Small circulation magazines and internet radio.

Two things, both worth the time to address.

As if the Independent Press
Association dissolution wasn’t bad enough for small magazines, it seems
that the new postal rate increase is going to decimate small circulation magazines.  A last minute 758-page plan submitted by Time Warner and approved
by the US Postal Service Board of Governors has called for an increase
in mailing costs between 18 and 30 percent. Meanwhile, the big boys — Time, Newsweek, the like — they get to see their postal rates go down.

Fortunately, the Board of Governors has opened up a small window of
public comment over the course of eight days — set to expire on April

This is a crushing blow to independent magazines, the dead tree equivalent to net neutrality.

Fortunately, a site exists
in which you can sign against these inequitable developments. If you
care about a democratic magazine landscape and keeping the playing
field level, do your part.  (via)


The Copyright Royalty Board
voted Monday to uphold its March ruling that will change the royalty
structure for online radio stations. Under the old set-up, commercial
radio stations all paid a flat fee and then paid 12% of their profits (source).
The new set-up will apply until 2010 and will charge a flat rate
per-song, per-user, plus $500 for every channel owned by a station. The
rates per-song will increase until 2010, going from .07 cents (in 2005)
to .19 cents (in 2010) (source).  This will only effect internet broadcasts.

I believe in paying artists for their work, but I do not see how
this is going to help artists in the long run. Stifling broadcasts will
not help artists get their songs heard. I listen to a lot of internet
radio and probably hear about most of the bands I listen to through it.
I don’t know if I’d hear about little bands from other states without
it. Services like Pandora, whose
goal is to expose listeners to new music, have completely expanded the
sample of music possible for me listen to, and it is very much
threatened by this new ruling. How will small bands get heard? How will
buzz spread?

I don’t have the hippest taste in music. I’m not chasing the next it
band, but rather I’m looking for some connection to music. I want a
better understanding about who the musicians are and what their sound
is about. I find this easier find online. And I try and support the
internet radio stations I listen to. I subscribe to KCRW out of Santa Monica because I stream their program Morning Becomes Eclectic fairly often.  (What will I do without access to Nic Harcourt’s
show?) I do this because I understand there are more costs to stream
content online and I want to contribute to a community of which I feel
a part.

I encourage you to go to
and sign their petition to try and overturn this ruling. There is also
an easy form to send a letter to your representatives in Congress. I’m
not sure if it will help, but this is a huge step backwards for
technology and the music industry.

From Tim Westergren of Pandora:

Understand that we are fully supportive of paying
royalties to the artists whose music we play, and have done so since
our inception. As a former touring musician myself, I’m no stranger to
the challenges facing working musicians. The issue we have with the
recent ruling is that it puts the cost of streaming far out of the
range of ANY webcaster’s business potential.

Reg of Reg’s Coffeehouse about the music he plays:

The music I play comes from a place inside me, not from
a corporate playlist, not research, nothing calculated, nothing
pre-planned. It reflects what’s going on in my life, the world, my
community and in my listeners. It is reality radio. No shine, no gloss,
just radio by the seat of your pants.

Other sources:
FAQs about the ruling.
Radio and Internet Newsletter by Kurt Hanson of Accuradio.
ARS Technica post about the ruling.
BBC article on Monday’s ruling.
Article about first ruling in March (from Salon).



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