Starting this Friday (7/20) BluegrassCountry.org will require user registration in order to access their 24/7 bluegrass audio stream online. There is no charge to register, and users will not need to log in each time they access the stream unless they clear or delete cookies from their web browser.
Listeners who access the feed via iTunes or some other web radio player will not be affected by the registration requirement. Only those who listen at www.bluegrasscountry.org will be asked to register.
I wondered whether this new registration requirement might have been precipitated by the new royalty rates for online audio streams, or the new reporting standards. Richard Cassidy, Director of Content Operations for both BluegrassCountry.org and WAMU said no.
“The registration is separate from any discussion about the new royalty rates and was planned well before the July 15 royalty rates deadline was established. While we still rely on listener support for 20% of our costs, and encourage listeners to become members, the registration process is free and not a reaction to the new royalty structure.”
With regard to their plans once new royalties go into effect, Richard had this to say:
“We’re holding our breath and hoping that the NPR/CPB negotiations with the recording industry will bear fruit. WAMU/Bluegrass Country will have to assess the financial impact going forward from the first payment if negotiations don’t yield a compromise.”