Sad news for fans of The Bluegrass Mix, the online bluegrass streaming radio service that has been offered at no cost since the Spring of 2006.
Roger Randolph and Julie Raye launched the service from St Albans, WV after starting separately as online bluegrass hosts with other online stations. They built up a staff of talented volunteer hosts, many of whom have developed a national fan base, along with syndicated programming.
With this staff of almost two dozen individuals, The Bluegrass Mix could boast of hosted content during most of the daylight hours (in the US), with automated programming broadcast at night.
But now, following the newly announced streaming royalty rates that went into effect last month, Roger says that they can no longer afford to make their stream available.
“Prior to January 1 our monthly royalties came to about $130.00 to $150.00 per month based on the number of listeners. It has now jumped to almost $2000 per month, with the biggest blow being served by SoundExchange at $1654.52 for the month of January alone.
I just found this out today and about had a heart attack. There is NO way anybody playing by the rules will be able to afford those kinds of rates if they play any kind of music that is not royalty free.
I WANT our genre artists to get paid but I can probably bet that they won’t see even 10% of that money that gets collected.
It’s been a fun 7+ years and I’m proud to have been part of it, as well as my hosts who gave a LOT to the genre each week.”
It’s not likely that The Bluegrass Mix will be the last shoe to drop. Live365, a very popular online service developed to help amateur programmers get started in online broadcasting, has also recently shut down. They had also assisted a good many smaller, low-powered terrestrial stations get their signals online.
Fortunately, WorldWideBluegrass.com remains online, having brought in sponsors to help offset the costs of the new rates.