In March, the Library of Congress’s Copyright Royalty Board, ramped up the amount of royalties that online radio stations needed to pay. The new level of royalty payments, which is scheduled to be in effect next month, would be more money that most online broadcasters receive in revenue.
The Washington Post reported that Kurt Hanson, who runs AccuRadio.com, took in $400,000 last year and had to pay $48,000 in revenues. Under the new plan, that number would be $600,000.
It would be an instant death sentence to online radio outlets, many of which already earn next to nothing. The new act also requires online stations to pay retroactive royalties dating back to January 2006.
Instead of its usual virtual on-screen radio, Pandora.com has a message about today’s day of protest. "I’m sorry to say that today Pandora, along with most Internet radio sites, is going off the air in observance of a Day Of Silence...Left unchanged by Congress, every day will be like today as internet radio sites start shutting down and the music dies," writes Pandora founder Tim Westergren.
Shoutcast.com has left a similar message on its home page, warning users in bright red capital letters, "This empty page is what Net radio could look like without your help !"