US webcasters will face sharp rises in royalty fees that could be "fatal" to the nascent industry, a coalition of web broadcasters has claimed.
The increases will start on 15 May and will eventually charge royalties every time an online listener hears a song. The decision to impose the fees was made by a panel of judges who threw out requests to overturn an earlier ruling.
Public and commercial broadcasters claim it will force cuts to services used by an estimated 50 million people.
"If these rates stand... I believe we'll see a virtual shutdown all of US webcasting," wrote Kurt Hanson, CEO of AccuRadio, on the SaveInternetRadio.org blog.
I think that link should be SaveNetRadio.org/blog
These rates are much higher than for satellite radio, and of course normal terrestrial broadcast radio stations in the States don't pay any royalties at all.
I can see that there is an argument for charging more because many of these "radio stations" are highly customisable by the user, but it looks like another short-sighted decision by the record industry. Isn't it obvious that if you deny people the chance to listen to music they are unlikely to buy it?
Pandora has links to both Amazon and iTunes to help people buy music, and someone pointed out in a comment here that there is an unofficial Pandora/emusic "mash-up" that (sorta) helps you to find a song you have heard on Pandora and then download it from emusic. Well, up to a point, because it doesn't always work very well - if an artist is not available on emusic they sometimes come up with very strange alternatives - but it's a useful service nonetheless.
If I can't listen to music on Pandora (or something similar), I'll surely stop subscribing to emusic and probably buy even fewer cds. Is that what they want?