Webcasters to protest new royalty rates with silence June 26

Several large and small webcasters will go silent Tuesday, June 26, in protest of the new royalty rates scheduled to go into effect next month unless legislative efforts on Capitol Hill to reverse the rate hikes are successful.

Yahoo!, Pandora, Real Networks’ Rhapsody, MTV Online, Live 365 and Radio Paradise are just some of the webcasters taking part in the National Day of Silence. Even terrestrial radio stations, such as Philadelphia’s WXPN and Santa Monica, Calif.-based KCRW, that have strong webcasting components will take down their streams in protest of the royalty rate schedule announced by the Copyright Royalty Board back in March.

SaveNetRadio.org has a partial list of protest participants in this PDF document.

UPDATE: According to this Philly.com item, WXPN will also observe two minutes of on-air silence on their terrestrial broadcast frequency of 88.5 FM at 4 p.m. on Tuesday. Also, XPN’s Bruce Warren sent out this e-mail to station listeners this afternoon…

Dear XPN Listener:

On Tuesday, June 26th, you will hear something very different on the XPN web streams. Silence. WXPN will join other Internet radio providers in a “Day of Silence” to protest higher royalty rates expected to go into effect on or after July 15th.

Silence is what Internet radio may sound like after that date because of a royalty rate hike scheduled to go into effect. The new rates could cost WXPN more than $100,000 annually; several times the annual funds raised by business support on the Internet streams. The new rates will also be retroactive for 17 months.

XPN will silence the station’s four streams – XPN, Y-Rock On XPN, XPoNential Radio and Folk Alley. A message will be played asking you to sign an online petition to protest this increase. We’re hoping to receive 5,000 signatures. You can add yours here.

What this all means for you is that your listening\nchoices will be reduced if these fees go through. XPN will be forced to at least reduce the number of listeners who can access us online at any given time.

We realize that many of our streaming listeners are Members of XPN and have done their part to support online music. This is not only about XPN.

These rates would not only affect us, but many, many\nother online broadcasters who might not recover. And this will reduce exposure for the artists who need it most.

Thank you for taking time to learn more by clicking here. Please sign our petition.


Bruce Warren
XPN, Assistant GM for Programming