If you're like me, the discovery of internet radio was a truly revelatory experience. I recall the first time I surfed my way to pandora.com, created a station and listened to new music streamed directly to my eardrums --- pure euphoria. You mean I need not be subjugated by the mediocre musical tastes of the masses? I don't have to listen to overtly open-ended advertisements every ten minutes for five? A genre whore like myself can desire unadulterated glitch core and actually MAKE A STATION THAT WILL PROVIDE ME JUST THAT? OMGz!!!1!11!!
That euphoria has been replaced with an equal measure of existential dismay at the potential demise of internet radio. It appears a few stodgy retired judges with a sadly outmoded understanding of the way radio works want stations to pay $500 per "station" in administrative fees as well as per-song and per-user fees. For many excellent small-scale indie stations, this is completely absurd:
"'For us, the royalties went from $20,000 to $600,000 per year,' said Rusty Hodge [operator of] SomaFM [a local San Francisco station based in the] Mission District. 'That's about three times the total income we made in 2006. We're not getting rich off of this.'" Even larger companies like Oakland-based pandora.com might have problems coughing up the "$1.15 billion per year [exacted by] the administrative fee alone."
So, if you have the time or the means, drop by savenetradio.org and donate or call your congressional representative. Understand that today's day of radio silence is only a taste of what is to come after July 15.