Feeds

Big name microcasters pull the plug

Culturecide

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Security for virtualized datacentres

It's culturecide. The RIAA-inspired royalty tax has already taken some of the most highly regarded webcasters off the Net. SomaFM, the San Francisco-based station, ceased broadcasting today.

"To stay on the air, SomaFM will have to pay about $500 a day in fees to the RIAA," the broadcaster said in a message posted on its website.

Under the revised fees published by the Library of Congress yesterday, SomaFM says it would need to find $15,372 in additional RIAA royalties - or $7.69 per listener per month. That's on top of other royalties and overheads. Analog radio broadcasters don't need to pay this fee.

The Doc has some more figures here.

But what's crippling these broadcasters is that they have to pay back royalties on almost four years' of broadcasts to 1998. SomaFM estimated this would leave a station with 1,000 listeners with a $500,000 dollar bill to the RIAA. This becomes due in October.

Other webcasters announcing that they were ceasing broadcasting included popular French ambient station BlueMars. "CARP has just killed microbroadcasting. The dream is over," writes Frances Gastellu ('lone') - one of a bunch of very cool guys at Nullsoft. (We'd have posted this story earlier ago if we hadn't spent an hour at the Aegis Corporation's web site).

SomaFM asks if the RIAA is greedy or stupid? The answer is both - but there's a third reason that trumps either, and that's that it wants complete control. Popular culture has never belong to the RIAA, or anyone but the artists and their audience - us. The RIAA knows that control is ebbing away, not because of digital copying but because the industry hasn't had a new idea in twenty years, as Michael Wolff discussed in his New York Magazine article recently. [Ignore embarrassing comparisons of novelists to rock stars - it's otherwise a good read]

The industry has scalped along by repackaging baby boomer hits in CD format, while an underground which it never understood and couldn't control thrived. Closing down alternative promotion channels such as microbroadcasting - which actually helps record sales - ensures that the RIAA's shell game can continue a little longer.

But it's only when there's enough support for the notion that popular culture belongs to us, - and that to us as a society it really, really matters and that constitutional protection from the pigopolists, isn't just an option, but a necessity - that we'll be safe. ®

Related Stories

Net radio going off the air
Net radio wins reprieve
Judge drops Napster bombshell

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Bono apologises for iTunes album dump
Megalomania, generosity and FEAR of irrelevance drove group to Apple deal
HBO shocks US pay TV world: We're down with OTT. Netflix says, 'Gee'
This affects every broadcaster, every cable guy
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
Zippy one-liners, broken promises: Doctor Who on the Orient Express
Series finally hits stride, but Clara's U-turn is baffling
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
America's super-secret X-37B plane returns to Earth after nearly TWO YEARS aloft
674 days in space for US Air Force's mystery orbital vehicle
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.