Well, this post really doesn’t fit as inspiring but the issue is nonetheless important for creative business. There are some pretty ugly politics taking place recently that threaten the future of internet radio, a medium that has been effective at exposing people all over the world to new and diverse music and recording artists. Unfortunately, the U.S. Library of Congress (supported by the RIAA lobby) has imposed rules and royalty rates that are unrealistic for many webcasters, especially the smaller independents. Some online stations – such as SomaFM.com and NetRockRadio – have already gone silent from this and conditions are favourably set for only a few large players, like Yahoo!, to survive. Radio and Internet Newsletter (an exceptional source for news on this topic) editor Kurt Hanson cleverly explains the decision this way:
Yahoo! [was], in my opinion, acting entirely legitimately, as savvy businesspeople in a free-market system. In trying to improve their business prospects, they were acting no differently than, say, Starbucks negotiating favorable pricing on coffee beans by committing to buy them in thousand-ton quantities, in an effort to give them an advantage over neighborhood coffeehouses. There is nothing wrong with that!
Here’s what’s wrong: Imagine if an agency of the federal government stepped in and enacted regulations requiring that, from now on, all coffee bean purchases for all coffeehouses must be in thousand-ton quantities. That regulation would drive neighborhood coffee houses out of business!
And that is almost exactly what the Librarian of Congress has done!