many of whom feel quite strongly on opposite sides of the question.
Artists, songwriters and musicians lobbied the CRB to increase the royalties to be paid from Internet streaming services to allow them to receive what they describe as a fair share of revenue derived from the use of their work. Web broadcasters responded that the new rates would double and eventually triple their streaming costs, and in the case of some smaller webcasters, increase them ten fold or more.
Richard Cassidy, Director of Content Operations at BluegrassCountry and WAMU, explained why they became involved in this campaign, and how it got off the ground.
The event was started by number of large and small webcasters who will be adversely affected by the new royalty fees to be paid for streaming music. For public radio Internet stations like BluegrassCountry, the fees are inconsistent with the mission of public radio where we attempt to bring under-served audiences exposure to new artists as well as those who are well known, and to offer services to audiences that are under-served, like bluegrass music fans. This is fully explained on the website TellThePublicItMatters.org, which I urge all BluegrassCountry fans to read. Additional information on how the movement got started is explained at The Radio and Internet Newsletter site published by Kurt Hanson of AccuRadio, who has spearheaded this effort. More information is also available on SaveOurInternetRadio.org about the Internet Radio Equality Act that has been introduced in Congress to change the method of copyright fees computation.
I hope this helps bluegrass music fans understand the reasons we are participating in the Day of Silence.”
Don’t be surprised if you encounter music interruptions on other webcast audio streams on June 26. The Day Of Silence campaign was only announced on June 21, but it has picked up quite a head of steam.
Click here to read the many other posts we have published on this subject, several of which also have a good many reader comments.
UPDATE 2:50 p.m.: We just heard from Clyde Scott with BluegrassRadio.org. They will also be observing the Day Of Silence, from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on 6/26.