I’ve been asked for comments for the last few months on the royalty fees imposed on the webcasting community and have chosen to remain silent. I felt when I did have something to say – I would speak. I speak now.
You might find an article or someone today, criticizing WorldwideBluegrass.com for not being “silent” yesterday, in support of the Webcasting Community. However, this is not totally true, and those who reported us as not in support, we feel did so unfairly. We did support the “DAY of SILENCE” from our community, but in a different way.
We did not feel that larger stations and even our own community – could dictate to us – in how to be supportive. We are independently supported by our bluegrass listeners, that pay our bills. So we stood on our own and took a different route. I will try to explain to the best of my ability, which is sometimes unlearned or at best, disappointing.
Our way was to let the others know what was going on, with lots of public service announcements in conjunction with the broadcasters making commentary on the subject during their LIVE shows yesterday and last night. We felt the general public isn’t/wasn’t well aware of this “stand’ or “cause,” and someone had to tell them why their favorite bluegrass (or other music) wasn’t being played on their favorite stations. We felt that was our best way to be effective to make others aware and to let them know that though we were streaming – we felt the stations had a right to be doing what they were doing. We also felt we had a right not to. I personally polled out chatroom “listeners” and the broadcasters to make my decision.
In support of our listeners, however, we also felt no need to punish bluegrass music lovers by going silent. It has taken us, the bluegrass community, long enough to get OUR BELOVED BLUEGRASS music heard on the internet – in good quality and volume, and we felt it to be detrimental to us, NOT ONLY AS BLUEGRASS MUSIC, but particularly as a station because of our small size. We support “name” bluegrass artists and “indie” bands, and they’ve waited long and suffered tremendous hardships to get their music heard and appreciated by a large audience. Our staff of volunteers, including myself, work for no money, but for the love of our music – like the artists have done for so long, for so little.
We do support the artists and songwriters and labels and feel they need to get paid on the products of their creativity, and while the fees do seem extremely unfair to smaller stations, such as WorldWideBluegrass.com, we still feel that they (artists and songwriters) deserve money for their hard work. SoundExchange is trying to make sure those that make the music get paid, and we’re behind that. However, to say what is fair, is not left to us, but to the powers that be. When was the last time you saw a bluegrass artist’s “crib” featured or even noticed their “bling” from the stage? Yes, said tongue in cheek, but still, we feel an obligation to those that produce our music. We also feel that they will in turn advertise with us, to ensure that we, the smaller stations, do not “disappear” for doing what we love to do best, “supporting the music and its artists” – which, is exactly what we did yesterday.
Gracie Muldoon, General Manager